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What Three Things Do My Customers Need in a Time of Crisis?

by Deborah Rinner, VP, Chief Learning Officer, Tero International

It is challenging to understand what a customer may need in a time when their business is changing, stalled or not able to be up and running. Our customers' world like the world in general shifts rapidly in times of crisis. Understanding your customer means realizing their needs may shift as well.

How does a sales professional show up for a customer in times like this? Consider these three things.

  1. Show you care. Customers want to know you care about them, not just what you can do for them. Demonstrating you are thinking about them, their personal situation, and their needs creates a consultative relationship that is far more valuable in the long run than any immediate gain for you.
  2. Stay adaptable. The customers' needs and situations will change throughout a crisis. Be nimble enough to do whatever they need, even if they change their mind and shift gears mid-stream. Unpredictability is inherent in times of crisis. Helping others cope by being receptive to their changes and demands instills trust.
  3. Let them have control. One of the toughest aspects of a crisis is we feel out of control. Figuring out how to give some control back to your customer allows them to feel in control of something. Even if it is something small, it will matter. Can you give them control of rescheduled calendar dates, or choices as to how to proceed on a project? Figure out how to let them be in the driver's seat.

The more caring and customer focused you have been in your customer relationships prior to a crisis may determine how well received your efforts to show your care and concern during a crisis will be. But it is never too late to start. Being there for others in great times of need is not forgotten, and matters a whole lot more than the sale.

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