I knew my hypothesis of engagement as a determining factor of sales success could never be proven in a petri dish. However, I never expected it would have been tested in an environment like the one we now find ourselves in.
As sales professionals, as is everyone, we are in unchartered territory.
Our organisation no longer has certainty on what it can provide, the needs of our customers have changed overnight, our market terrain is different every day and our business, can suddenly feel like it has been flattened by a high-grade natural disaster.
But has it?
It is interesting observing the behaviour of sales professionals during this time. Particularly, on social media. There are those that continue, business as usual. Those who panic and maintain demands on customers. Those who take advantage of the situation.
Then there are those who take a moment to pause.
Our customers are human too. Like us, they are processing change and digesting information to help their world make sense.
Turbulent, troubling times test the strongest of relationships. They also have the potential to bring out the best & richest (not in the monetary sense) of the human spirit.
For those sales professionals who prioritise the development of a trusting relationship and allow the selling transaction to be a consequence of that process, now is when you see the benefit of that mindset.
It is the difference between isolated sales success and sustained high performance over the long term.
The engagement journey is one that brings the customer front and centre of the conversation. It is about understanding what is important to them today and why it matters. It is about what they value and right now, most customers value – patience, honesty, forgiveness & a collaborative approach to the long-term game because this chapter, will come to an end.
When it does, we want to be the sales professional remembered for the respect we demonstrated, the support we offered without expectation of return and the patience we exhibited when a deal had to be put on hold.
Maintaining our lens on our customer rather than on ourselves during this time (and always), instils purpose in what we do.
For now, take the time to understand your customers situation & changing priorities rather than pushing your own agenda because goodness knows, what they and what we needed to deliver yesterday, has all of a sudden changed today. And no doubt it will again.
Once we adapt to this new way of working and living, the focus will rightly swing to what lies ahead and we want to position ourselves as best as we can to not only maintain, but to strengthen those relationships we are a part of during this testing time.
If you are used to a slow burn, this will be no different. It will be another chapter in the engagement journey whereby you have had the opportunity to provide value, develop trust & remind your customer, client or partner what you stand for.
Parting comment ~ the strongest of relationships are borne from the messiest & most trying of times. As great as the good times are, we also need to weather the rough times – it’s a part of the deal.
Success might never last forever, but never forget, it loves reinvention & can be repeated.