There are two schools of thought regarding sales and marketing right now and if you are a business owner, entrepreneur or sales professional, it’s mission critical that you understand where you and your offers fit into the pandemic puzzle.

First, let’s distinguish between sales and marketing.

Marketing is everything you do to generate conversations. Once you are in a conversation with a prospect, you are now engaged in sales. 

Now that we’ve sorted that out, let’s look at should you sell or should you go now (anyone else hearing The Clash song in their head?).

If, for example, you sell only to restaurants, bars, sporting venues… you either need to go away for a while or reimagine how your offers can be valuable to other channels of business. 

If you sell online courses, business consulting services, software that facilitates virtual communication… you need to double down on your marketing and make sure people who need you now more than ever know how you can help them SPECIFICALLY deal with the current situation.

Here are a few examples:

Southwest Airlines appeared in my FB feed with the same ad I would have seen 2 weeks ago. It said, “Where can we take you?” and advertised their no change fees offer. Um… where can you take me when we’ve all been advised to stay home and we’re seeing photos of people waiting in line for hours at airports and our borders are closed? That’s an inappropriate offer and, though we all know Southwest as an airline with personality, it is damaging their brand posting ads like this right now.

If I saw an ad that said, “Okay, we know booking a vacation is the last thing on your mind, but if you want something to look forward to, book a vacation for the fall and if travel is not an option later, you won’t have any change fees.” I may or may not book a vacation, but I won’t dismiss them as being inappropriate and I’ll continue to do business with them. 

I got an email, likely automated, from someone saying “Have you given and additional thought to my proposal for website & mobile app development?” This was a generic message, asking me to consider a proposal I never requested in the first place and zero regard to what is on everyone’s mind.

Not only did I delete the email, I blocked the sender. Not because their service was bad, but because if they can’t demonstrate empathy NOW, then I’m not interested in doing business with them EVER.

One of my friends offers an online course for people committed to healthy eating. She was in the “hunker down and wait this out” camp until we talked. If she marketed her course the same way she did 2 weeks ago, then yeah, stay quiet. But, one of the best defenses we have individually right now is to stay healthy. If she can teach me something online that will help me and my family stay healthy, sign me up. After all, I’m not commuting to an office so I’ve got some time to invest in online training. 

Get the point? 

You can make appropriate offers. Even now. People are buying products and services. Even now. 

It’s okay. You can sell. Just do so with empathy and appropriate offers. 

I’ve stopped promoting my keynote speaking because it’s not an appropriate offer. I’ve reimagined my 2-day live training course because it’s an appropriate offer in a new delivery model. I’ve stopped mentioning my services helping companies hire and onboard new salespeople because that is not an appropriate offer.

I have added free virtual conversations because now more than ever people need and want to talk about how to stay Open for Business. I have added extra support to people in my client coaching programs and made them available for people who are not current clients because it is an appropriate offer. I have given my current clients access to an online Sales Mindset Mastery course because it will serve them and I’ve made them all affiliates so they can share the course with people they know and get a few bucks for doing so, because that is an appropriate offer. 

Should you sell or should you go now?

Sell if you have appropriate offers and empathetic marketing messages. 

Go away if you don’t. 

– Merit

Don’t miss the call this Wednesday, March 18th, 9am PT/10am MT/11am CT/12pm ET. Join a group of entrepreneurs, business leaders and sales professionals committed to Selling in Spite of COVID-19

The call will be 58 minutes of pure content and, if you are open to it, a 2-minute appropriate offer deliberately designed to keep you in the right Sales Mindset.

No price gauging. Same offer you would have received two weeks ago, but the content is even more valuable today. Whether or not you take me up on my offer, listen for how to make an appropriate offer in the face of uncertainty.