After the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, everyone began discussing a new normal. This “new normal” idea irritated me, and my initial response was, “how can we say that there will be a new normal when we do not even know how widespread this virus is going to be or how dangerous it is.” Here we are, months later, and just as predicted, we are all in a new normal. So, the question is, what effect is it having on the behavior of your prospects, colleagues, and you – whether you are the salesperson, manager, or owner of the business? What are the seismic changes that have taken place, personally and professionally? What can we do to deal with transitions that have already happened?
I recently read the book by Bruce Feiler, Life Is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age. It discusses how individuals have life events that cause transitions – personally and professionally. The book points out that some of these events are caused by the things we choose to do – such as getting married, starting a business, moving to another country. And then there are the events that we did not choose – getting divorced (when it was not your decision), the death of a loved one, getting fired, or the failure of your business.
These life transitions create stress and adversity, and individuals who go through certain situations may react poorly to these changes, especially if it is somewhat unexpected. Life Is in the Transitions acknowledges that these events are happening more frequently, as often as once every eighteen months in most people’s lives. Certain circumstances are defined as “lifequakes,” or a forceful burst of change, a period of upheaval, transition, and renewal. Specific experiences are even more outstanding in scope than a regular occurrence and subsequently more hard-hitting. Most of these are not by our choosing, such as divorce, serious illness, the death of a spouse, child, or close friend. In your work life, being fired or closing a failing business would also fall into this category.
Why does Feiler describe these events as lifequakes? Because the life the individual had before the event no longer resembles the one they live now. Of course, they did not choose this change, so it creates the emotional state that their lives are out of control.
So, with all these thoughts in mind, let us assess the current pandemic – as it relates to you, your colleagues, and your prospective customers.
No doubt, the pandemic is a lifequake for you. Why? First, you did not decide to live in a pandemic. It was forced on you, and your life has drastically changed since COVID came along. Think about it. What are some of the changes in your life since the pandemic? I have my list, perhaps you have one as well, and when you reflect on the adjustments you have had to make, it might cause you to take pause.
Professionally, my work is somewhat restricted. As you are probably aware, the senior living industry has been squarely affected by the pandemic – a definite lifequake. Moreover, I am not the only one experiencing this lifequake. Everyone I know, personally and professionally, are all enduring it at the same time. Think about it. This is the only time in my life that I can make that statement. This is truly a unique time in our history.
When I consider the extent of the situation, I realize that I need greater understanding and empathy because my family, friends, colleagues, and potential customers are all experiencing extraordinary stress. I realize that I need to take time to listen to their stories about making it through another day – whether about getting a job done or purchasing a product or service in the middle of this mess.
Professionally speaking, now more than ever, my series of sales processes that were successful over the years are much more critical. So, I continue applying the same methods that worked pre-pandemic. I stay focused on selling the prospects I have in front of me, versus worrying about those not showing up.
I realize that I may have to temper my expectations for a while (although anyone who knows me knows that this may be a difficult proposition). So, my focus today is on conversion rates. I may have no control over the demand for the time being, but I can concentrate on my performance. I need to be patient. As I have experienced other personal challenges as well as endured turbulent business cycles in my career, I have developed resilience. However, now more than ever, we all need a hefty dose of patience until we get on the other side of this situation – the next normal.
We need to realize that everything might be more difficult for a while longer as we endure this transition, but eventually, this will pass. If you think about it, if we focus on performing during this pandemic, we can handle just about any conventional business upheaval in the future.