As Covid-19 circumstances continue to develop, it presents a challenge for “business as usual”. How do you prospect for new business in a sensitive yet effective way, while helping your prospects navigate a rapidly changing environment?
By: Andrea Sittig-Rolf – First, focus on the prospect. How can what you already provide be customized to what prospects need NOW, or in the immediate future, for their business continuity, remote- work environments, and / or cyber security? Consider offering additional services based on the challenges prospects are dealing with now. If there’s something you can
offer for free for a limited time, do it. In
the spirit of genuinely being helpful first, without expectation of something in return, prospects will remember you and your efforts when things return to normal.
Next, rather than worrying about negative responses to your prospecting efforts,
remember, the products and services your company has to offer, are still valuable; otherwise, why would you be working for the company in the first place? If you agree that what you have to offer is valuable,
then by not prospecting, you’re actually doing a disservice to those who need your help at this time. Think of prospecting as helping, rather than selling, and approach
it from a place of providing support. This new mindset will help you realize there is no shame in prospecting right now, because your prospects need you, and you are in a position to help!
Furthermore, consider focusing on scheduling a phone appointment to talk at a future date, rather than trying to make a sale during the first call. For example, here’s an opening statement we’re teaching at our Virtual Blitz workshops that’s been effective in this environment:
Hi _____ this is _______ with ________.
How are you holding up today? Things are changing by the minute, aren’t they? Well, that’s exactly why I’m calling. We’re talking to a lot of customers now who are dealing with the challenges of COVID-19, and I’d like to schedule a phone appointment to learn more about your contingency plans to determine if there’s an opportunity for us to help. [If now is not a good time] How does Tuesday at 10:15 work for you?
In the event you get voicemail, pay close attention to the greeting, as many people are leaving their cell phone number on their voicemail greeting. Call the cell number, and if you get voicemail again, try the following:
Hi _____ this is ______ with _________. I’m calling about (current customer you’ve helped with their Covid-19 contingency plan). Will you please return my call? I can be reached at __________. Thank you!
The key to leaving effective voicemail messages is to create curiosity and credibility in order to motivate the prospect to return your call. This voicemail script does both. Resist the urge to say anything more as this script is a formula proven successful over the last 18 years of teaching
it to our clients at BlitzMasters. When your prospect returns your call, tell the story of the current customer you referenced in
your voicemail, and how you helped them with their Covid-19 contingency plan. Telling a compelling story of how you helped another customer, inspires confidence in the prospect you’ll be able to do the same thing for them.
If prospects hesitate to schedule a time to talk in the near future because they’re busy with their own Covid-19 response, say: “I understand. Why don’t we just tentatively get something on the calendar now, and I’ll call back to confirm. How does (date 30 days out) at (time) work for you?” We’ve seen the “tentative phone appointment” technique work time and time again in response to
a variety of objections over the years. It’s much more effective than just hanging up and continuing to call over and over again, hoping to connect with the prospect by chance again some time in the future.
Finally, as we all adjust to this “new normal”, remember, prospects are people too, and because of the isolation many of us are feeling, we’ve found prospects to be more receptive than you might think, as they’re craving human contact just like the rest of us. They’re likely working from home, unable to get out and about, and hearing from you reminds them, we’re all in this together.
As one of our clients recently said,
“We still need to do our jobs, and our prospects need to do theirs. We need to keep business moving forward, to the benefit of us all”.
Business & sales strategist Andrea Sittig-Rolf, a.k.a. The BlitzMaster, is
a sales trainer, public speaker, author, and president of BlitzMasters,
a sales training and pipeline development consulting firm based
in Seattle. She is also the creator of several sales-enablement blitz workshops; activity based, demand-generation programs that empower salespeople to fill the pipeline with new opportunities in just one day.
Andrea’s business advice has been featured on CNBC, Fox Business News, FOX, ABC, NBC, in Kiplinger’s, The Los Angeles Times and more! She is the Sales Host of Microsoft-HPE’s “Coffee Coaching” Video Series and was the “Sales Blazer” columnist for Entrepreneur.com. Reach Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org.