[Podcast produced by David Myron.]

Welcome to our first installment of Just One Question, where we ask LBM executives one question about pressing industry issues. Helping us kick off this new initiative is one of this year’s ProSales magazine 4 Under 40 class members, Cason Shrode, president of Cassity Jones Building Materials. On a conference call with LBM senior executives, Shrode shared some of Cassity Jones' coronavirus best practices.

Because of the coronavirus, salespeople aren't traveling much to conduct face-to-face interactions with clients and prospects. This means they likely have more time on their hands, which creates an opportunity to bone up on their product knowledge. That's why one of the first best practices he recommends is reaching out to vendors for remote product knowledge (PK) sessions on new products and “refreshes” on existing products that account reps are already selling.

During challenging times, helping customers solve some of their coronavirus challenges, will undoubtedly make your company more valuable to them. Because of this, account reps at Cassity Jones are reaching out to customers, taking on more of a “solutions provider” role to see how they can add more value to the relationship, Shrode said.

“We reached out to a lot of our customers and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a big corporate team, we’ve got general council, we’ve got some really smart finance people, let us help you get your [Paycheck Protection Program] filled out. And we have people who have read up on the economy and what the models are saying…call us and ask us questions about what we think about the coronavirus and what’s going to happen to the economy. So we’re really trying to just keep engaged with our customers and just be a resource and kind of a solutions provider—almost like an extension of our customer, like we work for them.”

During the pandemic, customers aren't the only people who could benefit from some much needed information. If left in the dark about people, process, and technology changes at the company, anxiety could get the best of employees and lower their morale. This might encourage them to seek out information on their own from different sources, which could have the undesired effect of spreading partial truths or incorrect information. To prevent these scenarios from happening, Shrode said the company has stepped up its communication efforts with a Friday morning conference call dubbed “COVID-19 Update,” which is available to all employees.