Whenever we realize that we have to change our sales approach…it’s nothing new. The business landscape isn’t frozen in time. It’s constantly shifting but we only notice the shifts one they pick up the speed. So, sometimes, things can go from a plato to a landslide in a heartbeat. But the opposite happens at a much slower pace.
But how do you get a grip on sales when there is no palpable stability and everything goes topsy-turvy? That’s a tricky question that depends on countless factors, from the specifics of the crisis to the features typical for businesses you sell to. So, whenever there is new trouble, there would be a different set of recommended B2B sales techniques. Since we’re currently dealing with such issues as massive damage taken by the tourism industry and airline industry as well as many other changes, we’d like to talk about some of the B2B sales tactics that help us keep things stable.
Upsell to your existing customers
Your current customer database right now is everything. The fewer clients you lose during an unstable situation, the faster your recovery will be. “Easier said than done” you might say. True, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do anything.
But what can you sell to the clients if they have difficulties with managing their budget? While it mostly depends on the type of product and services you offer, there are a few options to choose from:
- A more cost-effective service package that lets your clients boost their productivity without investing too much.
- A new digital product that helps your clients with employee communication (virtual meetings software) or customer processing (chatbots for booking meetings, review widgets, etc.).
- Special, anti-crisis services such as market monitoring, client behavior report, quality assessment, and many other things your customer may need help with.
Remarketing is another way to re-integrate website visitors and people who started ordering your services but never finalized the purchase. However, we don’t mean automated emails or anything like that. If you have your visitors’ email addresses, your introduction should start with asking your recipients how they are doing right now and asking them whether they’re still interested in getting the benefits offered by the service package. Describe what you can provide to them right now, emphasize the flexibility of your offers — and wait for a response. We don’t suggest sending too many follow-ups with this type of prospect. A 3-wave cadence will be good enough to find out whether the person is interested or not.
To gain a better understanding of the product you should promote and upsell to your existing customers, we suggest creating a short survey and sending it to your loyal clients, asking them to fill it in and share their feedback. Worry not — your loyal customers are as interested in staying with you, as you are. Therefore, they would be happy to let you know how you can make it happen. After all, the experience exchange helps entire companies stay afloat.
Always listen before speaking
Getting to speak to a prospect on a scheduled phone or Skype call feels particularly rewarding since nowadays it takes a lot more time and effort to convince potential customers to book an appointment. But that doesn’t mean that you scored a client, just the fact that something about your unique value proposition caught the prospect’s interest. It’s your goal to keep that interest fueled. So, your first question should be “How are you doing right now?” Trust us, your prospects have a lot to tell about their everyday experiences — and the way they talk and describe their challenges, will let you know their mood and adjust your presentation in a way that hits the spot.
Next, you should ask your prospect what part of your unique value proposition appealed to them the most. After all, there is a reason they decided to jump on a call with you, so it makes sense to clarify.
In our experience, since most of our sales teams do prospecting and Skype calls at home, there are many things to bond over — from complaining about a noisy neighbor to exchanging experiences and stories about their home office situation. As long as the sales executive indicates their readiness to lend an ear, the outcome of a sales conversation is guaranteed to be positive.
Always have a plan
Aside from being empathetic, it is also important to inspire confidence. Your prospects need a reassuring presence, someone to tell them that everything will be fine. When they talk to a vendor, who is calm and positive, they would end up looking forward to more positivity — and ultimately becoming your new customers.
But how do you not mess this up? After all, people don’t believe in miracles and business owners need more than words to be convinced.
Prepare social proof in advance. If you’ve already been selling your way through the crisis, make sure that you have a case study that documents your experience, complete with data, diagrams, and other numbers. Your prospects trust facts, so give them facts!
Offer freebies. No, we don’t mean free trials. We mean in-depth materials that provide educational value to your prospects. Whether it’s a tutorial on using your product, a short report with tips and suggestions for the prospects’ industry, or an ebook - it will let you showcase your expertise.
Don’t lie. Confidence and bravado are two completely different things. If the crisis affected your company as well, there is no point in hiding it. Be frank about losses and slipups but present them as lessons that you learned. In addition, don’t forget to speak about all the progress you’ve made in spite of all the odds. Humbleness makes your prospects empathetic. Positivity leaves them impressed and wanting to continue the conversation.
Share your vision. Where there is a crisis, there are many reports and forecasts about how and when things change. Discuss them with your prospects to get a better understanding of how they see the future. Then reassure them or encourage them by expressing your thoughts regarding the recovery of the economy and the return of normalcy.
Staying confident during the hardest period for your business takes more than patience and ability to keep your chin up even when the world is on fire. But it will reward you with a stable client database, and, therefore, a customer community that will get you through the bad times — if you do the same for them in return.
New challenges, same rules
The most complicated part of introducing a stabilizing sales tactic during the constant shift in the business landscape is that you may need an entirely different approach. The behavior of your prospects is highly affected by social, natural, and political factors. If one of them rapidly changes, so will your buyers’ behavior. Therefore, if you want to keep your sales stable and yourself sane, you should research your markets relentlessly. Whether you entrust it to your in-house research team, an offshore research team or subscribe to newsletters from McKinsey, your goal is the same — stay alert. The earlier you see the changes in the patterns and trends, the easier it will be for you to change your B2B outside sales strategies.
Another important thing that never really changes but affects your performance greatly, is your relationship with your sales executives. Even if they’re staying at home right now, find a way to reach out to them, thank them for their work and keep them motivated. If you really want your prospects to feel stable and safe, you should start with the people who deliver your sales.
We’re talking about more than just management. You have to know how your sales teams feel, what they are afraid of, and what keeps them going — so you could know what to say or how to erase their concerns. Also, since many of your in-house experts are homebound, they have more time for training and learning. Therefore, if there was a project you had in mind, it’s high time to implement it. Even things so little as learning a new language or passing tests will shake things up a little. Your employees will appreciate it. A lot.
We hope this article will help you, your sales teams, and your clients to build a small isle of stability, safe from the chaos and the turmoil.
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