5 skills sales reps need to adapt to during the pandemic Jack Hodges Apr 09, 2021 ∙ 6 min read Sales With the world changing rapidly, businesses have been trying to find the right footing and adapt to how things work during this pandemic. By now we are all used to expect the unexpected, but this uncertainty is not the best situation for sales reps! Every time a rep picks up the phone, they don't know what to expect at the other end of the line. To tackle this, reps need a mix of skills to be able to relate with customers and be of help to their business. You now need to look at things from your customer or prospect's point of view to adapt to their changing needs. Here are the top sales skills reps need right now in order to handle prospects the right way and make more sales. Showing empathy Being empathetic in this time of crisis is a much-needed sales skill that can help your reps understand prospects and customers better. Trying to see things from the perspective of your customer helps you be more sensitive towards their requirements and problems. Whether it is empathy for personal issues or professional woes, use a personalised outreach strategy and be flexible to cater to their needs. Opening up and sharing your experiences with the prospect or client can also help them let their guard down and feel more comfortable sharing their business pain points with you. Start by asking open-ended questions that will help them open up. Instead of just talking about business, you can also ask them about their work from home situation, how they are adapting to the new normal, and more. Understanding data Data drives every process for a business and is a crucial aspect of analysing your business and optimising it for success. Understanding what data means and how it relates to your prospects and customers is imperative for making sales. While you don't need to be an expert data manipulator, having some insight will allow you to grasp territory and industry trends, as well as ensure better overall team focus. By analysing the data collected on prospects and customers, you can create targeted campaigns to focus on businesses or clients who need your help, and in turn increase conversions. Thorough customer research Customer or prospect research has always been an imperative step for any sales or marketing rep but is even more essential during this time. Take the time to know more about your prospects and understand their business, industry, pain points, challenges, and more. Build knowledge and get familiar with not just their overall business operations, but also the small aspects of their company. Learn more about their employees, how they are coping with the team working from home, how is their company growth, how has the pandemic affected their bottom line, and other such insights. Being observant during interactions is also a great way to gain more insight into the experiences of your prospect or client. They may be facing particular hardships that data doesn't capture. Virtual presence Virtual presence is not just about being available online and staying logged into work from home. It is also about how you are interacting with people and presenting yourself on calls and video meetings. Just setting up a home office and having a computer that meets the basic requirements is not enough. Working from home may be the new normal and the best way to adapt is to ensure you've got everything working and handled around you, just like at the office. Make sure your video and audio are always clear so you don't keep getting cut when on calls or look blurry on video. Invest in a great internet connection so you can be available when needed and don't need to cut a sorry figure. You can also keep a good source of light around you so you are seen clearly. Even though you are working from home, professional attire is a must when getting on video meetings. Building loyal relationships Before the pandemic, there was a lot of opportunity for in-person interactions with your customers and prospects. You could meet at the office, go out for lunch, invite them to sales and sporting events. These were a necessary part of building a rapport and understanding your client. Now, with no in-person interaction possible, building strong relationships with your customers needs to be done virtually. This is a critical sales skill that reps need to adapt to and find ways that work best for them under these changing circumstances. Apart from constant communication and personalised experiences, you can also try hosting webinars, live stream free classes, provide industry resources, and more. These are ways to keep customers engaged while also adding value to their business. A lot has changed since the coronavirus outbreak over a year back but the uncertainty of business is what challenges your reps to continually adapt to the new normal. Employing the above sales skills can help your reps make better customer relationships, convert more leads, help businesses, and get loyal customers for your brand.