Over these past few days, I have had many conversations with people who are genuinely worried about the survival of their business during this pandemic crisis. This is a legitimate worry as the continuing call for stronger isolation has made it exceedingly difficult for small businesses who rely on foot traffic, or face-to-face interaction.
We talk a lot in the Encore:CEO™ program about the need for adaptation. Well, this need just went into overdrive. The best thing you could do for your company right now is to re-evaluate your business model and come up with ways to evolve to the changing needs of your clients.
If you don’t already have an online store or online consulting platform, I strongly recommend this option. There are many companies that will allow you to set up a store within your current website, or build you a specific e-commerce site if you wanted to keep it separate from your website, or don’t have a website. Obviously not every company is selling physical items, but ask yourself if what you provide people can be offered through a different medium. If changes are needed to adapt to this new format, what are they and what expertise do you need to make this happen?
Maybe your company isn’t an obvious choice for an online model. You may just need to get creative. Consider real estate agents, or home-builders: Their business model relies heavily on in-person meetings and home tours. Is there a way to take this experience and do it remotely? Can you schedule Zoom or FaceTime calls where the agent can show you the home while you sit comfortably on your couch? Virtual tours are growing in popularity, but by including the conference call into the experience, it allows for real time questions and demonstrations.
Ask yourself: What aspect of my sales process can be made virtual? How can I provide a rich customer service experience from a distance?
There are companies that simply can’t do business online. Think dentists or car mechanics. No one wants to purchase a tutorial on a DIY root canal. If your company falls under this umbrella, it is important to understand the incredible opportunity sitting ahead of you. Here is your chance to stand out in your industry, and build and strengthen your client relationships for when they are able to do business with you again.
What services can you provide online that will push your brand name, but also be helpful to your target market? Ask yourself, “What do my clients need from me? How can I help them succeed during this difficult time?” If you are able to relieve any stress (big or small) that your client is dealing with during this difficult time, you will solidify that client for life. You will be their hero!
Let’s use the dentist as an example again. Consider your client’s situation: schools are closed and working from home is strongly encouraged, if not mandatory. This means families are in closed quarters with no breaks from each other for weeks. I’m sure things can feel tense and patience can run thin with one another. What’s something that you could do to help out? Why not send out a fun 2 minute video that encourages kids to brush their teeth for the full two minutes, all while keeping them entertained? This makes this one important, but sometimes frustrating task, easier for the parents, and is a great reminder to the whole family why your dental office is the obvious choice for their business.
Here is your opportunity to put on your marketing hat and really up your connection with your clients. Stay top of mind, but don’t be annoying, be helpful. People are dealing with information overload right now. So make sure you are thoughtful and strategic in your delivery.
Yes, this is work. Maybe even a lot of work. But consider how valuable it will be to have these contingencies in place. If there is anything COVID-19 has taught us (other than the value of toilet paper exceeds that of gold), it’s that the world can throw a complete wrench into our plans rendering us helpless unless we can adapt quickly.
Also consider what your competitors are and aren’t doing. When the world returns to normal, the companies that survive will be the ones that were creative in their problem solving.
If you are stuck in this exercise and need some help figuring out your place in the online space, please connect with us. We’d love to help get you set up so you can continue to thrive.
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