Prospecting During a Pandemic

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You have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Some of your clients have already called and canceled. Perhaps your community is under some government orders or voluntary instructions that restrict your movements. What are you going to do to protect your business?

Uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 has become so high as to render futile, if not counterproductive, the kind of planning and forecasting we currently use: forecasting based on probabilities.

You are conflicted. Do you decide to commit current resources of time and money to an uncertain future? Or worse yet, do you choose not to allocate your resources and wait to see what happens.

Ordinary companies base these critical decisions on their assumptions about what they think is going to happen in the future.

Successful companies who make the most dramatic progress in uncertain times, don’t operate on assumptions; they are the companies who ask, “What has already happened that will create the future?” “What can I do today to influence my future?” They are the companies that take specific actions today to influence their future instead of waiting on circumstances and leaving their future to chance.

What Has Already Happened That Will Shape the Future?

Even before COVID-19, some of the large corporate Radio groups we’re already scaling back their local operations and, in some cases, operating an entire Radio cluster with just a few local employees. There is virtually no local programming, no local traffic/billing people, and almost no local sales efforts. Those clusters are utterly unprepared to respond to any local needs.

Before COVID-19, the local operator had a fantastic opportunity to immediately rush in and fill that void with their local services. That advantage is now even more strategic because local businesses need local help more than ever before. Local business owners want to hear a message of hope from their local broadcaster that things will get better.

If your big corporate competitor was affected by these cutbacks, move in now with your local message. Don’t let the anxiety surrounding COVID-19 slow you down. Move quickly to communicate with local business owners.

What Can You Do Now to Shape Your Future?

Increase your prospecting efforts now if you want to improve your future performance. Prospecting is the lifeblood of any sales organization regardless of the current economic climate. Without prospects, you can’t sell your products and services.

A quick survey of home service companies in California this morning (Friday 3/20/2020) found that plumbers, HVAC, and other home repair services were still open and providing services, albeit services under the umbrella of “emergency” services. Contractors from many disciplines were open, taking my call and hoping for customer calls. They are prepared to go to work.

Here in Kansas, there are no “shelter at home” orders, and every home services contractor I contacted for this article was open for business and looking for customers.

The sales process begins with a new prospect. Without a prospect, you’re pretty much out of business. Shed your inhibitions against prospecting and get on the phone and start calling. You might face some resistance, but that is the nature of sales. Keep in mind; you’re just trying to help. You’re looking for prospects who are open for business and looking for new customers themselves.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that you are in the business of bringing buyers and sellers together. But you must take the actions today that will improve your future. Don’t allow your concerns about your situation to prevent you from taking action that can make a positive impact on your future.

Best wishes always. If I can help, let me know.  

Spike SanteeProspecting During a Pandemic

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