Clearly these are different times. If you are like me, you spent the past few days just trying to get some clarity. It has been challenging. It has been confusing. It has been downright scary! But...it is going to be alright! If you are a salesperson, please keep reading.
As a leader of salespeople, I have spent the last couple of days struggling with the best guidance to give the sales force. We make money and provide for our family by meeting with clients, developing relationships, assessing needs and making recommendations to solve their problems. With most salespeople, we do that by meeting with them directly. So, now what do we do? Schools are closed. Restaurants are closed. Movie theaters are closed. I could go on. How do I encourage salespeople to continue to physically go see their clients when all we hear is "social distancing?"
Nearly every time I met with a salesperson I was getting the same response. I am afraid to contact them because they might cancel. I understood the concern, every single time! I have heard from sellers across the country who are feeling the exact same way. So, is the best thing to go hide in a corner and try to be invisible? We all know the answer is...NO!
Be honest. Do we really think that a salesperson contacting a client is going to be the trigger that causes them to cancel? Do we really think that being out of sight, out of mind, is the best approach? I predict that if they are going to cancel, then they are going to cancel. It is not because you made contact. So, if we agree that a salesperson reaching out to them is not going to be the reason they cancel, then we must also agree that being proactive puts us in the best position moving forward.
Let me suggest that all salespeople, especially radio and television sellers, get proactive now. Let me explain. If a client is going to cancel, you should hope you receive the news when you contact them. You see, by getting the news when you contact them you are now in a position to effectively tell "the story". You know the one. Now is not the time go silent. Experience has shown that businesses that continue to advertise through tough times nearly always come out of it stronger than those who go dark. Plus, more people tune to radio and television during unusual times like now because each is viewed as the trusted source for news and entertainment. Social media clearly plays an important role in today's society, but is viewed as more opinion than facts. And finally, we just need to show the community that we are all in this together.
Now, they may or may not agree to continue doing business. If they are still determined to stop advertising, you are still in a more favorable position than those salespeople who disappear and hope they never get the cancellation call. Here's why. By getting the cancellation when you call instead of when they do, you are better positioned to control the narrative. You begin talking about immediately working together to build their message for when they return. This situation will pass and they will be ready. You see, because you are the salesperson in your market who is proactive, you are much more likely to be the one who gets the business first when things are back to normal.
Oh, and you need to be positive energy in their world full of negative. Send them a note in the mail and tell them you appreciate them and the opportunity to work for them and their business.
Finally, let us all be less discouraged and more determined! Let us have less anxiety and more energy! Simply, the world needs us to be the fountain and not the drain. As my Dad has always said, "This too shall pass!"
I am hopeful for better days soon! Swagger On friends!
Written by Derron Steenbergen, President of the Swagger Institute
The Swagger Institute is a business consulting company specializing in sales and leadership training, motivational speaking, customer service training and organizational development.