5 Tips For Selling During Challenging Times
We are facing unprecedented times, and we aren’t quite sure how these current challenges should affect the way we sell in our businesses.
Should we still be selling at a time like this?
Should we just give away everything for free?
Is there a happy medium or something in between?
After all, that’s what so many other entrepreneurs are doing, right? Maybe we should jump on that bandwagon too!
I’ve been asking myself these same questions. And for the past few weeks, I’ve been helping my clients navigate what the current economic crisis and pandemic means for their businesses. What I know is that we need to get savvy around what to do in response to a challenging time, and we need to be willing to adapt within our companies.
Let’s start with what we know...you run a company or a business and that means you need to make money.
But during economic difficulty, it’s hard to know how to prioritize money without feeling guilty. In times of challenge and crisis, I want you to remember that it's really important to keep selling because that makes you a viable company, and you want your company to be able to withstand difficult times!
Remember, these economic struggles won’t be here forever. You have to keep your company afloat! Just like if you were to go through a personal crisis, you would still maintain and prioritize your business by sharing your message and reaching your people because this continues to bring in revenue for your company...and that is a must!
You must be making money in order to survive and move through hard times, so keep these four tips below in mind when you are selling during challenging times:
1. Be sensible and sensitive in your messaging.
When things are going on within ourselves, a company, an industry, the nation, we want to be sure that we're not pretending like nothing bad is happening.
For example, maybe you’re a systems queen and you have all of your content planned out before the month even begins. (Good for you, girl!) You have your content and your emails all scheduled and ready to go, but the problem is...none of them address the big elephant in the room: the current pandemic and economic crisis. Normally I’m all about having systems, but in this case, you’ve got to pivot. Your ideal client isn’t in the same position she was last month, and you need to meet her right where she is. Put your current content on hold for when it’s relevant again, and make the necessary changes for the sake of your audience.
Be sensitive by acknowledging what's going on and being sure to name the elephant in the room. Sensitively talk about what the changes in the world means for your audience, and then have a sensible offering to help them through this difficult time.
How do you know what a sensible offer is?
Do the research!
Ask yourself and analyze the responses to the following five questions:
- Where is my audience?
- What are they thinking?
- What are they feeling?
- How are they doing?
- What are they needing?
Answering these questions will give you enough clarity to know how to move forward in serving your customers in the here and now. Once you’ve identified the answers, put out an offering that aligns. More than likely your preplanned schedule of launches and promotions are not going to make sense anymore. It’s time to be savvy and tweak what you share.
2. Don’t give away your work for free.
Let me clarify...I am not saying don’t give anything away for free in your marketplace. What I am saying is don’t give away something you have previously charged for...like your high-ticket offer. When you do that, it’s confusing to your audience and it devalues your offering and your company. Bottom line: it's just not strategic to give your secret sauce away for free.
What I will say is this can be a great time to create or promote something that has been free before. So maybe you have an opt-in that will serve your people where they're at, and it’s time to dust that off and start promoting it again! Or maybe you need to get creative and savvy and go on a LIVE free training or host a brand new workshop. Those things can totally be given away for free and serve your audience well. It’s also possible to run a smaller offering that is in alignment with what your audience is needing but it's still within the expertise that your company offers.
But do not make something you’ve consistently charged for now all of a sudden be free.
3. Don’t go rogue.
You know the big part of entrepreneurs that makes us a genius at what we do? Sometimes that part can go rogue during crazy times. We get all of these creative ideas, but, in some cases, we have to reign them in and make sure they align with our overall goal and mission. We don’t want to end up hurting our audience in the process of trying to help them.
Make sure if you create anything for your ideal client, it still takes them through the value ladder of your business. Because...remember...that value ladder was created because it’s the best path. So if they aren’t attracted to your high-ticket offering, you are becoming an obstacle to them instead of helping them. (Woah! Mind blown!) Seriously, though...you don’t want to end up hurting more than helping, and that can happen when you don’t think things through and start handing your expertise out for free!
Make sure you don’t get stuck in the fog of what everyone else is doing. You need to be able to still see the big picture within your business and for your client. Don’t go rogue with offers that don’t serve or freebies that hurt both your business and your client.
4. Think through your discount.
You may be wondering if you should discount your prices or not. I want to tell you there is a fine line to consider before discounting.
I would never tell you discounting is bad, because even really savvy high-end companies run discounts!
For example...I'm totally an Anthropologie girl.
And the thing about Anthropologie is they always have a sales room for passing trends and seasons, damaged products, and online returns. It’s clear to them what goes into that sales room.
They also run promotions like 15% off the whole store. And when they do that, we don't think, “Wow, this is a cheap company!” Because they have a purpose and long term vision as to why they are discounting at that rate.
It makes sense!
Right now is not necessarily a bad time to run a discount or to make a certain package a bit more valuable like offering a fun bonus for free! Creating additional value or a sensible discount is something that you can do in times of crisis and challenge. But like Anthropologie, you just need to know why and not just slap on a 20% off discount or half the price of your offer.
When planning a discount, think through the following questions:
- Why are you giving this discount?
- What are you offering your ideal client with that discount?
- Where are you leading them?
- How are you serving them that benefits both you and your customer?
When you answer these questions, you can feel good about making sure you are staying on the right side of the discount line.
5. Nurturing your audience is still selling.
Nurturing doesn’t give you money in the short-term, but it does in the long-term! With that in mind, nurturing your audience is still selling to your audience. In uncertain times of great change and challenge, it is wise to do a lot of emphasis on nurturing, showing up for your audience, and making sure that they know you're their expert.
Nurturing the right people in the right direction towards your offering is still having a sales mindset. And that is critical...even at a time like this. Now, nurturing without ever selling cannot be done for very long without having some ramifications financially within your company. That’s why this point is emphasized last. But do know that in nurturing, you’re developing more leads and going deeper with the like-know-trust factor. That's going to lead people into wanting to buy from your company. And that’s a win-win!
So, what now?
My heart in this message is to encourage you to continue selling in crisis. I believe your company has something really special and important to share. You are designed to create your impact and mark on the world, and that doesn't change in times of challenge and crisis.
Yes, your sales strategy may need to pivot with new clarity, sensitivity, and sensibility. But sales don’t need to come to a screeching halt. It’s time to get super scrappy and savvy because the world needs what you have to offer.
Thrive during this time by continuing to have a selling mindset, and know that we will be on the other side of this one day. Use the 5 tips for selling during challenging times, and your company will come out on the other side of these hard times too.
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