Find out what you missed from No More Cold Calling this month.

Working remotely might be great for some, depending on their personality and the number of people quarantining in their homes. But it’s stressful for others and downright overwhelming for many. How can parents even focus with little kids running around? How do couples share workspaces? How are extroverts expected to keep their heads up when they’re isolated from friends and colleagues?

Leaders understand they must do way more than usual to keep their employees engaged. Without engaged, dedicated, and loyal employees, clients will disengage and leave. Empathy and trust are what count most right now. Your clients want people to help them through these tough times. If they find your team distant and uncaring, they’re out the door.

Daily communication with your sales team is a must during quarantine. Be sure to focus on the person first and business second. Ask how your employee is doing, and probe for an honest answer. “Fine” is not acceptable. Share your own struggles and let them know they’re not alone. Share tips to ease their angst. Connect them with others in the company. It doesn’t have to be a formal mentoring program. Maybe it’s just a “pandemic buddy system” pairing up co-workers who both need a lifeline during these lonely and stressful times.

Find out what your team needs and do your best to help. The same goes for your prospects and clients. You’ll find lots about customer experience (CX) and tips for your pivot in my blog posts this month:

Why Customer Experience Should Be Top of Mind for Sales Leaders

“How much did you say that cost?” I asked the barista. I knew I heard him correctly, but I still couldn’t believe it was $5.50 for a cup of coffee—not a mocha, not a latte, not a cappuccino, just coffee. He told me that with a straight face—no smile, no welcome. In fact, he was rather rude. I just wanted a damn cup of black coffee. I walked.

This lackluster customer experience was in stark contrast to my recent experience flying with Delta. It was my first Delta flight in recent years. Usually, major airlines treat you like a number—unless you’ve flown zillions of miles with them—but this time, they made me feel like a real person. I was racing to catch a connecting flight and arrived breathless at the gate. When I handed over my boarding pass, the woman said, “Welcome to Delta.” That’s just a little thing, but it made all the difference to me. Most travelers are rushed and harried. They’re running to gates and talking on their phones. This gate attendant knew the state of mind of her passengers and created a different experience. Most major airlines and other consumer businesses don’t recognize the power of a smile and a welcome.

How do we welcome our clients and ensure they have a stellar experience? It’s called relationship selling. (Read “Why Customer Experience Should Be Top of Mind for Sales Leaders.”)

This Is What Your Referral Program Is Missing [Infographic]

Steve had a referral program. (Or so he thought.) He proudly told me that 30 percent of his company’s business came from referrals. “How did that happen?” I asked. He explained that whenever clients moved to a new company, they always brought his team in. “Terrific,” I said. “What about your account executives? Do they know how to get referrals? Are they asking?”

There was a long pause and then a blinding flash of the obvious. He said in an excited voice: “We need to train them how to do that!” He got it right there and then. He realized that referrals were hit-and-miss in his organization, because they were dependent on inbound calls. His so-called referral program couldn’t be measured and didn’t hold sales reps accountable for results. What he needed was a dedicated and proactive outbound strategy. This infographic illustrates what a referral program looks like and the steps to drive new revenue through outbound referrals. (Read “This Is What Your Referral Program Is Missing.”)

Technology Can Wait … What About You?

The pendulum has swung too far in the direction of superficial online communications at a time people are hungry for true personal connection.” That’s my favorite quote from David Meerman Scott’s insightful article, “The 2020s: From the Lonely Chaos of Digital to an Era of Humanity.”

You’ve heard the same message from me throughout this century: Salespeople have become overly reliant on technology to do their jobs. This was even the premise of my second book, Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal. I wrote that book because I was horrified when reps started telling me they didn’t need to talk to prospects and clients anymore. Since then, the problem has only gotten worse. Conversations have become less frequent, email spam has skyrocketed, and social media is the new breeding ground for sales pitches. That’s not how social selling works. Answer this: Have you ever closed a deal via email without talking to a human being? Maybe, if you sell widgets. For the rest of us, people buy from people, not technology. (Read “Technology Can Wait … What About You?” )

Bust the Myth You Can’t Read Prospects’ Minds

It’s not always about revenue growth. Wow, did I really say that? It surprises me, too, but different times call for different approaches. I was struggling with a new way to position referral selling during a recession. I knew companies needed to trim costs across the board. Laying employees off was just a first step. But I wasn’t sure what this meant for their businesses … or for mine. Then I read Todd Caponi’s post on SalesHacker: “3 Not-So-Obvious Shifts You MUST Make to Sell in Uncertain Times.”

Todd suggests we can actually read our customers’ minds. You’ve heard me say our clients aren’t mind-readers. You must ask them for referrals. Was I wrong? Yes and no. You definitely need to ask for referrals to receive them at scale. But yes, I was wrong for having pandemic brain. Yes, I was wrong for having economic uncertainty brain. And yes, I was wrong for thinking that revenue growth was all that mattered. (Read “Bust the Myth You Can’t Read Prospects’ Minds.”)

Need help thinking through your follow up? Email or grab 30 minutes on my calendar.