Add Value Without a Sales Pitch
In the past month, my Inbox has been inundated with sales people trying to be stealth about their sales pitches, using the "we're here for you" line as a not-so-subtle way of selling something. One major company that I'll not name by name boldly touted the failings of its competitor during this time.
Here's a note to all you sales folks out there. Yes, you're working from home like everyone else and you need to earn a living like everyone else. However, how you behave now will drive your results in the future.
How many have sent an email to someone who works in healthcare IT with this note: "Do you have 10-15 minutes next week to discuss...." ?
Seriously? NO. I can guarantee you no one in healthcare IT has time right now.
If you don't know you're trying to sell to a healthcare IT professionals right now, you are just blindly blasting out emails hoping something sticks. In normal times, it might be a sheer numbers game, but right now, it's far from that. Keep in mind, your email targets will remember this and likely remove you and your firm from future consideration for being so tone deaf right now.
The flip side of this, however, are sales reps who are genuinely trying to help out and yes, ultimately improve their connections for potential future sales. I received an offer of free information from a notable firm recently that was, essentially, 'no strings attached, I just want to help.' Of course, I know that this rep is working toward future sales, but he's building up goodwill in the right way. It was a helpful email and a reasonable offer for assistance.
When I wrote the article (below) for ISACA in February (published March 3), I didn't realize how quickly some of the information would become dated and how timely some of the material would remain. While it may too late to get ahead of some supply chain issues discussed in the article now, one segment of the post is very much worth noting if you're in sales:
"An additional consideration is whether there are any opportunities in a pandemic scenario to improve business relationships with customers – not through opportunistic exploitation, but through collaborative, compassionate assistance. Is there a way you might help your key customers during a pandemic? Helping out in hard times generates the kind of goodwill you can’t buy."
So, for all you sales people out there. Take note. Fine tune your message and your approach and add value during this difficult time.
Stay healthy, everyone, and wash your hands!