The big question of 2020 was how to build relationships in new ways once sporting events, lunches, dinners and golf weren't the options they previously were.
If you agree that trust matters in 2021, let me share six ways pandemic selling can make relationship building easier and more integral to the sales process.
The pandemic has brought a number of struggles and challenges for salespeople and companies.
Like W.C. Stone said, within every adversity there is a seed of equal or greater benefit.
The pandemic has made it easier to "instantly" connect with the commonalities we have with each other.
1. Selling virtually, while carrying its own adversities, means agents and advisors have something in common with every prospect. Buying virtually also carries its own adversities for prospects.
Each party is engaging in behaviors that are new and different.
2. Agents and advisors must focus on the things that we have preached about for years.
They now realize the importance of learning how to use their most valuable tool, their voice, including their voice inflection, tone of voice, pace of speech and modulation.
3. For years, agents and advisors have tripped over how to start conversations. Now they have a subject that everyone is experiencing and will talk about.
The current environment has impacted everyone, both different and the same. Everyone is immersed in its impact.
Crafting opening questions around "how," “what" and "do" will create timely, meaningful opening conversations, with little effort, just by being genuinely interested in the other person’s experience.
4. Relationship building now becomes the sought-after skill for agents and advisors. This means being able to look the prospect in the "camera's eye," to lean in, use body language, read body language (environmental background, dogs barking, phone vibrating, eyes moving around the screen indicating they are looking at an email, searching for something on their computer or distractions from the environment). All of these are tools that enable us to build rapport and lead the conversation. Here’s an example:
"Bob, I hear your phone is vibrating. It’s OK to take a call if you need to. I'll wait a minute. We're all working differently, aren't we?"
Their response will be predictable: “We're fine. Go on. Thanks. Give me a minute. Yeah, it's frustrating.”
All of these tools and responses build the relationship.
5. Because we are all experiencing the same issues, we are more open to disclosing their impact on our business, along with discussing what we need to solve these problems. At no time in history has it been more available to ask "experience" questions followed by “tie-down” questions to put every prospect in the buying funnel.
6. Finally, buying cycles are now even more predictable because everyone's schedule is more accessible. Almost anyone can jump on a Zoom call at a moment’s notice. Initial calls can be recorded, then emailed so they can be forwarded and watched by others. This eliminates the need for training someone not familiar with our business to be a de facto salesperson for us to others, which is exactly what happens when you leave a prospect to educate his boss or someone else about you and the services you provide.
Moreover, we can bypass company bureaucracy by simply cc'ing the next person in line. It's an easy set up: "Thanks, Bob. Great conversation. It will take a few minutes to render the recording of our conversation, then I'll email it over to everyone."
There are a lot of opportunities today that didn't exist before the pandemic.
The big question in 2021 is how did you build new relationships despite the lack of sporting events, lunches, dinners and golf?
What do you need to do differently in 2021 to achieve the success you deserve?
Lloyd Lofton is the founder of Power Behind the Sales. He is the author of The Saleshero’s Guide To Handling Objections, voted 1 of the 11 Best New Presentation Books To Read in 2020 by BookAuthority. Lloyd may be contacted at [email protected].
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