Sales Empowerment Group Blog

Outbound Sales: Prospecting During a Pandemic

Cold calling is never easy….


Cold calling during a Pandemic? That makes the pre-COVID19 cold calls seem like a cake-walk. 

Business Development Representatives (BDRs) in 2020 continue to adjust, setting meetings while remaining sensitive to potential health, family, and economic concerns of the people they're calling. BDRs are making these calls from home vs. having the in-person support of their co-workers. And they're having to maintain a positive attitude on the phone, despite all of these obstacles and uncertainties.


In short: BDRs are doing a tremendous job for their organizations and have been vital in keeping businesses open.


To help BDRs and Managers of BDR teams navigate this difficult time, we spoke with John Stob, our Area Sales Manager, who has continued to set quality meetings in a respectful and empathetic way. Here are a few tips of what’s been working for him:


Don't Overcorrect, Thinking No One Wants to Receive a Call Right Now

"The temptation, especially early on, was to think no one's going to want to talk, so why bother? What I found is I really didn't change much in terms of my cadence, in terms of reaching out to people. The important thing was to be sensitive to where prospects are at. I talked to some people who were hunkered down, and they weren't going to do anything. On the other hand, there were people saying this has been a boon for us, whether in the packaging space or certain manufacturing companies. Some industries did very well despite the pandemic. It was, and still is, important not to make too many assumptions of how COVID has impacted their business."


Establish Some Structure When Working from Home

"I think it's important to have a place to go to - and that's where you work. Whether it's the kitchen table, desk in the den, or whatever. This needs to be the physical space you designate, this is the place you work. Make really clear designations, 'Now I'm working. Now I'm not.' It is a challenge. But it's important to draw lines - 5 o'clock, 6 o'clock, whatever it is, shut the computer down and get away from your workstation. Go be with your family, do whatever you were going to do that evening. It's important to set limits and boundaries of when you're finished for the day."


The Human Element

"You don't know what your prospect is going through. Some people are in painful situations. There's one company, this guy is going to lose his business, and he's really bummed out about it. There's no way he can recover it at this point. But I can still be with him regardless of where he’s at due to COVID. Keep calling. Keep talking to people. Sympathize with them. Empathize with them. Acknowledge their pain. They may be really scared, anxious. Be ready to be with all of that - meeting people wherever they're at. Biggest challenge is to keep picking up the phone. Don’t stop. It pays off."


Tags: Sales Tips, BDR