As business owners, the world as we know it is rapidly changing and evolving. Every day we are confronted with new information, regulations, and choices. How we handle those choices, and how we mitigate risk during this time will be the difference between success and failure during this coronavirus crisis.
One of the big things that I have been working on with a lot of our business coaching clients right now is helping them learn how to mitigate risk in each pillar of their business. I want to share a list of the top four ways that you can mitigate risk in your sales pillar right now.
1. Care for Your Clients and Your Marketplace
Caring for clients can mean reaching out to them regularly with a phone call to check in to see how they are doing. You could send a card that just says, "I was just thinking about you" or an audio note that says, "Hey, I was thinking about you and your family. Are you OK? Is there anything I can do for you?"
The key here is to not ask for direct business during these messages but to invest in the relationship that you share. You're caring for them as a company, not as a business opportunity.
2. Call Your C-Bucket Clients
Whom can you cut? Whom can you raise pricing for? Whom could you change your payment arrangements with? For example, one of our coaching clients had a customer that was paying about $110,000 per month for their business but was two months in arrears. That customer was consistently a bad collection risk. Our suggestion for our client was to switch their customer from a monthly billing cycle to one on a week-by-week basis. Not only does this help with cash flow on our client's end, but it also holds their customer accountable.
3. Get Good at Selling Virtually
When you can sell virtually, it allows you to extend your sales force over a larger area without the overhead. It's also generally much more efficient in terms of sales time. There's no travel time to be factored in. The entire sales process happens quicker.
4. Practice Better Lead Management
Are you giving your best sales leads to your best salespeople? One metric most sales forces should measure but just don't: What's the average dollar of sales per lead by salesperson? Most companies are good about looking at their sales team somewhat objectively. For example, consider a fictional Joe and Linda.
If Joe has a closing rate of 30 percent and Linda has a closing rate of 28 percent, we think Joe is a better salesperson, but that might not be true. Joe might sell an average of $3,000 per lead, but Linda might take the leads that she's given and sell $4,000 per lead on average. So, even if her close rate is a little bit lower, her average dollar of sale per lead might be many times higher, and that difference means that your best leads should go to Linda. Look to this metric instead and make decisions accordingly.
Now is not the time to stop selling. It's the time to be smarter about the choices and risks you take with your sales force. If handled appropriately, your team can come out stronger than it was before this crisis.