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The coronavirus pandemic has taken the world by storm. Many industries have been affected, even sales. How do you keep selling at this time? One of the ways is via LinkedIn. This episode will talk about how BDRs and SDRs can use the LinkedIn platform amid COVID-19.
Amanda Statton was raised in Virginia Beach and moved to Tampa about a year ago to work for BlueGrace Logistics. She started sales four years ago and she loves it. Jason Behnke is originally from Chicago and came down to Tampa to study at the University of Tampa. Right after college, he worked in sports and event sponsorship and eventually found his way to BlueGrace Logistics.
The pandemic has touched every industry. Several manufacturing companies have shut down. People have been working from home for several weeks now but for sales and logistics, an opportunity has been created to transport products and to get help to those in need.
While Amanda and Jason are still working the same jobs, how they approach a potential customer has changed. They are focused on building relationships, even more than ever before. These are hard times so they do what they can to reach out, see how they can help and make themselves available.
BlueGrace Logistics partners with companies and learns about their supply chain. They look for ways to help them save money and drive out costs within their network. Before COVID-19, Amanda opened a conversation by saying, ‘Hey, I would love to learn more about your supply chain. I want to see if we can help you save money to drive out costs within your network and really get a better understanding of what you’re doing today.’
With COVID-19, the question has changed from wanting to know about a company’s strategies to asking how the company is doing amid the pandemic and how it has impacted their organization. With that information, she can then evaluate how her company can help lessen any negative impact. The focus is now helping their current clients ride the road to recovery and offering advice to prospects within the same industry who may be dealing with the same situations.
People respond to these inquiries in different ways. Some people are very open to having a conversation and understand everyone is in this together. There are others who are frustrated and wonder out loud why they’re still being asked sales questions even under these current circumstances.
Salespeople are still prospecting, even today. Amanda and Jason still conduct meetings from phone calls, emails, and LinkedIn outreach. They stick to these basic three because this is how people are still operating. There’s still a need to work on multiple channels to target prospects.
Amanda is also getting a number of responses and traffic from the links that she’s sending over email. She’s still seeing activity in clicks-to-links in emails and LinkedIn so these are the people she’ll be reaching out to in the future.
People are not as receptive to the direct approach but people are still looking for authenticity. They just want the conversation at a slower pace. This means getting to know the person on a personal level. It’s important for empathy to be the driver from beginning to end and plan to follow up. Make sure you are leaving on a good note.
There are various apps that you can use to keep up with the prospects including Sales Navigator but a simple, “Hey, how are you?” works equally well. If you send out a birthday card, include a personal note. Doing this can open a dialogue and will remind the prospects there is a relationship they can look forward to.
Like other small businesses, BlueGrace Logistics is also sharing content with manufacturing companies who are shipping right now. They are acting as a resource for these companies and put up collated information and content for industries. Their service helps their client evaluate their circumstances and adjust their business strategies as needed.
People are staying in their homes more so prospects are more open to talking on the phone during odd hours. With most people working at home, it gives sales reps a variety of opportunities to have more casual conversations. We call this an omnichannel approach which means we can be everywhere and can talk to people at different times. Although this has always been the goal, we need to do it even more so today.
Not everyone is receptive to a sales call these days and will react negatively to the approach no matter how it’s done. They may wonder why you’re reaching out during a pandemic. Amanda coached her team to honestly tell them the truth when this objection comes up. She reminded them to tell their client they’re interested in knowing how this pandemic has affected them so they can help ease their challenges.
BlueGrace Logistics has a very long sales cycle that can take anywhere from nine months to a year. They also have partners right now who are going through some major changes in their manufacturing. At the moment, Amanda’s team is being deliberate about how they start a conversation with their partners to ensure they are willing to help in any way they can.
Being empathetic and being authentic are two of the most important traits a salesperson can develop at this time, especially on LinkedIn. Don’t be scared to reach out and ask how you can help. Take advantage of LinkedIn and use its voicemail messaging. It’s the perfect vehicle for your prospects to hear the authenticity in your voice and the sincerity with which the help is being offered.
Donald shares that commenting on other peoples’ content is also a good strategy for those on LinkedIn. Interacting with their posts and other members who are commenting can launch a great conversation.
As a sales rep, keep pushing through because the current circumstances won’t last forever. Maintain your positivity, lean into the chaos and make something out of it. Don’t let an objection keep you from making the next call. You never know what people are going through. Make the next call immediately.
This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. It will help them elevate their sales game. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can go and visit www.thesalesevangelist.com/closemoredeals also call us at (561) 570-5077.
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Donald is the host of the popular sales podcast,"The Sales Evangelist". He is the founder of The Sales Evangelist Consulting Firm where he helps small companies develop killer sales process to scale their business and increase growth.Donald is also an award-winning speaker, sales trainer, and coach. He's a big fan of traveling, South Florida staycations and high-quality family time. Donald has a belief that “anyone” can sell if they have the desire and receives the proper training.