With so much uncertainty in the market, the race is on to meet quotas, convert leads, and prove ROI like never before.
And if you’re feeling the need to ramp up your sales outreach, you best believe your prospect’s inboxes are full to the brim with the same messaging, the same outreach tactics, and the same conversations about how other companies can help them through this new normal.
How do you stand out in that sea of noise?
You stand out by focusing on tomorrow, not today. It’s the human connections we make now that will matter the most when we come out on the other side of this thing.
Here are eight ways to gain and maintain close relationships with prospects, even during a pandemic.
Tips for Gaining Connection
In your rush to make sales, it’s important to keep in mind that your prospects are more than just a number to meet quota or another email address to reach out to.
They’re real people with real concerns, and they have their own professional and personal responsibilities to manage.
Research shows that 73% of consumers rate experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions. So, give your prospects a unique, human-to-human experience by standing out and finding original ways to build new meaningful connections along the sales cycle.
Here are four excellent tips for building relationships with your customers, even from home.
Keep it old-school
Did you know that 94% of people say they have a positive reaction when receiving personal letters and cards? Make your prospects part of that 94% by sending a well-timed handwritten note — not to sell, but to say hello.
Send along a motivating message to check in on how they’re holding up, and find out what their most significant pain points are during this trying time.
Most likely, they’ll appreciate the gesture, and your outreach will stand out from all the emails waiting in their inbox — especially considering that studies show 79% of consumers will act on direct mail immediately, compared to only 45% who say they deal with an email immediately.
Keeping it old-school means you’ll be more likely to receive a reply and get a conversation started.
Give them a freebie
We’re programmed to think if people offer us something, they expect something in return. We could all use a break right now. Convert prospects into customers by offering them the chance to engage with your business completely free of charge.
The only thing you ask of them is that they give an honest review of your company once their trial’s complete.
In times like these, prospects don’t want to take any more risks than they need to. Remind prospects that to stay afloat, they need to get creative and try new strategies, but then mitigate their fear with a no-risk trial of your product.
Offering a free trial is an excellent opportunity to prove your company’s value, and it gives you an excuse to reach out for thoughtful feedback as their trial date nears its end.
Give them the option to give back
COVID-19 has given new meaning to the term we’re all in this together. As we’ve seen over the past couple of months, one person’s actions can affect many. Initiate positive action by providing ways for prospects to support their local communities through charity.
Charity Choice gift cards allow your prospect to select from a list of over 250 charitable organizations — including children’s charities, research charities, animal protection organizations, and more.
Everyone may not be familiar with your product, but they’re all likely to contribute to a worthy cause if given a chance.
Offer practical support
It can be challenging to find the right time to brave the long lines at the grocery store or pharmacy. Take one task off your prospect’s plate, and add food or other essential goods to it instead by sending them an eGift card to Target, CVS, Walmart, or Amazon Fresh for their everyday needs.
Tips for Maintaining Connection
Now that you’ve built a true connection, how do you maintain it throughout this crisis and beyond?
Surprise and delight (without fright!).
Your goal should always be to make your prospect’s lives easier. One way to do this with so many people working from home is by sending them a fully stocked work-from-home kit.
Send an office setup kit with pens, a branded notebook, webcam covers, and a desk succulent to brighten up their home office space.
Or try a mental health kit, complete with a meditation service gift card, and an essential oil diffuser set to help them relax after a long day’s work.
If you know your prospect has a furry friend, send them a branded leash or a new chew toy to keep them entertained.
If they’re parents, they’ll appreciate a virtual kids entertainment package with eGifts for Disney+, Xbox Live, or Build-a-Bear.
Hint: There is a thin line between creative and creepy. Make sure you already have a relationship with your prospect and confirm their address to ensure your surprise-and-delight gift is welcome and arrives at the recipient’s desired address.
Meet Them Where They Are, Wherever They Are
Whether you’re six feet apart or six time zones apart, you can still find ways to meet with your prospects. Try sending them an UberEats gift card, and ask if they’d be willing to meet over a quick Zoom lunch.
Or, send them an eGift card for wine.com, and invite them to a virtual happy hour to discuss the latest industry trends in a fun, laidback environment.
Thanks to technology, you can still be face-to-face, even when you’re miles apart.
If you’re committed to closing the deal, you’ll do whatever it takes (within reason) to get your prospect over the line. This should include being flexible and creative with potential solutions to help them through this tough period.
Do they love your service but just don’t have the budget? Work with them on a uniquely structured contract that makes sense for both parties. Are they having trouble getting approval from executives? Give them an excellent case to present to their buying committee.
Show how committed you are to addressing their concerns and how willing you are to meet their needs right now.
Activate new deals
It can be hard to remember to step away from the computer and get outside when working remotely. Help your prospects take their mind off work with a fun exercise kit. You can include exercise bands, branded weights, and a subscription to a workout app.
Pair your kit with a fun, handwritten note that reads something like:
“We’d love to get you active with our brand, and we wanted to help you work out why we’d make an incredible team!”
Tomorrow’s Relationships Start Today
These are just a few effective ways to become a trusted resource during such uncertain times.
Whether these tactics result in closing the deal or simply making a great new connection, get creative, stand out from the competition, and develop meaningful human relationships with everyone you reach out to.
The bottom line is this — don’t be the thousandth pitch in your prospect’s inbox.
Don’t just give prospects flowery words about how you’re in this together. Give your prospects something they need right now, and you’ll be setting meetings and closing deals in no time.