Business as Unusual: Evolving Association Sales Cycles Through COVID-19
The always reliable sales cycle — it’s the “Sales 101” staple of prospecting, qualification, needs analysis, proposal, negotiation and … sale! But as the economy continues to evolve during COVID-19, individuals and companies alike are changing not only what they buy, but how they buy it.
At PAR, we’re swapping our sales cycle for a resource cycle. We’ve developed five steps to help you stay current with your clients so that when they’re ready to buy, you’re ready to sell.
When times are uncertain, information and communication help to bring about clarity. Your clients are looking for answers, and while you may not have them, reach out in a personal way with whatever information you do have. Give them a call or send a personal note. Be accessible, offering support and establishing an open line of communication. Your clients will be thankful for the transparency, and you’ll build (or enhance) a strong foundation of trust.
2. Build Positivity
Your customers are facing challenging times as they encounter change in not only their business practices, but their revenue streams. Help to build positivity with purposeful optimism in all forms of communication. Positive emotions are contagious and can bring about new possibilities. Help your customers identify exciting opportunities and define new ways of operating.
3. Advocate and Educate
This is the time to show your worth. As an association professional, you have unique insight into your members and their needs. As a result, you can advocate on their behalf when working with your clients. Work to be the bridge between your members and clients; help both sides see the big picture as they move through this experience together.
4. Propose Action
The association industry reacted swiftly to COVID-19. Conventions moved to virtual settings; webcasts increased in record numbers. Now, in place of reactions, it’s time for well-thought-out responses. Now that you’ve had time to clearly identify your customer’s challenges, you can successfully link your solutions and offerings. Continue to communicate and provide opportunities for engagement and feedback. In a time when so much has been put on hold, your customers will welcome your initiatives.
While COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on our industries, this current stage is temporary. Begin to look to the future and setup your customers for long-term success. Offer them solutions, partnerships and sponsorships as they begin to reconstruct their future. The situation we are currently experiencing can greatly impact how we build our vision for the future.
This reliable sales cycle will return. But for now, implementing a strong resource cycle will help strengthen relationships with members and clients alike.
Carolyn Shomali, Community Manager, PAR
Carolyn is the Community Manager for the Professionals for Association Revenue. Carolyn coordinates PAR's online content and is the host of PAR webinars.
Carolyn can be reached at Carolyn.Shomali@mypar.org