Tough times never last, but tough people do.
Robert H. Schuller
The beginning of 2020 has turned out to be very challenging.
COVID-19 hit China hard in January, putting entire cities and provinces on lockdown, and affected one of the world’s most powerful economies.
Soon, the new, vicious virus has spread all around the world like wildfire, evolved into a full-fledged pandemic, and now all of us are facing some difficult decisions.
Of course, containing the virus and saving lives is of utmost importance. However, staying afloat and overcoming this rough patch is also significant.
Reducing unnecessary social interaction, one of the most effective measures for preventing the spread of coronavirus, has closed many institutions, canceled almost all events, and put a number of business deals on hold.
Thankfully, we live in an age of Cloud technology and remote work! This means that it’s possible to reduce the threat of COVID-19 to a minimum, while still running your business, generating leads, reaching out to your prospects, and yes, closing deals.
Here are some practical tips to help you adjust to this situation, overcome the challenges of working remotely, and manage to sell.
1. Set Up Your Home Office
Yes, many people think that working from home means lounging on your sofa in your PJs and taking breaks to watch the latest Netflix show.
While this is an option, it’s a very bad one. Soon your productivity and focus will suffer, not to mention that your back will start aching.
What you need is a dedicated space in your home where you can recreate the office experience and ensure that you’re at your best.
If you don’t have much space or a desk, it’s OK to start with your living room or use your dining table.
In case that it’s impossible to build a walled-off office, think about using a divider, rug, or a piece of furniture to section off a part of your living room or bedroom and transforming it into a makeshift office.
2. Have the Right Gear
Given that your family, partner, or roommate will also work remotely during the outbreak, it’s crucial to establish a coronavirus-ready office with all the necessary tech gear and tools to keep things running smoothly.
What you need for starters is a fast internet connection, a fast and secure laptop, and an ergonomic chair that you’ll put in your home office where you won’t be distracted.
It’s also a good idea to think about investing in an adjustable standing desk to maintain a good posture and prevent issues with your back and neck.
A noise-canceling headset can make sure that you’re not disturbed by the members of your family or roommates. However, do let them know that you’re working and ask them to keep the communication with you on a need-to-know basis.
Don’t forget that although you are the only one who uses your laptop, keyboard, mouse, and other gear, these still need to be cleaned on a regular basis – use disinfectants and don’t touch anything before you washed your hands properly.
Having an additional screen can be a great idea, especially if you work on a laptop.
Since you’ll maybe have to use a printer or another piece of office equipment, a USB hub with several ports can come in pretty handy.
3. Maintain Your Regular Routine
I can’t stress the importance of this enough.
We’ve recently changed offices and had to spend some time working from home.
It’s really tempting to be laid back, sleep in, or not change from your pajamas all day, because, hey, who’s going to see you. But the trick is to behave as if you’re on your regular, 9-to-5 job.
So, wake up at the same time, shower, and put on your work clothes.
In a nutshell, make yourself presentable, because meetings, albeit online, will be held.
That will definitely help you get into the office mindset. The only difference between this situation and your ordinary office day is the fact that you don’t have to commute. Take this opportunity to show up well-prepared – although you work from your flat, it’s not an excuse to not deliver your Monday morning report.
So, no working from your bed as it will make you sleepy and unfocused.
4. Set Home-Work Boundaries
Remote work comes with a lot of benefits, but there’s a danger that it will blur the line between your personal and professional life. You risk either becoming too relaxed or slip into excessive overtime.
Don’t procrastinate because there’s no one to monitor you, and complete all your tasks as if you were in your office.
Establish a rule that you’ll work only during your regular hours. After that, you shouldn’t take business calls or check work email.
This requires discipline as it’s so easy to fall into the trap of deciding to wash the dishes, do your laundry, or have a call with your friend during the office hours.
5. Stay in Touch With Your Coworkers
A feeling of isolation is very common in those who work remotely.
The lack of social contacts during the virus outbreak can only aggravate things and make you feel even worse.
But, Slack, Skype, and Zoom allow you to exchange real-time messages with your colleagues as well as have some much-needed face-to-face interaction, albeit virtual.
Not only will these tools make it possible to share workspaces or screen and empower your business communication, but they will also help you feel less isolated and disconnected.
It’s worth mentioning that written communication lacks prosodic features, that is, the tone of voice, and together with body language and facial expressions, these features play an essential role when it comes to staying on the same page.
So, in order to convey your thoughts and ideas accurately, make sure to be generous when it comes to using emojis, as they have the power to humanize your communication and prevent misunderstandings.
Also, this is the time when it’s critical to have the right feedback from your managers so that you can perform your tasks properly – don’t hesitate to ask for some clarification or input about your performance.
6. Grab Your Opportunities
It’s true that the global market will suffer and that the money will become somewhat of an issue, but in order to survive the crisis, companies will still have to do business.
And that means they will need your services – maybe not to such an extent as until now, but you have to stay at the top of your game in order to close as many deals as possible.
Salespeople (and other business professionals) have recently suffered a huge blow after different trade shows, conferences, and events have been canceled in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Does this mean you’ll be left with no leads in your funnel?
The outbound approach is the way to go.
It allows you to do prospecting from the safety of your home, nurture your potential clients, and eventually close them.
Now that everything happens in the Cloud, it’s much easier to keep the wheels turning.
For example, Autoklose is an outbound sales automation platform, and it also features a huge database of B2B leads.
This practically means that you can switch all your offline lead generation and prospecting efforts to our platform, automate them and keep your funnel full.
7. What If a Prospect Wants to Put You on Hold During the Corona Outbreak?
And this will happen more often than you’d like it to.
But you can make things work for you.
The fact that the world is mostly on lockdown doesn’t mean that it will stop turning.
If you manage to change your hesitant prospect perspective and present this crisis as an opportunity, the odds are that they will give your deal another thought and maybe even decide to go for it.
Here’s a template that you can use in such a situation:
RE: Joe — Work and Sell From Home
Joe, I understand your concerns. We’re in this together.
Think about this crisis not as of a threat but as of an opportunity for progress.
Lay the foundation and improve your business processes now, and once this is over, you’ll be ready to accelerate your efforts and thrive.
This slowdown is the right moment for speeding things up and gaining a competitive advantage.
Happy to elaborate. Here’s my Calendar.
With the gig economy on the rise, an increasing number of people already work from home, so we’ve had a lot of opportunities to get used to the idea of a remote office and learn how to make the most of it. With the right setup, mindset, and tools, you don’t have to experience a massive slump. As a matter of fact, these challenges can even be good motivators to try harder and land new business opportunities. Stay safe and klose on!