Data from Bloomberg’s economists say we are in a recession.
We’re starting to get familiar with how our lives are affected by the health issues inherent in this COVID-19 crisis but the economic consequences are just kicking in.
These economic issues are very likely even bigger than the health issues, at least in terms of how many people are affected. (17 million unemployment claims in 3 weeks is off the charts vs. anything seen since the 1930s.)
Shifting from crisis to recession
The advice out there from leading management consulting firms to CEOs is to first address their company’s liquidity, and hence keep the lights on. Once liquidity is sorted out, which will start happening for some companies in the next few weeks, the focus is going to change to how to ride out a recession.
Executives’ thoughts are going to turn to keeping costs down and driving efficiency gains. Some forward-thinking companies will be looking to benefit from the recession by gaining ground on their competitors. As you may know, recessions are when the differences between companies actually change the fastest.
Are you being relevant?
The fact that we are very likely in a crisis does not seem to have struck all sales people in all companies. Some companies are still sending the same old emails as before COVID.
When I get these emails have this feeling of “where have these reps been hiding?” Some of these messages seem to come from another era.
Other sales people have adapted to the new environment but seem to lack anything relevant to say. They seem to be sending emails for the sake of sending emails, probably driven by a desire to show they care for their prospects.
Many of these emails seem to trot out the same first few sentences, such as “I hope you and your family are safe”. It’s a nice enough sentiment but these emails are all starting to blur together in my mind.
Do you have any ideas?
What I don’t see much of yet are emails from sales people with actual ideas that would help me or my business.
I think this is great opportunity to stand out from the crowd and potentially get some real business conversations going.
As an executive I really value good ideas at this time more than ever.
The world seems to have changed drastically and it seems so much harder to navigate. During this time of extreme turbulence, ideas are really welcome.
Can you, or your company, come up with some good ideas for your clients and prospects to help them get through this crisis? Maybe you can even help them emerge as one of the winners from this recession.
Company executives usually look at these kind of areas in a recession. Can you help them with ideas in one of these areas?
- Lower costs
- Improve efficiency
- Run the business with fewer people
- Run the business with fewer resources
- Take over some of their competitor’s turf
- Find great talent that others might be letting go
- Acquire companies or assets at “discount” rates
Go the extra yard
Once you have some ideas try to go the extra yard.
As a sales person (or business owner), you can customize your communication to each business you approach. You should avoid sending one mass email to everyone with the same idea, or at least don’t do this for your biggest clients and target accounts.
Do some research on your important accounts if don’t know enough and try to tailor your “big idea” to them.
You can see if there is any information on their website, or anything on social media, or in the press, that will help you customize your approach. You can talk to any people you know that are knowledgable about this account, or industry, and would be willing to give you some insight on what that company may be facing.
It’s a tough time for businesses and their executives. It’s great time to have an idea that may help them.
Update: If you are interested in an approach to help you connect with prospects and share your ideas, check out my free e-course here.