That salespeople are adaptable might seem like an obvious statement in light of what we have had to do since the Corona Virus pandemic created chaos. But weren’t we great salespeople always adaptable? The Corona Virus has affected the whole world. But for as long as there have been buyers and sellers, there have been disruptive events changing the status quo. Some events affected whole populations. How many of us now have a land-line phone in our home? Other events are more narrowly focused. Have you ever had to deal with your favorite buyer leaving a great customer only to be replaced with one who wanted to make their own mark?
What’s It Mean Salespeople Are Adaptable?
The world changes daily. Some changes are small others cataclysmic. Great salespeople understand the implications of the changes affecting them. And they react to accommodate them. But they also know the fundamentals of the selling process never change. How those fundamentals are applied and who the buyer is may change but the fundamentals are, well, fundamental. We say salespeople are adaptable because they continue to apply good fundamental selling practices even when the situation changes.
Think About The World We Live In
You can think broadly or just about your own self-interest. COVID-19 hits. Governments at all levels react to contain the effect of the disease. Some companies are shut down, like restaurants and theaters. Others go into overdrive, like pharmaceutical researchers. Salespeople are adaptable to both outcomes of the COVID pandemic. Those who serve businesses which are losing sales are adapting by finding new customers. When businesses like cut-and-sew shops pivot from sewing shirts to making face coverings, great salespeople seize the opportunity to sell a different fabric. A metal fabricator I know who does work in poultry processing plants, pivoted to making Plexiglass barriers to protect workers and keep the plants operating. Similarly for a commercial sign company who had the skills to make Plexiglass barriers. And a local packaging company added a new machine to make bottles for hand sanitizer.
Adaptable And Creative Are Inherent In Great Salespeople
So what’s that mean. I believe unless you are a creative thinker, you will never be successful in sales. The great salespeople I have known have wonderful imaginations. They can see the situation both as it is and how it can be. Salespeople are adaptable because they think creatively to solve a customer’s problem. My favorite author is Louise Penny, a Canadian who lives in a small town in the Eastern Provinces of Quebec. She does her new book releases in the local bookstore, Brome Lake Books. Well, COVID knocked out the chance for a gathering at Brome Lake Books to celebrate her latest novel. This had a serious effect on the profitability of the bookstore.
So Ms. Penny did a virtual book release for Brome Lake Books. She sent an email to her fan base inviting us to an online event to benefit Brome Lake Books. Fans paid $7 to see the conversation between Louise and some of her friends talk all about writing. The contribution went to the bookstore. And we could order the latest of Ms. Penny’s books: “All The Devils Are Here” right from Brome Lake Books. This might not have been as impactful as a COVID-19 vaccine or the shutting of the New York City entertainment market. But for Brome Lake Books it was critical. Great salespeople are adaptable because they are creative.
Hey, Listen Up!
Salespeople are adaptable because they have good listening skills. In my experience the prospect always told me how to solve their problem and get the business. By asking good open-ended questions and listening intently, I often learned why the prospect was interested in my product. By following the fundamental selling process and listening at each step I was able to adapt. With some creativity to differentiate myself from the competitor, I could lead the prospect to the close naturally. I learned fundamental selling skills, adaptability and creativity were most important when a deal wasn’t going as I had hoped. Great salespeople are confident in their ability to adapt to meet the situation.
What You Can Do Right Now
- Remember the fundamentals of good selling
- Be calm, take a breath and realize change is an opportunity
- At every point in the selling process think creatively