I originally published this on LinkedIn a couple of days ago and fresh off the phones this afternoon, I stand by every word. This is what it is like right now.

Cutting to the chase. Health and well-being trump everything right now.

We’re all in this together. COVID-19 is moving at a pace which has caught many (me included) off guard.

The story is personal for everyone. My own version: my friend lost his father to it a couple of days ago, I’m terrified for my own Dad who had surgery after a heart attack less than a month ago (and is nothing like as strong right now as he would like to have me believe). My wife is 7 months pregnant.

As we all get to grips with the new normal (and no doubt it will continue to change), one thing that is coming through is that we all want there to be something still waiting for us on the other side.

One of my recent employers, Andrew, placed great emphasis on momentum. And right now that is true more than ever.

For those of us in B2B commercial roles, how does all of this play out?

  1. Pick up the phone. There’s the momentum to keep the wheels of business turning.
  2. Listen. Two ears, one mouth. Never has this been more relevant. The pressure sale is never a winner but right now is definitely not the time to be putting any sort of squeeze on.
  3. Be respectful. This goes nearly without saying. Businesses are in a state of flux, remote working is just bedding in. Be incredibly mindful of the pressure we’re all feeling.
  4. Set up the next step. If the person you are speaking to wants to push this out a month. Do that. Three months, put the note in the CRM. We all don’t know how long this is going to play out. Listen to what’s being said, take note and follow up as asked.
  5. Thank your contact. They have a lot on their plate. They gave you some time.

If you’re thinking, oh I could contact that person sooner than we just agreed… then put that potential manoeuvre up against this test:

Is the intention of that communication 100% to help that person, their business and 0% you trying to inject your way back into a commercial conversation ahead of time?

Then do it, send it.

If it fails that test. Just don’t.

What we do now will affect our futures and how we act will be remembered. The whole ABC, coffee is for closers – all of that – chuck it out the window.

None of the above is new thinking, it should be part of the approach of any decent B2B commercial leader, but now it’s more important than ever.

As my good friend Yiuwin would say, don’t be a dick.

Here’s to staying safe, staying well and doing what we can to stay in business.

Stu