It’s definitely not easy being in sales right now.
Deals are stalled in pipelines. People are putting off decision-making until the “end of the crisis”. Some accounts are taking it on the nose.
It’s also a very “human time”.
We are all having to adapt to new routines. We are just about all worried at some level—worried about getting sick; worried about losing our job; worried about our company going belly up.
One idea in this very unusual environment is to seize this opportunity to “open” new relationships.
It’s hard to close deals when the environment is so uncertain. It’s hard for your prospects to commit to a course of action when there are so many unknowns.
You should still try to close business where it makes sense; however, at the end of the day the buyer is still in charge of the decision-making process. You can help the buying process move along smoothly but you cannot speed up something that intrinsically does not make sense for the prospect’s business.
This time of great uncertainty is a great time to connect with people.
You are “allowed” to connect with people that may be really helpful to you in the future. As long as you go in with the attitude of really wanting to help, there is nothing wrong with including some “self-enlightened interest” here. Reach out to some people that could really make you a superstar in the future.
Be open to helping
As much as there is a health crisis right now, there is an even larger economic/employment crisis.
There are already millions of people suddenly unemployed. You can help those people. You can help them with connections or advice on how to find a new job. Sales people are especially well-placed to do this as getting a new job is much like selling a product or service (just that the product is you.)
From past experience, I know that helping someone in their job search is a great way to build a relationship that last a long time and pay off for you in the future.
When someone is looking for a job they often feel quite vulnerable and rejected. They will remember the people that helped them. When they get back “up” and become an executive in a target company of yours, they will remember if you helped.
Be open to the long game
If you are involved in your business or industry for the long-run then now is a great time to build those relationships you will need to be a rainmaker for the next decade(s).
There is nothing in business that beats relationships for getting you in the door to new accounts and closing deals, especially big deals. Now is a time when you may be able to help more than ever. People you help will remember that you did. You will both win. Be open to that.