Global Sales Leader at 411Locals and CEO of Accountability Now.
Amidst a looming second wave of the pandemic, is your business ready? Are you and your sales team not only mentally prepared but also tactically prepared?
I’ll paraphrase what author Tom Peters said in his book The Little Big Things: Tough times create matchless opportunities. During times like these, you can catch your competitors napping.
Now is the time to go after those opportunities. Here are three quick tips you can use to stay ahead of the pandemic and win.
First, obsess over your top-line revenue.
In a little known story, Horst Schulze, who was the famous Ritz-Carlton legend, reportedly decided to come out of retirement and launch a new luxury brand of hotels. Sounds like a brilliant idea, right? It was, except for the fact that he did this during 2008 — at the beginning of the Great Recession. Shulze went on to say, “I will not accept the explanation of recession negatively affecting the new business. There are still people traveling; we just have to get them to stay in our hotel.” I believe the key to the brand’s ability to bounce back was his tireless obsession over the top line.
Expand your market share by bringing in more customers as quickly as possible. It isn’t about the margin — it’s about the expansion.
Sure, cutting costs is necessary in some places. With that, I push clients and others to redouble their time and effort. Aim your efforts at increasing your business with existing customers and adding as many as you can right now.
Get everyone in the organization obsessed with the top line. This doesn’t mean you do something stupid and spend money that you don’t have. Tips: be creative with your offering, find unique financing options with low interest rates and find ways to bring on customers like never before.
Second, reactivate your power base.
I did not come up with this next strategy. I learned it from studying some of Grant Cardone’s methods, and I’ll mention it here. I have used it, and I strongly recommend it. So many times we spend so much effort cold-calling new customers — people who have never heard of us — trying to land a deal. I’m going to tell you that is the hardest person to close — a complete stranger. The easiest person to bring on board is someone who you know or at least a referral from someone who you know. This method is called the power base method.
A power base is defined as a source of authority, influence or support, especially in politics or negotiations.
The Hot 50
If you are looking to take immediate action, go through and make a list of 50 people who you know personally (meaning you have their cell phone, not just their name and email). In a very simple way, reach out to them via text and try to reconnect. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. It can be a simple, “Hi Joe, this is Don. Let me know when you’ve got three to five minutes. I’ve got something I’m working on that I’d love your opinion on. What’s your week like?” It’s simple. It’s short. And it’s to the point. Chances are good that Joe’s going to respond, and you’ll be able to set up a short call. This is called mining your Power Base. It’s that simple.
From here, you will be able to have conversations about what they are working on, which will organically lead into your business and what you are working on. The key is not to lead with asking for a deal. Start with real conversations.
Do not overlook the step of reactivating your power base. It can lead to more deals than you realize.
Third, provide good service. (It is about the ice.)
One of the things that occurs during a crisis is customer churn. If you want to be ready for events like a second wave, you need to double down on how you provide service.
Be ready to really “wow” your customers with the little things. I’ll share with you a recent experience I had when I was buying a car. Usually, buying cars can be miserable. This time, however, it was amazing. When I arrived at the dealership, they approached me and asked if I wanted bottled water. It was a hot, muggy, Florida day, so of course I said yes. They didn’t just bring me bottled water. They brought it on a tray … with a glass … filled with ice. That was the level of customer service I received.
If you want to win customers, especially during a possible second wave, make them feel like they are in the Greenroom at the Oscars. Treat them like they are the most important person in the room. Ask yourself: what is “ice” in the glass of your business? Is it a leather tray? Is it padded chairs? Is it a luxury bathroom? If you make your customer feel good, you can keep them for life.
There’s no doubt crises will continue to come, pandemics may continue to come and events will impact businesses long after this one. We can all learn many lessons from Covid-19 that will strengthen our businesses and help us be stronger as a world and as people — and to do better things to make our organizations and teams more effective and productive. If you focus on obsessing over the top line, reactivate your power base and double down on how you provide service. You could not only survive the pandemic, but also thrive through it.
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