Six Lessons Learned
Just when we thought we were moving past it (COVID-19), the uncertainty rears its ugly head – AGAIN. Last week, I had the privilege of having conversations with managers from all parts of the country in all market sizes. The uncertainty is real. Some communities are considering more stringent restrictions while others are not, but what is certain is: This ain’t over.
Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB
This time, however – and it’s weird to even write the words – but we can say: “We’ve been through this before.” Remember March 2020 when massive cancellations started? Everyone was scrambling to identify what we could do to serve our communities, our clients and our teams. So yes, we have been through this before and the experience has taught us valuable lessons. Here are six from my conversations last week:
1. Relationships matter – Personal or professional, the true strength of our relationships came into focus during the initial pandemic breakout. Strong relationships got stronger. Relationships we thought were strong weren’t and went away.
2. Nobody knows – Being vulnerable and sharing that you are also confused, nervous and uncertain will go a long way towards building affinity.
3. Listening is critical – We need to listen to clients in trouble and struggling team members carefully, not just to what they are telling us, but what they are not telling us demonstrated by body language and tone of voice.
4. Be proactive – Don’t wait for it to “hit the fan.” Start having those conversations now with clients and team members
5. Flexibility – Be ready and willing to change directions quickly. Whether it’s copy changes, schedule changes or whatever needs to change because of an ever-changing situation, be ready for it.
6. Empathy, expertise and problem-solving skills – Those are the necessary ingredients for success in sales, and they are even more critical in a crisis.
This tip is about preparation, not about fear-mongering. Nobody knows for certain what’s going to happen as we head into the critical holiday season, but we do have some experience and we can be better prepared this time.
Managers: because each of your markets is different, it would be a great sales meeting and free-flowing discussion to just start the meeting by asking: ”What did we learn the last time?” The answers could spark some great conversations and great ideas for what you can do the next time or even now as the uncertainty rises.
We would love it if you would share your lessons of the past and your preparation for the future. If you’re willing, please email me at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com.
Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.