“Is prospecting ok during this COVID-19 event?” Chris Bugg began his Hampton Roads Chamber Virtual Chamber Education presentation with this question. He quickly answered with pre-pandemic philosophy. Before social distancing, the two values that guided his Sandler Training program are:
“It is unethical to sell to someone something they don’t need.”
“It is unethical to not sell something to someone they do need.”
“These principles still apply. In some cases, more than ever. It is our ethical and patriotic obligation to keep the economy moving.”
Bugg took a quick poll of participants to see how they were doing business development before COVID19. 83% used networking events, 88% used email, and 38% used walk-ins. With networking events and walk-ins now off the table, Bugg suggests being personal with emails and direct messaging in social media. He cautions not to use outdated templates that might not match the tone in today’s pandemic. You don’t want to be grim, but overly cheerful may come off tone-deaf. “Change the verbiage in the first line of your email to include YOU and not I. This is a low-pressure way to capture their attention." Plan to send three emails before making a reliable connection. That third email should give the recipient the option to move forward or to stop receiving emails from you.
When turning to phone prospecting, Bugg says to go for the decision-maker. Since most people are working from home, they should be easier to find now.
For social media engagement, Bugg suggests the 5-3-1 rule.
For every 1 call to action, post 3 thoughtful comments, and post 5 comments from prospects. "That last one can easily be done with shares and likes. Then the potential client will likely follow you, and you can begin to engage."
Bugg broke down the four principles to live by for sales during the pandemic.
At the end of the presentation, we opened the zoom call to comments from participants. One sales manager said he had great success finding potential sales by researching building permits and planning commission meetings and websites. Another salesperson on the zoom said her team has the best response when going door to door during inclement weather. She is looking forward to being able to resume that type of face to face sales.
The Hampton Roads Chamber thanks Southern Bank for their presenting sponsorship for the Virtual Chamber Education Series.