How to improve your prospecting during covid

Covid-19 has changed the world of B2B sales.

Even if you started the year with a packed pipeline, few businesses have escaped the economic turmoil.

According to McKinsey & Co, about 50% of B2B buyers are holding off on purchases because of the pandemic. Lowering quotas, slashing forecasts, and cutting marketing budgets are a must for many companies.

While the pandemic certainly does create a series of new challenges for B2B sales teams, those companies that are able to take advantage of the opportunities available right now, will be the most likely to survive, and even thrive, during and after this crisis.

As a client-facing job, sales reps are more likely to take the brunt of this anxiety, and have frustrations taken out on them. However, with the right type of mindset and prospecting practices, reps can avoid much of this frustration.

Here are some ideas that can help you with your prospecting during these pandemic times.

Stay Visible

Now is not the time to fall off the map. Instead, use this as a chance to reach out and check on prospective clients. Let them know you are here to help them, and that they can use your expertise to assist them during this difficult time. Listen to their issues and build a good rapport with them.

Avoiding the hard sell, while remaining visible, is a solid prospecting strategy during COVID-19.

Mounting uncertainty, dwindling budgets, and industry-wide slowdowns have put most decision-makers in a defensive and reactive state of mind.

Apart from the bare-bone essentials, many buyers are not in a buying mood. Many are even vetoing sales meetings due to COVID-19.

However, many are accepting “meetings” and realize they must be proactive, so they are not forgotten.

Show Empathy

Empathy has to do with understanding and sharing the experiences, feelings, and emotions of another person.

Here are some ideas for showing empathy to your prospects and clients.

  1. Listen carefully. Be a good a listener and try to repeat what your client says to assure them that you are listening, and that you understand their concerns…
  2. Smile – even though they may not see you, many times you can feel when someone is smiling.
  3. Make their problem, your problem. …
  4. Allow them to ‘get it all out’ …
  5. Be respectful. …
  6. See it through their eyes. …
  7. Understand their priorities. …
  8. Show that you care.

This will help you develop empathy, and glean granular insights, that enrich every aspect of your outreach during COVID-19.

Think About Your Prospect’s Customer. 

If you are having trouble doing this, simply ask your prospects and clients about their customers, and what they are going through.

Your prospect’s customer can hold the key to your success. If your prospect’s customer is doing okay financially, then your prospect is likely more inclined to buy from you. If they’re not, your prospect’s buying behavior will change, too. These changes can range from not buying at all to slowing down the sales cycle a few weeks.

Once you know how the people your prospects are selling to have been affected, you’ll better understand their buying urgency (or lack thereof) when going into sales calls.

For example, if you’re selling your software to a company that sells to stadiums, you will know immediately that they’re less likely to purchase right now. This is something you likely had to think about less before, but today, it is vital to practice awareness.

Because the situation is different for everyone, you might get new and varied responses that you did not anticipate. During this time, those critical listening skills and empathy will go far in reaching out to prospects. Now may not be the time for a hard sell.

Reach Out To Prospects Even More Than Before

It is difficult to reach prospects. It can take from 2 to 20 attempts to connect with a single buyer, and less than 24% of sales emails are opened. This will only get more difficult during COVID-19.

It is a numbers game, so an active effort will need to continue on the prospecting front.

The number of phone calls you can make in a day is critical. However, you will likely run into one of two responses:

  1. customers too overwhelmed to carry on a conversation, or
  2. customers that have nowhere to go, are bored and would like to chat.

As a result, you will likely spend more time than ever on the phone talking with the latter group.

Expect that phone calls might take longer than in the past. A listening ear during trying times can help establish a relationship though, so be patient.

You can increase your contact rate by;

  • Making more calls,
  • Leave only one message,
  • Call back in a few days, if message is not answered,
  • Find out if they have another number, especially during this pandemic, when many are working from home,
  • Ask if there is someone else in the company that can answer your queries,
  • Above all else, make executive assistants your friend, and you will get all of the information you need.

Present Value Instead Of Pulling Back On Price

When you’re facing fearful buyers with frozen budgets, dropping prices or dishing out steep discounts is tempting.

But please, don’t jump to price cuts unless they’re absolutely necessary.

“If you drop your price by 50%, you’re not selling me on the value of your product. You’re selling me on the value of a price.”

You must understand the value your products and services bring to your clients. If you are unsure, ask internally, and especially ask your current client’s what value they have received from using your products and services.

Remember Your Current Clients

Reaching out to new clients is critical, and understandably will take up most of your time.

However, remembering your current clients and keeping their business will help you during this crisis. One of the best things you can do is stay in contact during this time and let them know that you appreciate their business. It can help breed loyalty, especially when many companies may be looking at what to cut from their budgets.

Write your current clients a thank you card, call to check in on them, or send an email. Consider sending them a small gift of appreciation. Better still, do all of these things, and more. These small actions will help you maintain a strong relationship with your clients.

Remember these are difficult times for everyone. And as of this writing, it looks like we are heading into a second wave of the virus, so people will possibly be more anxious than before.

Use these tips as a way to navigate through this pandemic.

And if you’re having trouble, then let us help.

Our clients, and other companies we speak with, tell us that they have a pretty good sales staff, but they’re mainly managing existing accounts, busy with proposals and presentations, so they don’t have much time for prospecting. This is especially true during this pandemic.

That’s what we do. We’re experts in helping our clients with their prospecting.

So why not let us do your prospecting for you. Then your sales people can spend more time selling to new accounts while maintaining their current customers.

And instead of cold calling, we can set up warm calls for them to follow up on.

That is what we do best. Lead generation and appointment setting for your sales people with your prospects.

We guarantee that every lead and appointment will be qualified to your specifications.

We’ve been doing it for 20 years. So, we’re pretty good at it.

Let us help you get a jump start for your post lockdown business.

Contact us today and we will get back to you ASAP, to discuss your needs and how we might help you.

There is no charge for this, and most companies learn a lot, just by talking to us.

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