Sales in the face of disruption

by Robert Austin

How will you sell while on lockdown? What is your strategy when you are unable to pitch face to face to your customers? How will your business sales process cope in the face of this disruption? 

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” -Albert Einstein

Not a nice topic, I know. It’s certainly not been business as usual has it? I mean, we’re all feeling it one way or another. Don’t get me started on people stockpiling and panic buying! I won’t mention it again. With people everywhere going into self isolation and staying at home it is unavoidable that businesses will also bear the brunt with many going potentially under.

One thing I have noticed, though, is that people I’ve been meeting with have been great at doing small but sensible things like not shaking hands. It’s quite a hard thing not to do as it’s such an ingrained behaviour but people are somehow still managing to do business without “pressing the flesh”. I have been an avid fan lately of the fist bump!

This week got me thinking, a big part of my own business includes working from home closing sales for my clients, so a lockdown for me and probably quite a few other freelancers won’t be massively affected. At least as far as I am aware for now. You’re probably thinking, this may not affect your sales. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared, just no need to stockpile any more toilet paper. Last time I swear! 

Let’s address the elephant in the room of questions:

What does it mean to the thousands of businesses whose livelihood rely on face to face sales with customers? What about the good old fashioned business meeting with potential new customers? Or existing customers?

This is the time to plan and not to bury your head. There are still opportunities. Tough times don’t last, tough people and businesses do. 

Here are 5 proven ways and methodologies that should help you keep your sales going during these uncertain times. This may just be a helpful reminder to many of you and to many others it could be the difference that helps your business stay afloat. 


1: Be there first and dislike second place 

What do I mean? I am talking about the millions of people searching for things every day online. Even more so now with so many stuck indoors.

Most of these searches are completely brand new to the person searching. 

If we already have a trusted website for something, we go there first. If we’re unsure, we search. If you don’t recognize the power of being first (in rankings, in someone’s inbox, and as the first person people recommend for service X or product Y), you’re missing a great opportunity to increase your sales. Get content out there! Send out as much value driven material as possible. More than ever people will be consuming content and now is the time to get as much out there to your audience. 


  1. Get in front of the customer

Now I don’t mean directly as that would defeat the whole point of this article. I mean as in ACTIVELY get in front of them. Video content is a great place to start. What about a video about the 7 mistakes people make when they use the wrong type of social media platform? 

Or 7 ways we are different from the rest? And of course reason number 7 should be not using your business for the customer’s problem, want or need! 

This will establish trust and rapport during this period of uncertainty.

Taking this a step further: sending direct messages / emails / video messages makes things even more personal (and therefore even more powerful as a sales tool). 


  1. Be Attractive (Stand out from the crowd, be different)

Now is not the time to minimise your activity. Now is the time to expand your reach to the marketplace and invest while making sure your sales page is easy to read, your products look the part and spend more time than you think you should on the visual aesthetics of whatever you’re working on. It is the time to make sure your website looks the part and put more content out there. This isn’t just important for closing a sale, but for charging a premium.


  1. Get The Product In Your Customers Hand

A common theme here but I will mention it again, give a piece of whatever you’re creating away for free.

It doesn’t have to be the whole eBook, just a piece of it gives me ownership over the product.

Software companies do this with free trial periods and the ‘freemium’ business model (basic use is free – if you want the good stuff though, it’ll cost you).

Point is, I’m (and human beings in general) more likely to buy when I get to hold the physical product in my hand (and whatever equivalent that looks like in the digital space).