Recently, an old friend was on a call with a colleague in the Northern Territory. Her NT colleague made an offhand comment about going to the pub, and setting up for a BBQ on the weekend.
There was nothing malicious about the comment. But, after being in lockdown in Melbourne for nearly five of the past six months, she collapsed and wept for a week.
When I heard the story, my heart broke for her.
But she’s not alone. A lot of people are feeling more pressure right now than they did at the start of the pandemic.
Right now, most of my clients in Melbourne are just doing what they can to cope: taking time off, minimizing the pressures on their schedules, saying no to overly burdensome work, pausing business development efforts, etc. It’s stuff that might have been considered indulgent (or even negligent) for a business owner six months ago.
And it’s not just people in Melbourne who are experiencing this. The stats suggest it’s happening globally (although at different levels).
On the other hand, there are also a lot of people under financial pressures right now… Their own client work has dried up, or has been paused, or is no longer possible due to COVID restrictions. And it’s created a clash between desperate sellers and non-receptive buyers.
So what do you do right now if you need to make sales?
I reckon the key right now is to be gentle and generous.
Gentle and generous means you’re offering something that is helpful, and gives people an easy “out” if they’re not ready right now.
Gentle and generous means being kind and acknowledging people might be struggling, and accepting them on their terms. That “no” doesn’t mean “no forever” – that it might just mean “we can’t handle the stress, the mental bandwidth, or the financial risk right now”.
As opposed to pushy and pitchy, gentle and generous means you’re unlikely to get the door slammed in your face today – and the door will likely be opened to you tomorrow.
Because you’re safe to say “no” to, you become easier to say “yes” to.
Plus being gentle and generous helps you to identify the prospects who are engaged right now, and focus your sales efforts on those people who are willing and able to say yes (while giving others the space that they might need).
I want to share some exciting news…
Over the past few months, I’ve been working with 17 incredibly intelligent men and women across a wide range of fields of expertise to write a new book – “What The Hell Do We Do Now: An enterprise guide to COVID-19 and beyond”
I just received news that the launch date is scheduled for this week!
I’m really looking forward to sharing this with you. It has a lot of clever ideas from true thought leaders in their field around navigating the complexities COVID-19 has created, and I think you’ll get a lot out of it.