Selling in a crisis: 12 ways to be proactive in your approach

The world is shutting down. Things are changing every day. And although I don’t have any clue what’s going to happen, I do have experience selling during a downturn. This is how I keep selling during a crisis, and you can too.

1. Assume the worst

Now is the time to be realistic. By being realistic, you can prepare for the worst. Click to tweet →

While you don’t want to be stuck in a pessimistic frame of mind, now is not the time to be optimistic. The facts show that the world isn’t going well: it’s always better to plan for the worst-case scenario and be prepared.

2. Get your act together

It’s normal to get stressed when you start to assume the worst. You need to process what’s going on. It’s going to suck, but you need to get through this phase in order to move on.

After you’re through it, put a plan together that makes you feel empowered and gives you direction. Then, start taking action, no matter how limited you might feel in this new situation.

3. Act fast(er)

If there’s something you think you should do in a couple of weeks, you should probably do it today. See what needs to get adjusted immediately, and adapt to this situation.

Act faster than you thought you needed to by being flexible to new changes and adapted circumstances. Click to tweet →

4. Get cash-flow to your business

You need cash-flow now. For example, why not give your customers a huge discount by pre-paying for the whole year? If you have invoices due at the end of the month, give them a discount for paying today.

Breaking-bad-scene-where-Walter-White-and-Skylar-stand-in-front-of-a-huge-pile-of-cash copy

Prioritize as many deals as you can this week so you get cash flow as soon as possible.

In a crisis, the value of a monthly-paid contract is practically worthless. Companies are going to be in a life or death situation, and they will break those contracts if they need to. Instead, do everything you can to get as many pre-paid contracts as you can.

5. Speed to close over the total dollar value

This is the complete opposite of what I would do under normal circumstances. However, we are no longer living in normal times.

Today, you need to focus on the speed to close. Every deal that you can close today for a little less money is worth a lot more than a deal that might close next week. Why? Because every day that passes, the world situation is getting worse. Companies are getting flooded with terrible news, they’re starting to panic, and your chances of closing that deal are decreasing drastically every day.

Don’t wait: close now.

6. Anticipate future objections

The world situation is changing rapidly, and every day brings a new situation or a new challenge to your customers. Because of this, your customers’ objections will continue to evolve, and could be completely different next week from what they are today.

Manage the objections your customers have today, but be prepared for the objections they’ll have tomorrow. Click to tweet →

7. Change your planning schedule

Throw away the plans you had for 2020. They’re worthless. Your yearly plans are irrelevant, and your quarterly goals probably are as well.

It’s time to reset. To navigate a crisis, you need to be nimble and react to the situation faster than anyone else. Don’t worry about making a 6-month plan to deal with this situation: your plans need to be weekly or daily, not monthly. That way, you can adjust your plans as the situation changes.

8. Invest in your prospects and customers

While most of your actions should be short-term, you do need to keep a long-term view. This year will probably be bad for everyone, but keep in mind that anything you do now could have long-term consequences.

Ask yourself: How can I be there for my customers now in a way they won’t forget? Click to tweet →

Your reputation is being built right now, and it will be there forever. If you’re using fear and unethical practices to sell through the crisis, people will remember that forever. You will pay a long-term price for bad selling practices.

Instead, find ways to build relationships.

9. Do what you can, but don’t do more

While trying to help your customers is essential to building relationships, don’t give more than you can. Remember: the most important thing right now is the health of your business.

In other words, don’t give discounts you can’t finance.

If you have the excess cash, make these investments in your customers. If you don’t have the cash, look for more creative ways to help them. For example, why not offer consultations, waive service fees, or give more webinars?

10. Don’t be tone-deaf


Don’t pretend the world isn’t melting down. There’s only one thing people in business care about right now: how can I get my business through this crisis? Anything else that you’re talking about online or with prospects is just going to get lost in the noise.

Instead, help them deal with the challenges they have right now.

11. Cut costs

This is not the first thing I would do, but eventually, this is something you need to look at.

After taking stock of all the costs you have in your business, ask yourself: which of these things are necessary, and which ones aren’t?

For example, put the pause button on long-term plans and investments.

Focus on the costs you absolutely need and cut as much of the unnecessary costs as you can. Click to tweet →

12. Find opportunities in crisis

I’m not talking about reselling hand sanitizer for $50 a bottle. Instead, I’m talking about looking for new types of prospects that could benefit from using your product or services.

There are always opportunities: you just need to keep your eyes open and be ready to adjust quickly.

We’re living in a time of crisis: It’s time to rise to the challenge. Use the tips above to keep doing your work, adapt to the situation, and be prepared for what’s coming.

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