Staying Productive in Challenging Times



I hope you are safe and healthy and that this pandemic will pass quickly and as few people as possible will be directly affected. I am sure, that like me, that is everyone’s hope and main priority right now and for the foreseeable future. That said, it has already caused a huge disruption that is being felt in every business. Trying to sell in this type of environment can be very tricky. On the one hand you don’t want to seem frivolous and on the other hand you don’t want to panic. As salespeople, it is always important to put yourselves in your client’s place and think how this is affecting her or him. I was a sales director in the San Francisco/Bay Area when the Loma Prieta earthquake rocked the region. I was very fortunate that my family and I were spared from any injuries or major damage. The same could not be said for many of my clients. For several days, communication was very difficult at best. After making sure my own family was secure, I started trying to reach my clients and make sure they were OK and then tried to see if there was anything my company and I could do to help. I realize a pandemic is very different than an earthquake but reaching out and letting your clients know you are thinking of them and that you are there to help when the time is right is important. Here’s a list of things you can do to stay productive:

  • Use technology to stay in touch and work on projects. Use email, texts, and even voicemail to stay in contact with clients and suppliers. Leverage video and messaging technology.

  • Feed your brain. Since you may not have commute or travel time, dedicate some of that time to expanding your knowledge base, improving your sales skills, and studying the products and services you represent.

  • Update your LinkedIn page.

  • Research possible new clients and build a new list of target accounts. Review your business plan so you are ready once things return to normal.

  • Manage your energy. Get some sleep and also exercise…keeping fit is always important but has been proven to prevent or mitigate the effects of many illnesses.

  • Keep a routine in place. This will help keep you focused.


Lastly, remember you aren’t alone. Stay in touch with your managers and let them know what you’re doing. You will get through this better together.

Jim Heilborn is a business consultant specializing in the office furniture/products industry, working nationwide with dealers, manufacturers, and service providers. Jim has been associated with INDEAL for eight years, specializing in training and dealer development.He can be reached directly at jheilborn@indeal.org or by phone at 916.434.8711.

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