Un homme complète son tableau de planification

Preparing For When The Economy Bounces Back

As you deploy your team’s crisis-management strategy, you might have started looking further ahead into the future, with an action plan set for the next two or three days, or even the next two to three weeks. We’re right there with you during this difficult time, and we want to draw your attention to something you may have excluded from your strategy, knowingly or not: the return to business as usual.

You may have seen the news in your LinkedIn feed or local paper these past few days: China is slowly but surely resuming economic activity—when just a few weeks ago the country was at a complete standstill.

What this shows us is that every business should already be thinking about the logistics of a return to normal, even if it feels like the distant future right now. When this time comes, it’ll be too late to think up a game plan. Strategy and specific needs will differ vastly by industry, but here are a few suggestions on how to start preparing—a core concept here at EVP.


From international companies to small businesses, many employers have unfortunately had to temporarily lay off part of their workforce due to the crisis. But what happens when operations resume again?

Keeping in touch with your employees is a must. Have they found other work? Will they be prepared to return to work as soon as it’s possible? Can they occasionally work from home if necessary? Will they need to take time off at the end of the crisis, once travel is finally an option again? Is the office properly equipped for their return to work? Will they need training when they come back?

We encourage you to communicate regularly with employees and find out how they’re coping. We’re all going through a difficult period and each person will be facing unique challenges. Let them know you’re there if they need to talk. Maintaining morale during quarantine will be crucial for a smooth return to work.

EVP’s recommendation: Organize a videoconference quiz night and use this occasion to check in on everyone!

The return to work

If we’re lucky and everyone does their part (have you been washing your hands?), we might find ourselves back at the office just as summer begins. What would that mean for your business? Is summer a busy time for you, or do you need to think about diversifying your products and services to make up for the months lost this winter and spring? How should you manage your investments? Will you need to hire? Should your company offer promotions, and if so, how will you go about it?

These are questions to ask ourselves, regardless of when exactly the economy gets back on its feet!

EVP’s recommendation: Make multiple plans for different potential return dates.


It goes without saying that your providers are likely also in crisis management mode, or even shuttered indefinitely. Since you’ve followed our advice and started planning for your return to operations (☺️), you should be asking providers and collaborators about their own post-crisis plans. As soon as you get your business activities started back up, they’ll need to be ready to do the same!

And for now, can they guarantee reasonable deadlines for orders? Will they offer discounts during these quieter times? Which products and services are affected? Do you have a second trusted provider as a backup if your number one falls through?

EVP’s recommendation: Take advantage of this time to research providers: there might be one out there who can better meet your needs.


If you’re active on social media or rely heavily on marketing, your communications strategy during the crisis is likely already in place. If so, great! Now it’s time to think about communications once the crisis-management period starts tapering off.

How will you target communications to your social networks? Which products and services would be best to promote, depending on the time of year when activities resume? In what ways will you need to revise your annual communications strategy? What information will clients want about your business once everything is up and running? Should you revamp your brand identity while things are quiet? What about your employer branding?


In short, PREPARATION is key. These avenues to explore will likely lead to others, which is a good thing. You have time to think about your plan for getting back on track, down to the last detail!

Read also: Questioning and listening to the client: a successful business relation

Photo credit: Alvaro Reyez/Unsplash

Questionner et écouter le client EVP

Questioning and listening to the client: a successful business relation

Even though we ask ourselves questions every minute of every day, it can be difficult when meeting with a client to pinpoint which questions are most relevant and formulate them the right way. A vital part of any sales meeting is knowing how to ask questions and listen to the client for the answers you need, as efficiently as possible.

If I were to tell you that the Simonelli Appia II has three high-pressure groups, that the powerful wand makes quality microfoam, and that I recommend RW tampers, what does that tell you? If you’ve never used an espresso machine, likely not much.

