Due to the current pandemic situation that has washed up on our shores, I am re-scheduling the post I planned to publish today for a later time. I feel compelled to make an attempt to provide some common sense strategies for blue collar salespeople in light of what they now face.
It feels like déjà vu from nearly 20 years ago, following the September 11 attacks on our nation, although this is obviously a totally different event. I vividly remember that fateful morning as I stood in a hotel lobby in Lafayette, LA., coffee cup in hand. I was in the Hub City conducting a sales training workshop for a group of specialists who worked at a customer service/sales center.
Seeing others huddled in front of a TV screen I walked over just in time to see the second tower hit by a passenger jet, live in real time. Immediately the country and our way of life changed.
Stranded nearly 600 miles from home, with all flights cancelled nationwide, and every airport in America guarded by military personnel, my first priority was to figure out how to get back to my family in Georgia. The Lord, who already knew what I needed, provided me the last rental car at Lafayette Regional, and from there I began a 10 hour journey eastbound on a very crowded I-10.
When I arrived at my hometown airport at dusk that September evening, I was worn out, but also stunned. I expected to pick up my vehicle from the lot where I parked it the day before, prior to my outbound flight. However I was met by several Army Reserve soldiers, guarding an empty parking lot and a dark terminal. I was told all vehicles had been towed to a large grassy lot about a half-mile down the road for security reasons. The soldier wished me luck and said it might be like an “Easter egg hunt” but suggested I keep pushing my ‘clicker’ until I saw my taillights flash. I left my rental where he pointed, grabbed my bags, and started walking. Finally in the pitch dark my Taurus wagon and I were finally reunited. I was so thankful when I pulled into the carport at my home and was reunited with my wife and teenage kids.
As reality set in and work routines resumed, I began determining what I could say and how I would convey coaching for blue collar services salespeople to make a living in a fear racked post 911 world. Today I pretty much feel the same emotions as I face my anxious online clients.
Here’s how quickly life has changed so far in 2020:
January 20th – The first U.S. coronavirus case is reported
February 29th – The first U.S. death occurs
March 13th – President Trump declares a national emergency
March 20th – The mayor of my city declared a 14 day shelter-in-place order, effectively bringing our local economy to a halt, similar to many other cities in America.
I empathize with every salesperson who is now trying to determine how on earth they are going to make a living while this crisis hangs over everyone’s head. Obviously there are no rules in a knife fight, so salespeople must pull out all stops to create enough activity to produce sales to feed their families. Rather than panic and run around at Mach 2 with your hair on fire, I’m offering two suggestions today to help generate some sales traction.
More Selling, Less Order Taking
Certainly you will still get a few calls from homeowners whose air conditioners completely died of old age or from residents with swarming termites in the kitchen that are falling into the potato soup pot sitting on the stove. These are order taking situations, but you know if that’s all you sell your take home pay won’t take you home. With your marketplace on edge, think outside the box in ways that allow you to reach a multitude of prospects and sell by multiplication and not just by addition.
Consider reaching out electronically with a short Facebook Live broadcast, sharing a timely message about current concerns connected to this current health crisis. Depending on the nature of your business:
-Maybe your focus is on a thorough duct cleaning to ensure a healthy home environment for family’s who are spending more indoor time than ever.
-Possibly you discuss heightened security and the addition of cameras and motion sensors to provide greater peace of mind.
-Perhaps a conversation about the addition of a seasonal mosquito suppression service to an existing residential pest management program. Although mosquitoes don’t spread the coronavirus, they definitely do transmit Zika, West Nile, and Malaria, among others. Now is not the time to risk it, especially when people are spending most of their time at home.
Once you complete the broadcast, a video remains online. Send an email to all your customers with a link to your broadcast and a quick description of why it’s important for them to watch it. You WILL generate sales leads. By using ZOOM, ezTalks, or Facetime you can then propose your recommendation and consummate sales online. You don’t think you can pull this off? I say you absolutely can!
Double Down on Customer Service
A satisfied customer invariably becomes a repeat customer. Why would I want to buy something else from you if you turned out to be a hit and run salesperson after my initial purchase? Get busy and remotely touch them enough for them to feel special. Whether by text, email, or snail mail send links to videos or articles that are pertinent to your services and products in connection with the current pandemic. Follow that with a call of concern and an offer to help.
When they feel the love they are much more apt to listen to your recommendations and offerings.
In addition to these two suggestions, maintain your positive attitude. I often say that your attitude controls your altitude, and I believe it.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible strongly believes in a “YES Attitude,” consisting of 22 attributes. You can view them HERE and perform your own ‘checkup from the neck up.’
Stay safe out there with your head on a swivel! This too will pass.
©2020 Robinson Training Solutions, LLC