David Stroeve
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How the sales process has changed overnight.Business is changing faster than ever before, and the new processes may become permanent. Today, companies must adjust to the new normal to face-to-face selling or the company might go out of business. If your company is working towards turning on sales in the midst of the pandemic, you must adjust your practices in a new way. From how you interact with the consumer, how you present your product or service to how you finalize the purchase, social distancing standards and practices must be an essential ingredient followed throughout the buying experience.

So where does this leave selling? For starters, you must create a touchless experience. Digital presentation platforms with video and animation will dominate in the new world because people will fear unknown touch points. It will be challenging at best to sanitize all touch points consumers might contact so businesses are moving towards a more seamless presentation experience using visual representations to express the value of their product or service.

However, when it comes to the sales process, the fundamental approach will remain with social distancing adjustments. Salespeople must discover new ways of conducting face-to-face sales activities as a result of recent social distancing restrictions. The best salespeople know it is time to move from playing defense to playing offense because customers and prospects need help, they need solutions. They need the problem-solving expertise to help them resolve their current life challenges so that they move towards a better future. Customers today are more open to ideas and solutions than ever before because their level of pain is higher, and everyone is dealing with a variety of problems.

The winds of change are affecting the step-by-step sales process and unless companies innovate their practices, their revenue will suffer. The practice of face-to-face selling is in a crucial state because consumer fear is at an all time high. To adjust to the new normal of business, your operation must follow the S.A.F.T.E.Y sales process to ensure certainty, clarity, and calmness when interacting with today’s consumers.

Service: State the policies, protocol and behavioral standards that must be followed.

Attitude: Elevate the emotional state of the relationship by focusing on the opportunity instead of the situation.

Fearless: Communicate with certainty and clarity that their safety and interests are at the center of the conversation.

Tactful: Lead with insights and discover the customers desires and needs. Discover their emotional problems to solve.

Engage: Enhance the experience by making it comfortable, simplistic, and clear why your solution is the best to consider.

YES: All roads lead to your rational, logical, and emotionally driven conclusion to purchase your product or service.

Service
Providing service does not follow the conventional wisdom of making a critical difference when it matters most but instead, today, it means laying down the foundation or non-negotiable standards that must be followed to adhere to safe contact between people. In the beginning of the presentation, you must direct the customer of the proper behavioral standards and protocol’s that must be followed. Communicating this will lower emotional tension, fear and worry. If the consumer is concerned about their health and safety, they will not be listening to you.

Social distancing standards will require wearing a mask however going further to provide safety will be the winning formula. Provide hand sanitizer before contact, offer protective gloves, use sanitized pens, and clean all surfaces with recommended cleaning products between customers. The further your company is willing to push safety standards the more willing your customers will be to do business with your company.

Attitude
One of the most important steps anyone can take towards achieving their desired outcome is to develop the right mindset and attitude. It will always impact the performance of the results because it touches each relationship you encounter.

When salespeople are trained and conditioned with the right attitude and approach, results ensue. We are living in very unique times where people are thirsty for solutions. The best salespeople know the value and art of using adversity as an opportunity and do not dwell on the circumstances to long.

One of the biggest pitfall’s salespeople find themselves in is talking about the pandemic far to long instead of acknowledging the reality and then quickly shifting from a problem to an opportunity. Managing the emotional attitude of the presentation is essential for both the salesperson and customers. It will lead to greater closing rates by injecting enthusiasm, opportunity, advancement, and fun. The benefits of a positive attitude are not just seen in the transaction but become infused within the company culture.

Fearless
It is impossible to offer assurances if your salespeople are concerned about their own health and safety. Fear is an emotion everyone experiences. We feel it when we think our health could be in jeopardy. Once it is felt, it becomes the only thing we think about until the feeling is gone. Fear can stop people from doing great things which is why salespeople must remove any concerns by communicating with clarity and conviction that the company takes safety seriously.

People will let their fears get in the way of long-term goals. To communicate with certainty, provide useful information to your clients in advance of them needing it. Proactive communication gives people certainty about safety, comfort, and expectations. It seems so simple and yet… it’s not. I see companies all the time who add to the client’s stress by creating uncertainty.  The best way to diminish risk is to clearly lay out the issues and acknowledge the uncertainty facing everyone and then share what your company is doing about it.

Tactful
It’s no secret that uncovering the consumers buying motives is one of the most crucial parts of any sale. Salespeople often struggle to ask the right questions to get good information to help build the solution case with urgency. Often, they will take shortcuts because they lack knowing what to look for and jump right into the presentation.

Companies must teach their reps the tactful skills and techniques to develop a good discovery without it feeling like an interrogation. Follow these 5 proven steps. Pre-strategize and script the sequence of the questions. Practice and rehearse the presentation. Set the agenda for the questions and get the clients buy in. Ask open ended questions and lastly tell stories about yourself to connect emotionally with the client.

Engage
The best product in the world won’t save the day when the consumer is fearful and concerned during this health crisis. So how do you engage in a thoughtful and save manner? Begin with structure and have your client meet those involved in supporting the buying process. Second, use movement and develop a flow to the presentation. When the mind is busy, focused on visual imagery, it relaxes tension and anxiety. Give them something to focus on during a planned break.

Understand what you can and can’t control. Became intuitively aware of your surroundings to mitigate visual unrest and keep your presentation simple and squarely focused on your clients’ needs and desires. Give the client permission to be empowered to ask questions how your product will protect and provide certainty to the experience.

YES
During this pandemic, it’s easy to get caught up in the noise and allow the conversation to ebb and flow around the issue but you must separate the people from the problem. In the goal of getting to yes, you need to focus on the client’s interests, needs and desires. During the presentation, the pandemic is the reason behind the buying decision, it is the cause for action.

You want to put a positive spin on your message and communicate in a way that provides a rational and logical reason to purchase. Salespeople think it’s the message which moves people, but it is the state of mind of our client that makes them receptive. The compelling reason to buy your product must center around exclusivity, protection, safety, and security. One final mention to “yes” is scarcity. “FOMO is real,” and anything that plays to that fear will stoke the impulse to purchase.

The new normal requires a new mindset. Managing in this new era will be different – and much will rest on how willing your management team are to stray from their comfort zone and challenge their traditional ways. The past  of riding on decade old practices is gone. Those days are over.

Our base assumption is that economic growth over the next several years will be wildly uneven. To adjust and innovate, companies will need to question, reassess, and innovate their thinking and practices. Digital touchless experiences will become more prevalent and companies must develop creative inbound marketing channels to augment face-to-face sales. ADS Consulting is helping companies think different create a new competitive advantage to increase sales and bottom line profits.