Sales Are Still Essential

 In All, Rural Sales

Wow. What a week we’ve just had.

Hopefully you’ve managed to catch your breath, settle in and adapt to your new normal for now in lockdown.

Last week a lot of businesses faced the sudden and brutal reality that they weren’t seen as “essential services”.

The primary sector is in a privileged position where it is, and should always be, seen as essential because we know rural will play a big role in our recovery.

In the meantime, whether we’re in good times or bad, the fact remains that if you don’t offer value to your customers you will never been seen as essential.

Because you’re seen as non-essential (i.e. not adding value) you can be dropped at any time as many businesses are finding out right now.

You’re a nice to have rather than a must have. Discretionary not mandatory. A cost that unfortunately gets cut. 

One thing that remains essential and that is sales.

Without sales you don’t have a business so it makes sense to make sales your essential service:

  • Sales are the lifeblood of any business
  • Sales are the reason everyone gets paid
  • Sales mean the bills get paid and the lights stay on
  • Sales create certainty in an uncertain world
  • Sales give you options when others have none

Right now, sales are being proven to be even more essential, not that they weren’t already.

Don’t leave the door open

Your competitors will be circling close desperate to convert your customers. This will put pressure on your prices so it pays to be ready by planning and preparing for such scenarios.

Being able to communicate why your product or service is priced as it is will be crucial. Discounting is deadly and there will be plenty of it coming.

If you don’t keep close to your customers and connecting using quality content and communications that cut through you run the very real risk of leaving the door open for others to start a relationship with them.

Because you become out of sight you become out of mind leaving your competitors to become top of mind.

When you do that they will leave you as a obsolete, substitutible non-essential. It leaves a long climb back.

Remember this – you always make your gains on the uphill, not the downhill.

Communication is key

Right now, you will be checking in and communicating regularly, maybe even daily, with your loved ones. The ones that sustain and nourish you emotionally, especially in the tough times.

Are you applying the same principle to your customer communications?

Your customer relationships are the ones that sustain you financially. Don’t take them for granted and don’t get complacent.

You have to keep connecting with them or someone else will show them they care for them more.

We will see an explosion in online content in the coming days and weeks as companies wake up to the fact that they need to get online and communicate which is going to make cut through even more challenging.

All of us are also experiencing an upsurge in emails from companies we forgot or don’t know which reminds us content is about quality, not quantity.

Don’t be the company that chronically under-communicates.

Over-communicate because your customers will be looking for leadership right now. They will be looking for companies to give them the best advice to navigate through tough times like these.

They will trust those who show that they care through their actions and communications giving them ideas and insights that they can use. 

Remember this: it is your customers who will see us through this challenging time. The more customers you create, the more you will get through.

The hard stuff, not the soft stuff 

Any of the fluff merchants out there are being found out right now. All the softer stuff suddenly isn’t that important.

If your marketing isn’t making you money in the form of attributable leads or inquiries pull the plug on those activities now.

Effective marketing does exactly the opposite – it generates leads that sales teams can close. 

People are waking up to the fact that sales are the #1 essential service they need to focus on now – and focus on hard.

We’ve been banging the drum on the importance of sales since we started. Everyone’s sales situation hasn’t changed. You still need to make sales. 

And as we’ve said a hundred times before: you get sales by serving, not selling.

Now is the time to put the needs of your customers front and centre, even if it means taking a hit in the short-term. Serve their interests, not your own. Provide them with the best content that can help them. Be generous.

What you do now and how you behave is what will be remembered and rewarded by your customers.

Some of you will see this crisis as a threat and react with fear regressing into retreat. Others will see this as an opportunity and walk towards pressure with curiousity and an open mind to advance and learn to become better.

Make sure you do more the of the latter and less of the former.

Companies have direct control over money going out but not coming in. You can control what’s coming in if you stick to focussing on sales.

Remember this: what we do in the short-term affects what happens to us in the long-term. Making the wrong or rash decisions can hurt and harm your business. 

Pressure is your friend 

Pressure has the ability to either build you up or break you down. It all comes down to your mental outlook. You can choose to rise to the opportunity or view things as a threat.

When you suddenly change the plan you had set in place, like making sales, you will only lock in your loss if you deviate from it.

Don’t make a knee-jerk reaction. Think about what you’re doing now and the impact it could have on your future.

Whilst it’s very natural and human to just think about the here and now, you need to be strategic and think ahead longer term.

Business won’t stop. Countless recessions told us it never does. And business always bounces back quicker for those that took the right actions. 

The only thing that is stopping is you.

If you do stop you will become non-essential. 

It’s essential you understand this.

Keep going.

PS. I will be running a free weekly sales essentials webinar at 11am NZT each and every Monday to help anyone who’s struggling with sales – inside as well as outside Ag. If you’d like to join me you can register here. Feel free to share this invite with someone who you know needs help.

PPS. If you need a bit of mental inspiration my good mate and Trans-Atlantic Rower Jamie Fitzgerald just re-shared his story about why it is so important to keep rowing.

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