The 5 Key SALES Lessons YOU MUST Implement in a Global Pandemic: Part 5
This is the final installment of a series of five by Steve Guest. Read Part one: “If you don’t get your head straight, you’ve already LOST” and Part two: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Part three: “Go above and beyond, no time to REST.” Part four: “You can’t sell anything, if you can’t tell anything”
Be so good, THEY can’t ignore YOU
The first place to start will be your existing clients. Make sure that you know and understand the whole business. Introduce yourself to all the divisions, and the contacts you haven’t had chance to present yourself to.
Utilise pre-existing relationships and build on that. If 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your clients, then focus on the 20% and spend 80% of your time building these relationships even further.
Find the areas you didn’t know existed, and build the relationships with the clients you have worked with before.
The best place to start is warm clients that you have an existing working relationship with. They form the foundation for your market research to fully understand how the businesses have been affected. This helps you to approach businesses that you don’t know so well and show empathy and compassion to build stronger relationships.
The hardest place to spend any of your time during a global pandemic or market downturn will be cold calls to cold businesses and looking to sell. I know, because for six months that is where I spent my days back in 2008.
Whilst it’s the hardest place to be, it’s also the most rewarding, self-developing, soul-destroying, backbone establishing, educational environment in which to put yourself.
The lessons I learnt during this time will stay with me forever. Those six months provided me with the self-awareness and self-motivation that will stay with me for a lifetime. I know I can get through the toughest days, make the necessary cold calls, deal with the toughest levels of rejection and know I can come out the other end successful and better for it.
I can see opportunity in the darkest of days and come out better for it – you can do the same. Keep the faith and motivation high. Give yourself small incremental targets and work towards them. Give yourself hourly targets if necessary.
Smash those targets and reward yourself (my vice has always been a posh coffee from Costa!).
Make small incremental steps hourly, daily, weekly and monthly to work towards that bigger picture.
Consider that recessions and market downturns do not impact every business to the same degree. Some businesses and industries will have prospered; some will not have fared as well. Take the time to consider who might be recession-proof in your markets and which companies have been less affected.
There will be industries that cope with recessions relatively well, so think of businesses that have lower barriers to entry, lower-cost products, and businesses that promote cost savings.
In my experience, businesses that can adapt more quickly during downturns tend to be the smaller SME type businesses as opposed to the FTSE 100 businesses. Purely down to their ability to diversify, manage overheads, and move with the markets and the times.
Smaller businesses tend to be able to bounce back more quickly and can get through the hard times more swiftly. The traditional thinking would be to go for the bigger businesses, as in theory, they should be making the biggest strides to gain market share.
But in my experience, these tend to be the businesses that are now shedding staff as opposed to recruiting.
I didn’t want to hinder or inconvenience my clients during times where they may not need my services. Thus, I have come to an arranged way of working with clients. Many clients will be working harder, with potentially less staff trying to gain back any sales or market share they have lost.
The last thing they want is a salesperson calling every Monday to see what’s changed. However, some of your clients should be able to see the value in keeping the conversation consistently moving.
“What would the perfect person look like if they become available? What skillset, background, or experience would you want me to call you about should they become available?”
The client must see you as an additional resource to their business, and an extension of their brand. You must remember that it’s not about the number of times you contact a company.
It’s about the value you bring when you do speak to them, and how you tell them you can bring value in the future.
Ensure you get the first call as and when the client has a requirement. I will call every four to six weeks with an update but will rely on the fact that they will call me first should they need help with anything.
Additional Key Points to Remember
BUYING DECISIONS take LONGER so have PATIENCE!
One of the biggest issues within recruitment in market downturns is the time it takes for a decision to be made. After a variety of insecurities, worries, concerns, sign offs, etc, clients are likely to want less, and if they do, they will revert to shorter-term objectives.
These can include temporary or freelance recruitment, and you must be able to service this need.
You will experience an increase in price concessions and businesses looking to save in certain areas, especially looking for a reduction on terms. These are standard areas that you must consider and deal with along the way. It’s important to remember not to get ‘bogged down’ with things you can’t control.
Concentrate on what you can control. Your activity, your workflow and your sales potential. Think opportunity, not setback.
Reduced cash flow
How can I help my client find the money to pay my fee? 😉
You need to be able to show your client that you are either saving them money via your proposal or making them money by adding value. Think about the opportunity cost of not recruiting that individual. Who is this vacancy creating pressure for? What about the additional overtime for current staff, multitasking to cover the ‘missing member of staff’?
Does the lack of having this vacancy filled remove an individual from their own day job which is therefore costing the business more money but in other areas?
Communicate these facts and offer your solution.
Face YOUR Fear and build with YOUR CLIENTS
Companies who invest in a recession can take advantage of the competition. Go on the journey with your client!
Recessions create great uncertainty and the fear mentality can take over, but they are also wonderful opportunities to outclass competitors and create inroads in a world where everybody else is cutting back.
So what are you waiting for? Go make it happen!
P.S.: If you enjoyed this series, I host a FREE Recruitment Mastery Facebook Group. All are welcome to join!