With the move into Level 1 this week, it feels like we’re approaching some sort of normal. Collectively, we’ve done an amazing job of taming the virus – we now need to get the economy moving.

But it won’t be easy. Our working environments will be changed forever. Whether you’ve been working right through or had an enforced break over lockdown, I’m sure you’ll have realised that we can’t carry on exactly as we were before. Many of our customers simply won’t be in a position to spend as they had been (and sadly, some may not have survived the economic hit to their business). Others may have found that their products / services are in high demand, which creates some great opportunities but can come with its own challenges. And all, no matter whether they’ve flourished or floundered, will view things differently.

So what does selling look like in this new world? I think there are a few key themes that will be even more important than before as we navigate through this environment:

  1. Authenticity is key. We’ve all had time to reflect on what’s really important and the last couple of months have seen some people demonstrating the values and behaviours we admire and trust, whilst others have shown behaviours that don’t sit well with us. Customers will be looking to partner with those individuals and businesses who are upfront and genuine – and whose approach to business and life is aligned with theirs.
  2. Customer centricity will go to a new level. There’s been lots of talk about pulling together and helping others who may not have fared well through these tough times. And we’ve seen some wonderful examples of that – people pitching in and doing what they can to help those who need it most. In that environment, those who demonstrate empathy and a genuine focus on the needs of the customer will have an edge – they’ll be sought out as suppliers / partners who are truly committed to doing what’s right for the customer, not just what’s best for their business.
  3. Think local, buy local. We’ve all heard plenty about supporting our local communities to bounce back and thrive. Never has there been such a need to connect with our local marketplace and demonstrate the unique benefits we can offer, particularly if you’re a Kiwi business (even if you’re part of a multi-national, you’re still the NZ operation of that business). We need to think about what that means for us (and our customers) and ensure our messaging and actions reflects that.
  4. It’s personal. One clear benefit to come out of this situation is the realisation for many that our relationships are the things we hold most dear. And as we get back to some sort of normality in a work sense, many will seek to carry that mindset into their professional relationships – to work with those they genuinely like, where mutual respect exists and where there is genuine caring. So developing and nurturing those high-trust relationships will be even more of a differentiator.

I’ll say again – it won’t be easy. But working alongside our customers to really understand their needs before providing a solution to meet those needs is what it’s about. If we can demonstrate through our actions that we’re here to help our customers achieve the best outcomes for them, they’ll want to work with us. And that’s the foundation for great sales results!
By Stuart Sinclair, Co-Owner, David Forman.