At BuzzBoard, we’ve been long-time proponents of using a consultative approach with both clients and prospects. As a platform, BuzzBoard is designed to provide sales professionals with the information and analytics they need to become trusted advisors or consultants. Some of our most successful customers use BuzzBoard data to outline the business journey for their prospects. This data-driven narrative is a kind of storytelling—and it’s powerful. How far has the business come, where is it headed, how fast is it going, what kinds of obstacles (competitors) does it need to overcome, and what resources does it need to survive/thrive/reach the next level? Understanding the business journey and anticipating what’s next allows reps to engage with prospects and clients in a genuinely in-depth, strategic, and consultative manner. In an earlier blog post, we talked about how the best sales professionals are those who know how to adapt to change. We must also help our small businesses customers and prospects to adapt. This means refreshing their old (and very-suddenly outdated) approaches to communicating, marketing, and selling from the pre-coronavirus era. Below is a quick action plan we can take to stay relevant to our clients and prospects.
1. Transition From Seller to Consultant
Prospects are often hesitant to trust a sales person due to the widely-held assumption that sellers act primarily out of self-interest. While the vast majority of the time this is not the case, sellers do need to invest more time developing trust and proving their integrity. But let’s cast this seller-centric challenge aside for a moment, because you don’t have the time to be a seller right now and prospects do not have the time for sellers. Small businesses need a consultant to help get them through these challenging times.
If you’ve joined any of my in-person trainings or webinars over the years, you’ve heard me use the “seller/financial planner” analogy. The consultant takes the financial planner approach. Financial planners ask a ton of relevant questions about our short and long-term goals. For instance: Where do you see yourself five years from now, 10, 15, retirement? The planner builds a layer of trust with every question she asks. With this information in mind, the planner puts together a smart portfolio containing a healthy balance of stable/low-risk and long-term investments, as well as some quick-return, higher-risk assets. The planner is able to ultimately achieve the same goals of the seller: to sell a financial product that earns them a commission. When we consult with small businesses, we need to ask the right questions and clearly communicate our strategy to help them remain relevant through positive action that addresses both their short-term survival and long-term growth needs.
Remember: Consultants solve problems (and develop more opportunities and sell more in the process).
2. Help Them Adjust
I saw an ad for a day spa on television just a few days ago, and it was followed by another ad, from a furniture company, inviting me to come in and see the quality of their vast showroom. As a consumer, I know that I am not alone in feeling like these companies are tone-deaf. As consultants, we can help businesses like the day spa and the furniture company shift their messaging and be more creative in their approaches. The day spa cannot accept clients when their doors are closed. But they can absolutely offer tips on “DIY facial masks during lockdown” via the company’s social media platforms to reach a greater audience. Customers will appreciate the helpful tips the day spa offers and will be more likely to visit in person when we’re finally given the all-clear (hopefully sooner than later). The furniture store needs to expand its online showroom and drive traffic there rather than to its brick and mortar location. As the majority of people are staying at home, they want their home to be as comfortable and cozy as possible. Something new that adds a little cheer to distract from the monotony of life in quarantine is likely to be pretty desirable right now. Rather than inviting customers to do the impossible—visit their closed store—they could thank the community at-large for doing their jobs and staying home. They might not be directly selling products and announcing sales, but they are remaining relevant and positioning themselves as community mainstays. And consumers respond favorably to this type of messaging.
3. Use Prospecting Quickstart
BuzzBoard introduced a new card to the Homepage that I think you’ll find especially useful during the coronavirus pandemic. It allows you to quickly update your geography and category-related prospecting preferences.
The rules of business engagement change almost daily as COVID-19 evolves in various areas. For instance, we’re now seeing more business categories listed as essential in some areas of the country. Businesses in these categories will be more likely to have the ability to spend on solutions—so it’s important to stay on top of these business updates, and it’s now easier than ever to adjust your BuzzBoard prospecting settings via the Homepage card.
For reference, here are some key categories to focus on right now.
4. Use BuzzBoard Contact Information
Another great feature that BuzzBoard offers is the Contacts card. This is located in both the Chrome Extension and in the Summary pages of a BuzzBoard profile. When you identify a great-fit prospect, it’s important to be proactive and propose your ideas. Of course, reaching out to the correct person by name is key. If you don’t see a contact listed, click the Request button and our team will manually research contacts for you. We’ll email you the results within 24 hours.
If you have any questions, need help customizing your BuzzBoard filters to fit your new strategies, or want insight on closing a deal, you can reach me at email@example.com.