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What Businesses and Salespeople Should Do In The Current Environment

By John Chapin

After 54 years on the planet, and almost 33 in business, I know two things: one, this will be over at some point, and two, a few organizations will come out of this with a stronger, healthier business while the others come out of it anywhere from “okay” to “out-of-business.” If you want to be in the first category, here’s what to do.

Note: The “stronger and healthier” mentioned above doesn’t refer to companies that will automatically grow from the current crisis.

How to Excel in the Current Environment

Everything goes in cycles. The stock market, the economy, real estate… you name it. We are coming off of ten years of unprecedented growth. In the U.S., we have a disruption in the economy every seven to ten years. The past 19 years have given us 9/11, the 2008 recession, and now a virus. When the economy is strong, the stock market surging, and everything is coming up roses, the majority of companies and people act as if the good times will last forever. When things turn, most companies pull back, stop spending money, and hunker down and act as if it’s the end of the world. In war, retreating, or sitting and waiting, are sometimes viable options, they aren’t when it comes to business. In business it leads to stagnation and paralysis. At that point, your first indication that things are back to normal will be your competition whizzing past you while you sit still.

The few companies that expand and grow in bad times act courageously. They take smart risks, they double their efforts versus cutting back, they continue to invest in their business and people, and they continue to push into the market place. The companies that take a big hit, or go out of business altogether, act fearfully. Fearful actions shrink businesses. For example, the average company during an economic disruption cuts sales and marketing activity and spending by 37%. The companies that grow do the opposite. The point? It’s okay to pause and get your bearings, just don’t get stuck in neutral or reverse. Don’t panic and act on emotion. You’ll lose market share. And it’s tough to get going again starting from a stand still. So, stop for a bit if you must, but once you get your footing, go on offense.

Remember why you’re in business and the people you’re trying to help, recommit to your mission. Things are different, you may be working from home, you may figuratively have one or both hands tied behind your back, but with today’s technology, you can still get out there and get to people. Your approach will most likely vary, but your overall objective will always remain the same: Act courageously, take massive action, and be visible and accessible in the marketplace. And ultimately deliver the benefits you promise clients and prospects. Here are the steps to do that.

Step 1: Make clients your #1 priority.

Reach out and let them know you’re there. Focus on showing empathy and let them know you care. First, find out how they and their family are doing then see if they have questions or need anything. They may not have time to talk right now, though most will, what’s important is for them to know that you care and you’re there should they need you.

Also, when you do talk to clients, stay positive. You don’t have to be Pollyanna, but err on the side of being positive. You may have to let them vent a bit. One of your most important skills right now is to listen.

Step 2: Reach out to current prospects.

As with clients, lead with empathy and concern. Ask how they are doing, then get an indication as to how they’d like to proceed.

Step 3: Reach out to others you know you can help.

If the current situation puts you in a unique position to help someone, contact them, but again, lead with empathy and concern. Address the trying times, then build rapport and ask questions and listen, versus launching into a sales pitch.

Step 4: Reach out to past clients you’d like to get back.

Your objective is to be a resource should they have any questions, not to sell something, at least not right now. Reestablish that connection and let them know you care.

Step 5: Look for future, or even current, opportunities.

Companies in the food and beverage and medical industries are growing and seeing an increased demand for products. Other companies have problems they’ve never seen before. Who is a good prospect?

All your communications should be about intent right now. Just as you should be doing at all times, do not focus on the money or the sales. Let clients and prospects know you’re thinking about them, you’re there for them, and you care. Be the certainty and courage they need right now.

Step 6: Prepare.

  • Build your prospect list and do research on them now.
  • Create a vision and a plan for your business going forward.
  • Work on professional and personal development. Build your sales skills. Prepare for new objections and work on ones that have been tripping you up for years. Improve time management, organization, and mental toughness. Work on business and personal goals. Take some classes.
  • Work on your USP and overall messaging. Most companies have a weak answer for ‘why you?’ Also, where can you add more value to clients? 
  • Improve your sales process. 
  • Improve your Sales Playbook, Script Book and Concept Book. 
  • Work on systems you have in place to make sure they are running as efficiently and effectively as possible.
  • Focus on your actions. What are you doing every day to grow the business? 
  • Do things you haven’t had time for in the past, but do now. 
  • Make any migrations, changes, upgrades, or conversions to computer systems, phone systems, CRMs, and the like. 
  • Break some bad habits and create some new, good ones. 

Other ideas to keep in mind:

  • Get back to the basics: Hard work, activity, and perseverance are key character traits to embrace at this point.
  • Keep a good attitude in general. Watch what you consume mentally and physically because that will have the biggest impact on attitude. Practice healthy habits. Absorb positive, inspirational material, and surround yourself with positive people. 
  • Don’t make assumptions. Don’t assume people don’t want to talk to you or don’t have time. 
  • You can use Zoom and Skype, in addition to regular phone calls, but make sure it’s your client’s preference. Most executives prefer a phone call. 
  • Your competition is facing the same problems you are. 
  • Look for ways to help your community, friends, and family in any way you can. 

Use this time wisely. Make some changes, get educated, ramp up and get prepared. Be out there and visible. If you have solid goals, strong enough reasons why you need to achieve them, and show up every day and do what needs to be done, you’ll get to where you want to go, regardless of anything that gets thrown at you.

Finally, I challenge you to come out of this better than you went in. In better health, with better relationships, and with a better business. Your attitude and actions are 100% under your control.



John Chapin is a motivational sales speaker and trainer. For his free 5-steps to Sales Success Report and monthly article, or to have him speak at your next event, go to:  John has over 32 years of sales experience as a number one sales rep and is the author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia (Axiom Book Awards). You can reprint provided you keep contact information in place. E-mail:



John Chapin
#1 Sales Rep w 32+ years’ experience, Author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia (Axiom Book Awards) – also the largest sales book on the planet (678 pages).




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