How has the pandemic impacted your professional life? If things are a little out of whack since 2020 began, you’re certainly not alone. At COCARD, we see opportunity in any change, even the seismic shift of the last couple of years. We turned a challenge into an opportunity, growing our member-owned network by over 40% last year alone. We achieved that by doing what we always do in the face of changing tides: adapting fast and sticking to time-honored principles.
Let’s discover how leading experts are adjusting their strategies to a new economy, and get back to the basics of solid sales practices.
Let’s Get Flexible
A successful business relationship is born of two things: value and connection. If you’re a COCARD member, you have the advantage of bringing superior POS solutions to your clients, from competitive fees and fully loaded features to dedicated functionality and security support. By the way, you also enjoy unparalleled value, including member ownership and 90% split rates. The challenge for salespeople across industries is how to communicate their value in a more digital world.
In a recent interview with Motley Fool, executives from leading tech companies Salesforce, Docusign and Zoom provided insights into the challenges and opportunities that sales teams face in a post-pandemic world. Their two biggest points should come as no surprise to a seasoned salesman: adaptability and empathy will win the day.
The initial shock of the pandemic has passed and businesses are taking stock, trying to tease the temporary changes from more persistent trends. Customers want a partner in this new, uncertain journey. As Scott Olrich, COO of Docusign said, “I think it’s important in this time of uncertainty not to pretend that you have the answer to exactly what the future holds for that customer. I think that would come across as inauthentic. It’s important to build hypotheses with the customer, to try to co-create what they think the potential future will be, and then insert your product and offering into that potential scenario.”
The executives also drove the idea that sales tactics need to adapt to the pandemic. Leveraging new remote technologies are not only necessary in a more digital world, but should actually boost your sales numbers. Solutions like Docusign and Zoom help you connect with potential clients more quickly, and minimize friction when you close a sale virtually. “You have to look at what were previously live processes and change them for the virtual world,” Ryan Azus, CRO of Zoom advised. “If you run a large conference, you need to transform it for remote attendance.”
Salesforce’s marketing chief Lynne Zaledonis made an important point that’s particularly relevant for COCARD:
“There’s some optimism in this for sellers. If you’re that trusted advisor that’s going to help solve their problems during these times of crisis, they’re eager to engage in that to get back to growth.”
COCARD members should lean into one key fact when presenting to clients: our continued leadership in a high-technology space. Over twenty years, our solutions have adapted to a fluid industry, and we’ve transformed our offerings from 2019 to today. Unrivaled online POS solutions, tap payments, mobile functionality, and invaluable reporting services make us the best in the business. During uncertain times, merchants should understand that we’re with them, this is our industry, and we won’t get left behind no matter what comes our way.
Some Things Never Change
The most salient impact of the pandemic was to virtualize our lives. In many cases, you will generate leads, set up presentations, and close sales without ever shaking the client’s hand. We need to adapt to that reality and get more comfortable with remote solutions, such as Zoom meetings and virtual data rooms, that help us connect with clients without sharing the same space.
That being said, certain principles of superior account management will never go out of style. The three pillars of an effective sales strategy are still the same: understand your client, know your product, and effectively communicate the value your product can provide.
Know Your Client
Naturally, you want to send a meaningful message to your prospective client. You want to communicate the value you add through superior products and services. Sometimes, though, we all fall into the trap of focusing on the pitch, and not on the present. If you take a little time to be truly present with the client and ask questions, you’ll supercharge your presentation when it’s time to pitch.
Ask questions and listen!
Perhaps even more than before 2020, clients want to be heard and understood, to feel they have an ally in these challenging, dynamic times. Before you start pitching, before you even mention the product, take time to ask questions. This simple but powerful technique will quickly build rapport. Asking questions makes your client feel better valued, understood, and supported. However, you only unlock the true benefit of asking questions if you really listen to the answers!
With each answer, your client is providing you with invaluable information regarding what she needs from a POS provider. What are the challenges and shortcomings that she finds in her current solution? What actionable information does she get (or miss) from her current CRM and POS systems? What are some general challenges she’s experienced with her business since the pandemic began? Each of these answers is ammunition for a powerful presentation, tailored precisely to her unique needs.
- Know Your Product
Asking questions and understanding your client’s problems will only go so far if you don’t know how to solve them. If you’re a COCARD member, you offer clients an incredible set of tools for their business. In order to unlock this value for them, you have to know our products inside and out. For each of the pain points she expresses, find a solution in your product.
- Show Them The Value
You’ve taken the time to understand your client, the knowledge you earned by asking relevant, meaningful questions and drawing insights from those answers. You listened intentionally and have built a relationship, earning the client’s trust, as well as a profile of her needs. You know the product inside and out, from powerful features to seamless user experience. It’s time to combine the two and show the incredible value the product can provide the client and her customers. Throughout the presentation, keep communicating how our POS solutions will help fulfill the client’s expressed needs.
If your presentation is built around the client’s needs and how the product will fulfill them, the client will become increasingly certain of two things: 1) This person gets it, they totally understand what I’m going through. 2) This product is the one for me.
To learn more about our proprietary sales strategy and nail the presentation, click here.
We’re In This Together
The pandemic threw just about every industry for a loop. COCARD was well-positioned for these challenges, and we’ve been fortunate to see sales surge in the last two years. However, we only achieved this through perseverance, adaptability, and sticking to our key principles.
We understand that some merchants and members have struggled more than others. The most important principle, for our members and the merchants we serve, is to show where we can add value. Whether it’s refreshing your sales practices or showing merchants a new way forward, let’s get through these trying times together, and come out stronger than ever!