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I think that it has become clear now that we are at the end of an era. The time before the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the COVID-19 outbreak and afterwards. I don’t want to get into a discussion about what happened, how things could have been different or mitigation about things that never happened. The situation is as it exists today. That is what matters, not what could have been, but what is. It is important to take this pragmatic approach and understanding to the world around us and, more importantly, to the prospects for the economy and businesses going forward.
As people settle into to the new way of working from home, from traveling less and using remote collaboration tools. Becoming accustomed to closed pubs and restaurants together with the restrictions on normal social interaction, they begin to adapt to a new normal way of doing things.
We are in the early days of this transformation, but it is already clear that things will probably never return to the way they were before the outbreak of the virus. The implication to this is that changes must occur in the way we conduct business. Encompassing the way we interact with potential clients and how we begin to attract and build a long-term relationship with those potential clients.
For those who have already embraced change, this new transition is simply a step on the path they have already trodden. For those who resisted change, well, they are now forced to embrace the change they always hoped to avoid. Unfortunately, change was always going to happen, it was inevitable.
Now we understand that change must happen, the next obstacle is to understand how to make the change into the wider arena. Currently people are still panicking about the current situation. Some are following the advice. Others flouting the spirit of the advice and seeing how much they can get away with! Ultimately, making the situation worse for us all. We need to take all this into account when making plans and engineering change.
Keeping in mind all the thoughts above, we need to outline a couple of assumptions. These are important, as they have an outsized impact on what follows, but you can tailor the next section with your updates to these assumptions.
Any of the factors above can vastly change the outcome, so for the purpose of this guidance, we must consider the following as our answers.
The important part now, is to change our thinking to restructure our expectations and understand that this the transition phase between two eras, the old and the not yet begun. To that end, you can shape what the new era looks like, how people behave and how they will interact. As the people who get to define the new era, we, that is you and I, can mould this era into something better for us, for our families and society.
To make this work, you must be the change you want to see in others. Apply your ethics, your morals and your heart into this new era. Make it what you always wanted the world to look like. Encourage your friends, family, co-workers and the rest of society to help make this change a positive one.
What can you do in your business? This, in the short-term, is easy. Follow the steps below to make a real impact:
Solutions to some of the questions above only you can answer, others we can plan for in the general case.
Starting at the end first, video meetings are possible, but I think phone calls are going to be easier for people in the short-term. By all means spend a little time understanding how you can do your presentation over video, but absolutely make sure you can do it over the phone, as person to person contact is particularly important. Not everyone will be comfortable or willing to video call for sales activities.
Some people have Apple products, they all come with iMessage, use that for individual communication and group chats. Use Microsoft Teams or Skype where possible. Use a product like Zoom (but understand the security limitations and compromises).
Plan to use webinars as appropriate, it works for some businesses but not others. Make sure either way, that you have electronic versions of your key materials, such as brochures, flyers, leaflets, etc. It is vital that these are speaking directly to the audience you want to engage with. Ensure that the target groups you’ve identified are the correct groups in this new era. If you traditionally worked with restaurants, then now might be an appropriate time to find some new target groups.
Be smart and accept that change is happening and you can influence change as you adjust to the new way of doing things, just as everyone else is doing. Become a leader and make the change you want to see happen.
I don’t normally mix change and sales, as that is not the typical direction that makes sense in a sales environment. but, as I am sure you have heard many times, these are extraordinary times, which means it calls for extraordinary measures.
Don’t assume it will be business as usual in a few days or weeks’ time, things have fundamentally changed. The idea of homeworking is now set into the working mindset. Many people will want to continue working from home, this will profoundly change the way we rent office space, where we hold meetings, how we conduct meetings even after the relaxing or lifting of the social distancing measures.
What this means is, you need to reflect on your business, what it does; how it does it and for whom it does it. This means understanding your client groups, your products and/or services, how they work for the new client groups and then how we, together, make that plan to get your message to those who need it the most.
Nothing has changed in the world of selling; we still need to get the right message to the right person at the correct time. Only then, can we make the long-term relationship and the sales that flow from that activity.
Give me a call today and see how we can create that new plan together.