These are strange times. Unprecedented times.
Unlike any other times experienced by businesses worldwide. Definitely not something I have experienced in my years in the finance industry, or for that matter in my generation. It is now, that many small, medium, or even large businesses must take a step back, take stock, and review how they operate and run their business.
One thing this pandemic has forced all of us to embrace in our business is how we communicate with our clients. Online communication via the likes of Zoom, Facetime, emails, etc., has been the only way we have been able to do business in the last 4 months. For some of us it has been a learning process.
I am fortunate enough to be a member of a networking group known as BNI (Business Network International) for the past 8 years. This has given me the resources, support and education required to manage business and provide me with the personal motivation required to keep going, especially through this challenging period.
I am grateful, in my contact sphere, to deal with likeminded people within these networking groups, who can enlighten, educate and, a lot of times, provide the support needed in challenging times.
It was recently listening and watching an online live stream with a group of business operators that motivated me to share the following information to assist business and individuals to move forward through this pandemic. It showed the importance of working with the changes thrown upon our businesses, especially now in the face of stage 4 lockdown in Victoria.
It’s time to refocus & restructure the way we do things, and this involves educating and learning how to function in a world with Covid and preparing for the post-Covid world. So, here are some things you can put into place if you already haven’t in the next 6 weeks of lockdown to make sure you and your business are ahead of the pack!
- Think about how your value proposition has changed with the pandemic.
- What are your customers ‘barriers’ to saying yes to what you can offer right now?
- Adjust your value proposition to suit the current environment.
- Ask yourself where the driving force in your value proposition is right now.
- Who and what markets are you selling into now?
- The markets you have sold to prior to Covid may not be the right ones, look at how you need to refocus and change your direction.
- We as businesses must adjust where we sell and who we sell to during these times.
- It may be time to review your proposition to the market and tighten it up.
One important thing that Networking has taught me is to focus on my ‘Dream’ list of clients. Think big, yes, even with current challenges thrust upon us!
We are in business because of our clients and we all have good clients. The great thing about good clients is that they have the potential to refer good clients – ‘like attracts like’. Determine who is your best client. When you are introduced or have the opportunity to speak to your ideal client, make sure there is no way they will say ‘No’ to your value proposition. Determine what is your benefit in these current times.
- Why would they want to deal with you?
- What is the financial benefit of dealing with you and your company?
Determine 100, 50 or even 20 clients you want to get or convert and work on this until you have knocked each one off your list. Determine who are the 5 best referral sources for your business. Find a way to communicate and get in front of them. Sometimes this may not be the traditional way, think outside the square! Do your research on these clients and identify how and why your business can be of benefit to them.
These current times are also the best times to review your marketing collateral. Your marketing is your touch point of your business. Review these documents, refine them, and set a goal to review these each quarter.
Invest in a reliable way to track your sales and know how many meaningful interactions you had each day, or week. Meaningful interactions mean you got the opportunity to quote or put forward your proposal to your client.
Know the difference between a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system and a Sales Tracker. CRM Systems allows your business to manage business relationships and data and information associated with these relationships. A Sales Tracker will keep records and detailing of all aspects of your sales process (total leads, qualified leads, quotes, closed sales, etc.). Both important in the operation of your business.
Understand the way you produce money in your business. It may be time to revise your business module and work out how to generate more income in our business. If you are getting qualified leads but not many are leading to meaningful interactions, then it maybe that your value proposition is not strong enough to go to the next stage. This point was very interesting to hear as many of us get qualified leads and then work incredibly hard to provide a solution to the client, but then find they are not converted to closed sales.
This is also a great time to upskill your staff, your business and yourself!
Stalk other businesses in the same industry (nothing wrong with that, we all do it), and see what they are doing. Look at where you should be in your business and if you are not where you want to be, figure out why you aren’t there yet. One very good way to give your business the potential for growth is to take chances and introduce yourself into other networks and networking groups! Do everything you can to interact with your network.
Believe in your product and deliver it with passion and sincerity. Be a good human because all humans want to work with good people.
These are tough times and it will take hard work and courage from businesses and employees to get through the coming months. But if we rethink, refocus and learn how to work with our current situation, then we have a better chance of rebuilding and reshaping our businesses and getting our economy back on track.
Stay positive and stay safe!
Caryn de Silva