Be prepared to serve as a salesperson-guide. Adapt to your client and focus your explanations on the added value of your products or services. This steers you clear of questions that require the kind of detailed answers that make you the centre of the conversation. Remember: your contact should be doing two or three times as much talking as you. You should also avoid leading questions. Why not buy it today? or You’ve never tried/heard of it? are some examples of ways you can kill a sale.

Instead, try questions like Tell me about your project/your decision-making process. Using open-ended questions with action verbs (e.g. describe, tell me, explain) is the basis for a successful conversation. These kinds of questions tell you more about your client, and let you clearly define their unknown needs.

It’s also crucial that you ask clarification questions in addition to those you’ve prepared beforehand. Get to know your client’s problems and daily life, and be attentive to their answers. This will strengthen the  relationship of trust between you—a key part of any business relationship.

trust-client-relationship EVP

Four qualities that are key to winning your client’s trust

Trust is the basis of a client relationship and the biggest factor in determining whether you’ll make the sale. You must show that developing this trust is important to you from the start, and make it a part of absolutely every exchange with the client. Building trust is also an essential part of making a good impression—a topic covered in our last newsletter.

There are four qualities that are key to winning your client’s trust: know-how, enthusiasm, interest and honesty. They are all interrelated. Picture four pillars supporting a roof: if we take away or damage any one of these pillars, the house collapses. Imagine crossing one of these qualities off the list—notice how something doesn’t seem quite right?

Clients see these four qualities in your actions, not your words. Would a salesperson who says “You can trust me” seem genuinely trustworthy to you? You likely won’t convince your client of your skills by telling them that you’re the best person for the job out of the lot. You need to prove yourself to be a competent salesperson through actions—every single time you communicate with the client. Your attitude and choice of words are extremely important in building the client’s trust in you.

How hard you’re willing to work to strengthen each pillar will determine whether you win the client’s trust. Work on these pillars individually, but aim to create one supporting structure. Be prepared to serve as a salesperson-guide.


How to Clearly Define Client Needs: Preparing for a Meeting

Prepare, prepare, prepare! Preparation is crucial to every step of sales and affects how well you’re able to define your client’s needs.  Be prepared to serve as a salesperson-guide.

There are two categories of client needs that can be identified: known needs and unperceived needs. The first are easy to establish through simple questions and short answers. These are needs the client is already aware of and can often be identified before the meeting.

Here’s an example in a retail context: a customer goes to a store to buy a coffee machine.

  • What kind of machine does the customer need?
  • What does the customer need to be able to use the machine effectively?
  • Where will the customer be using the machine?

You can even adapt these questions for your next meeting to identify the client’s known needs.

The second category refers to needs that the client hasn’t yet thought of. These needs can be established by asking questions that will make them think. Prepared beforehand, these questions are more open-ended and will help build trust because they show your high level of competency. Using the same example as before:

  • Why do you need a new machine?
  • What’s your definition of a good coffee?
  • What are your concerns with respect to maintaining the machine?

You might think it seems obvious that you should ask these questions. However, 80% of salespeople only address known needs! What does this mean for the customer? If all salespeople are selling the same product, price becomes the main decision-making criteria since there’s no differentiation.

However, if you’re able to get the customer thinking about needs they weren’t aware of, you set yourself apart from the crowd. The client will then be more inclined to buy the product from you.

How can you best define client needs in your industry?


Professional sales and customer service: the evp blog

École de la vente professionnelle (EVP) offers personalized training in sales and customer service. For over 25 years, we have been helping companies increase sales, improve the client experience and boost employee motivation and productivity.

We’re very excited to announce a new project that has been in the works for the past few months: our professional sales blog!
In each post, we’ll take an in-depth look at an aspect of sales and customer service, such as non-verbal communication, first impressions, prospecting, etc. All important subjects for your business, these tips can help you increase sales and enhance your customer service.

Every month, you’ll receive a link to the blog article via our newsletter. Subscribe now to stay up on the latest news, EVP promotions, and sales tips from our team. Our first newsletter is coming out soon and will explore how to identify client needs.

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On behalf of the whole team, happy reading!