Pandemic Prospecting

Pandemic Prospection Series

Since mid-March many statements have been made regarding prospecting. Some of the most popular are:

  • “No one is answering the phone.” 
  • “People are just not in the mood for sales calls. It’s insensitive right now.” 
  • “Our pipeline is frozen and we’re starting over.” 

While there is some truth to these statements, there are myths we tell ourselves as well. We can get caught up in fear, uncertainty and doubt. If call reluctance was ever real…and yes, it is very real — even for me…it’s even more prevalent now as we second-guess every call, email, LinkedIn touch point, etc.  

Let’s take a closer look at these popular statements or myths.

No one is answering the phone.Actually, we are finding the opposite to be true. People are craving live connections.
People are just not in the mood for sales calls. It’s insensitive right now.Empathy is key. Yes, it’s insensitive if you don’t have the right opening. But if you do, remove the fear, uncertainty and doubt and pick up the phone. 
Our pipeline is frozen and we’re starting overYes, pipelines did freeze a couple of months back. It’s our job to thaw those frozen pipelines, re-engage past prospects with new and helpful ideas and reinvigorate our pipelines. 

In light of these myths and truths, let’s look at the following tips for prospecting through the pandemic:

1. Do your pre-call planning. 

In order to combat call reluctance, pre-call plan before dialing and think about who you are calling. How has their world potentially changed? Start with this critical question: “What can WE do right now, in the midst of today’s environment, to truly HELP current and new customers?” 

Everyone’s priorities have shifted and getting headspace and calendar-space is challenging for sure. What unique ideas or products do you have to offer that can make a difference in this unpredictable time? Nail down your messaging for why a prospect should take the time to talk or meet with you virtually to combat the voice in your head telling you to not make the call. 

2. Send personalized videos and snail mail to stay connected.

  • Everyone is doing Zoom calls. And you should be, too. 
  • Everyone is sending emails. Yes, there is value to email communication.
  • Not everyone is dialing.  
  • Not everyone is using snail mail to have a hand written card there when people get back to their offices. 
  • Not everyone is using personalized videos to stay connected. 

Dare to be different. You can use video to engage with others and gain appointments. (Tip: Use video after two unanswered voicemails.) You can also use video to be proactive in communicating about things like supply levels and inventory, depending on your industry.

There is a wide range of tools out there to create video, but the key is to copy/paste your video into the body of an email so your prospect or customer can see it was made just for them. (See the example below.) Videos can be created for personalized messages to an individual or to a group. 55% of communication is body language and in this virtual world, we don’t want to lose the biggest part of communication! 

3. Thaw those frozen pipelines!

It’s our job to thaw those frozen pipelines, re-engage past prospects with new and helpful ideas, and reinvigorate our pipelines. By answering the important question about what you can do to truly help customers and prospects right now, call back frozen opportunities and re-invigorate them. 

Let them know about the new ways you are helping other customers. Focus on simply setting an appointment; either a phone appointment or a virtual appointment. 75% of sales is taking the time to learn and ask questions. A lot has probably changed since you last spoke!

How has their workforce been affected? 

How are they doing business differently since COVID-19 began? 

What insights and new solutions can you provide to help them achieve what they are trying to accomplish?

Whatever the questions, things have changed. Find out what those changes are and reposition how you can truly help right now in the midst of today’s environment. 

Have these prospecting tips got your creative juices flowing? I sure hope so. Go make a couple calls before call reluctance sets in again. It can be a daily grind for sure, but there is still reward for those that work hard and approach sales the right way. Selling is helping.

Much success to you in helping your customers in the weeks and months to come!