The game has changed, and the way the game is played has to be changed.
– Satoru Iwata
I have been on calls the past few days with members of our community. The consistent theme from these calls though is that what worked before is simply not working. Game over.
Now is not the time however to dwell on the negative. You cannot change the situation, but you can adjust yourself by recalibrating your goals and your mindset. If you have done that, the next step is to be a game changer
“In a world full of game players, the only way to set yourself apart is to be a game changer.”
– Matshona Dhliwayo
The way you change the game is to take a long-term perspective. Forget about trying to close deals in the next 30 to 90 days. Think about the sales when the current freeze begins to thaw. In that timeline, you have a unique opportunity to elevate yourself in the minds of your prospects as an advisor.
The traditional sales approach is “give to get”. You give some and then expect to get, like you sending some material in exchange for a face-to-face meeting or referral. That won’t work now because the entire psyche across the globe is shaken. Everyone is in survival mode and do not want to reciprocate your offers. This means you have to shift to a giver without delivering the hard ask.
This is the time when you focus on building trust, credibility, and rapport:
- Trust — Avoid appearing opportunistic in your messaging and outreach, there is nothing more galling than using the pandemic as a sales prop. You gain trust by not explicitly asking for the meeting, but by simply offering freely to provide insight and advice. Do not create undo angst by pushing for the next step in your sales process, give your prospect room to respond.
- Credibility — There is going to be a lot of questions about how to navigate in a world where our working situations and life circumstances will be different. The trends have changed! Be the knowledgeable advisor that identifies trends, demonstrates insights, and presents novel ideas. This will not help sales now, but it will establish you as a valued resource when things rebound.
- Rapport — The phrase people buy from people is still true, but now you need to be more creative to be seen as a person in a time of social distancing and isolation. Avoid the fake niceties or humor used in typical outreach and be genuine, warm, and interested in your prospects. This means you should dig deeper into personalization.
How do you build trust, credibility and rapport though? You need to have insights, trends, and content that shows you have practical and relevant ideas on helping your prospect’s business. This is not a time to send product brochures or veiled product pitches. Think about content that would make your prospect look smart among her peers and bosses.
Where would you find this type of content? You could rely on marketing but beware since a lot of that content might be too high-level or product-centric to be useful. A better source is your own research to understand the industry. Then translate what you learn into ideas where your product could add value that is relevant to your prospect’s industry & company.
The next step would be to craft your messaging. I will leave that for the next newsletter. As a preview though, I use a method called the Messaging Matrix which helps to align challenges, ideas. and content to personas that I engage with. This helps to better organize my thoughts and allows me to think strategically about my outbound outreach.
Thanks again and wear that advisor hat as you prospect!