To Sell or Not to Sell in These Turbulent Times: 5 Topics You Can Talk About

Turbulent times require gracious communication

By Kendra Lee

These are turbulent times and in sales and lead generation, you’re wondering what the heck do I do? After you’ve called all your clients, shared your COVID-19 response plan, and told them how you’re prepared to support them remotely, what more is there to say?

We’ve never gone through this before and there is no roadmap for how we should sell or market. There are a lot of questions and I know you want to step carefully. Some people are shell-shocked. Some are scared. Others are simply dealing with this crisis. You don’t want to misstep.

Questions You’re Thinking

Odds are you’re asking yourself these questions as you attempt to figure out your best path forward.

  • Do you stop selling? But you’re a business too, and you have to keep the doors open. Or, you’re a rep and you have to earn a living, too.
  • Do you stop marketing? There’s a lot of noise out there. You’re getting everyone else’s emails with their response plans and remote work strategies. You might be thinking you don’t want to contribute to that.
  • Should we keep prospecting? It feels insensitive to try to contact new prospects knowing what they’re going through. But again, you’re a business, too. Yes but, is anybody going to buy anything right now?

In Uncertain Times, Over-communicate

It may seem counterintuitive with all the email and LinkedIn messaging you’re receiving, but now is the time to overcommunicate.

Think of this situation from a different perspective. If this were a hurricane or tornado, you’d jump to call, text or message to find out how your clients and prospects are and what you could do to help. You’d be sensitive to the fact they may be buried with tasks, but you’d still reach out with your support. If you had suggestions, you’d make them. Your goal wouldn’t be to sell them something. It would be to show solidarity and let them know they’re not alone.

This is the same thing you want to be doing right now. People are shell-shocked. They are wondering how long this goes on. None of us have answers to the big questions. Your clients and prospects simply want guidance from you on what you know best.

You aren’t a medical professional; however, you are an expert in what your business does. Some things you may know that your clients and prospects do not:

  • If you sell technology, how to keep their technology secure even though they’re working remotely.
  • If you sell insurance, what insurance they need in place for their business and staff.
  • If you sell sales training or consulting, how they should change their sales approach.
  • If you sell HR, payroll or PEO services, the answers to personnel questions they may be asked.

5 Topics You Can Talk About Right Now

Your inclination would be to stop prospecting and marketing. Don’t do that! Now more than ever your prospects and clients need to hear from you. Here are 5 topics you can talk about right now.

  1. How they are doing. Keep it general and listen. Kids underfoot? Cat on the keyboard? Afraid to leave the house? Worried about family? Focus on their wellbeing. No hard selling.
  2. How they’re adjusting to remote work. This is a new environment and a whole new thing they may not be comfortable with. Perhaps you have suggestions, or you simply commiserate. Offer solutions you can sell if it’s appropriate.
  3. How their team is doing. The people around them will impact how they themselves are feeling. Even though they are remote, there are still meetings, emails and chats.
  4. Where they need help. Don’t make it anything specific, just a general statement asking where they could use your help. And by help, I mean recommendations and ideas. Maybe they do need to buy something, but that’s not the first purpose.
  5. Who else you should be helping. Maybe you helped this client get set up to work remotely and they know someone else who is struggling. You’re asking from the perspective of a genuine desire to help. If the prospect needs help now, of course you sell. If not, consider it a new relationship you’ll nurture.

Be a Beacon of Assistance

Think about what you know and the questions your clients and prospects have, then reach out and help. Don’t be a turtle retracting into your shell, worried that you’ll just be adding to the noise. Be the beacon of assistance and guide your clients and prospects the best way you know how.

If you have questions I can help with, reach out. I’m answering emails and LinkedIn messages as fast as I can. If you need support, my team and I are here for you.

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