Yes, I recognize the irony of the quote given COVID-19’s origination. However, JFK’s point speaks to the message in this post.

As a CEO, a sales leader or a salesperson you have more control of what you believe, what you do and how you behave. You may feel powerless, but you are not. It is incumbent upon you to manage your reaction; regardless of the underlying cause of the crisis.

5 ideas to consider, and take action.

  1. Stop Digging the Hole
  2. Take Control of your Mindset
  3.  Increase Communication
  4. Improve Your Effectiveness
  5. Adjust Your Plan

First. If you want to get out of a hole, stop digging. You are making it worse. Take a close look at your activity level. The economy has been growing. This often leads a sales team to slack on their prospecting activities.

Boom! A crisis hits, panic begins, excuses are made and the life blood of a sales organization, PROSPECTING, stalls.

You cannot wait until a crisis is over. The best path out of a crisis is to sell your way out. Your income and the company revenue are tied together. Get back to prospecting and selling. This is a tremendous time to show your existing customers value. Empathy goes a long way with prospects.

Second. Don’t let the fear and panic win. Being positive does not require you to pretend that a threat exists. Your Mindset and attitude are what you can control. Ask yourself better questions. What can I do today that will help my prospects and customers?

Acknowledge what is happening, and believe you have power. Your thoughts are your greatest strength. Use your strength to focus on solutions, growth for you, your company and customers.

Third. Your internal communication must improve. At times of crisis it often feels like we are at war. A central command or war room is a great way to engage the entire sales organization.

A central command is the place to plan, communicate and adjust the approach. Keep in mind who the adversary really is in this crisis. For the sales organization, the enemy is weak results, not the virus nor your competitors. You gain an advantage by taking an aggressive approach to communication, feedback and action. If your efforts are not working, adjust.

Many companies we work with were not keeping score frequently or are measuring the wrong metrics. You must measure the activity, nor and when the crisis passes. Track what is being done that is effective and is a leading indicator of success. Revenue is a lagging indicator.

Communication. Feedback. Tracking activity. Supporting and caring for the team at the same time.

Fourth. Take responsibility for your effectiveness in your role within the sales organization.

Everyone must improve their skills, mindset and activity. Leaders must coach, provide the platform for communication and strategy. Salespeople, this is no time for excuses. The crisis will make it more difficult, yet everyone has a job to do. You must be intentional about your efforts. Focus and execute.

Improving your effectiveness requires you to slow down, and be intentional about your efforts. Follow a consultative sales process that uncovers problems and the compelling reasons a prospect must solve. If you don’t have these fundamentals, you better take action now. If you are going to sell your way out of this crisis, the way you prepare, plan and treat every opportunity is critical to success. Teamwork.

Sales leaders, you must help the sales team with who they are targeting, and an help them to have effective plan to engage and close business. Prospecting the decision makers at the right target companies with a strong message of value, and a solid strategy is essential.

Fifth. The sales plan and strategy may need to be adjusted based on current circumstances. More activity is required with greater effectiveness.

Salespeople have to increase activity. Sales Managers must increase their coaching and support of the salespeople. More, not less, is required.

How can you grow revenue?

Can you sell more to your existing clients? Maybe increased communication with current customers is required to service and retain them.

How much more prospecting is needed? Do you need to double the effort for new business or try new pathways to prospects? Identify those targets who need your help to get through their crisis.

Raising prices increases revenue, but is probably not a strategy that is effective short-term nor long-term in a time of crisis. Resist this temptation.

Gaining market share is the another way to grow; taking customers from your competition. What market knowledge do you have that will support this strategy? This may take additional resources and effort.

Regardless of the strategy, take massive action as a team to be successful.

We are here to help during and after this COVID-19 crisis. Our intent is to provide guidance and be a resource for growth minded CEOs and Sales Leaders without a fee or expectation to the extent possible. Conversations are free and without risk of via telephone or Zoom.

Walter has been working successfully in Sales, Sales Development and Sales Management for over 31 years. He is passionate about developing sales professionals for CEOs &Business Owners. If you are frustrated and fed up with sales people who are not accountable, a sales team that is inconsistent and fail to meet objectives, and you want to fix it once and for all, we should have a business conversation. We bring science to creating high performance sales teams that on average grow over 32% in 12 months.