As I write this article, in early June 2021, there continues to be uncertainty on the roadmap of restriction removal across the world because of the pandemic. Some customer meetings are starting to happen in person rather than virtually and this leads to a mixture of emotions.
During a session I delivered last week to a client in the East Midlands, I asked the team to give one word about how they were feeling that day. The words varied from excited to anxious to scared. All these emotions, I believe, neatly capture the sentiment I am seeing across the sales community at this time.
However, there is another word that I’ve heard used in abundance recently to describe how sellers need to perform in the current climate.
That word is agile.
What does agility mean?
Put simply, agility, means we need to have an opinion on the customers’ changing needs. Be open to who we meet, how we meet and allow bandwidth to do these meetings. Build value that will help our customers thrive for the long term.
Now, you might look at these areas and think, these are the same areas that we have been focusing on for the last few years and in fact, you could be right. What has changed, and the reason we need to be agile now more than ever is because our customers will be at different stages of readiness, proactivity, willingness, and financial stability to move forward with solutions you have on offer.
Aren’t we already taught to be agile?
Is there a presupposition that as sellers, we were not agile already? Does it suggest that we need increased agility to deal with the changing conditions imposed by the pandemic? There is no singular answer to any of these questions and from my experience, it differs depending on many factors, not least your industry sector, role, and level of experience.
So, let’s consider some elements of agility and what they could mean for you in the weeks and months ahead:
- What has changed for your customers?
- How well do you know the impact of the pandemic on their organisation?
- How much time have you spent:
- Researching their vertical sector
- Talking to your various contacts to understand their business position
- With your virtual team to build a strategy and some valuable insights that will help your customers’ success through your solutions
- Meeting your customers: Over the last 15 months there has only been one choice for most of us… Virtual meetings. Now, we have the potential to meet in person. Have you considered:
- Diary management – blocking time out of your diary for travel so that virtual calls are not added
- Mindset – how will you or your contact feel about meeting in person again?
- Attendees – will all attendees be in person or will you need to allow for in person and virtual?
- Redefining value: In many cases, what your customers require from a value perspective might have changed over the course of pandemic… Have you adjusted your approach accordingly? A few points of consideration:
- What do your customers really need now to help them thrive?
- Who would be interested in solving these problems from your customer’s side?
- How can your solutions help?
- How are you different from your competition?
Stronger and Better
Now more than ever, we must put our customers at the heart of everything we do as professional sellers. It is always about the customer, so let’s show great agility, customer centricity and value creation as we emerge from the last 18 months stronger and better than ever.