Prospecting in times of a crisis
The recent Covid-19 pandemic may have you wondering if you should scale back on your prospecting routine. Here’s our two cents.
At a time when the health crisis is turning into an economic crisis, every company is asking itself the following question:
Should I postpone my prospecting in view of the exceptional context we’re going through?
Opinions differ. Some see the crisis as a unique opportunity to stay in touch with customers, bring value to them and prepare for a successful recovery. For them, prospecting is a necessity, part of the business and must continue.
Others say that now is not the time for canvassing: customers are obsessed with internal reorganization and cost reduction in times of economic downturn and deep medium-term economic uncertainty. Prospecting would be associating the company’s image with a lack of empathy and social intelligence with regard to the economic context.
As it stands, these two points of view are valid: it is obvious that companies are going through a turbulent period and are not in the best position to buy new products and services. However, selling remains a process marked by the weight of interpersonal relations between a salesperson and a customer.
Staying close and involved in the daily life of your customers is a necessary condition to A) sell them the best adapted solutions and B) avoid churn in times of budget shortages. In order to know whether to continue prospecting, reflection must go beyond joint discussions to determine what constitutes “healthy” prospecting.
What is “healthy” prospecting?
Healthy prospecting means that as a sales representative, you have the real intention to solve your customers’ problems, to provide them with an adapted and personalized solution. You don’t try to sell at all costs in order to reach predefined performance figures, you put yourself in your customer’s shoes to understand their problems and provide the best answer at a given moment.
If your primary objective is to create value for a customer by solving his problems, the crisis is not a valid reason to stop all forms of commercial canvassing.
Clearly, the crisis should not have an impact on your decision and the way you canvass a customer. If you really bring value, continue your prospecting by putting it into shape (we all go through hardships, remain human in our commercial approach). Conversely, if you promise your prospects a lot to bring them closer in the hope of retaining them by all means in the months following the deal, you should modify your approach regardless of the economic context.
In conclusion, I would like to use the well-known expression:
“Under promise, over deliver”.
Even if promising is tempting, let’s be honest and prospect in spite of the context.