As business leaders worldwide look for ways to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their revenues, we’re sharing ways to stay in front of your customers while maintaining physical distance. Below are 7 tips to reach out to clients and prospects to keep your business humming. We’d love readers to add comments to this blog post about additional tips as well as the responses you experience when trying out these.
1). Mail clients and prospects a holiday card with a personal note. We’ve sent branded Easter cards this week. You could also send a “Welcome Spring” note or in the month of May mail a patriotic card in advance of Memorial Day. The cost of doing this is relatively low with great deals on seasonal cards available online from various retailers. In a time when so much communication is done digitally, a handwritten and mailed card is a welcome touch.
2). Call your customers and prospects to check in on them. Rather than selling to them, simply ask how they’re doing and what you can do to help them. This will give you some insight into their situation and maybe new ways that you could further support them. Of course, your follow-up after the call is critical to show your outreach is genuine.
3). Our friend Sarah Cain of Sarah’s Florist and owner of Living Well with Sarah Cain recalls how she dealt with a prior economic downturn. When many of the corporate customers started pulling back on floral arrangements, she used her business’ commodity and sent flowers to prospects and clients. Of course, people held onto the beautiful arrangements. Those also brightened their days. When they needed flowers personally or for professional reasons, they were sure to call Sarah’s Florist. That economic downtown wasn’t much of a dip after all for this savvy marketer.
If you sell products, what could you mail to previous clients and prospects most in need of your goods that will keep you front and center with them? If you sell services, showcase clients who are sticking with you in the tough times in a case study posted to your website and share that with your local Chamber of Commerce.
4). Approach a news editor to gauge interest in you writing an article about how your industry can positively respond to the current crisis. Offer concrete examples that can have a measurable impact. If the article is accepted, promote its publication in your social media channels and in your eNewsletter to extend your reach to your typical network AND the publication’s readership. After all, people are craving positive stories, and this is a great way to share tips of your own.
5). Your eNewsletter remains a low-cost way to communicate with subscribers. Again, it’s a matter of staying in front of your target audience and giving them valuable content related to your business offerings.
6). Narrow your focus. Pinpoint your top prospects. Then, research their current pain points and their likely challenges over the next three months. Brainstorm on how your business could help address those specific organizations’ concerns and drive real value for them. Look beyond your normal selling points to be timely and targeted.
Take this a step further by documenting which strengths you bring to the table compared to your traditional competitors. Examine those differences and determine how you can build on those strengths to separate yourself from the pack and perhaps not compete with the crowd at all. Develop your niche.
Put together a marketing campaign to share your competitive edge and solutions with your top prospects. Internally, specify your goal and deadline. (Is your goal to secure a conference call with the decision makers or is the goal to close a sale? By when? It depends on what you’re offering and the time needed to educate prospects and close deals, especially in today’s economic climate.) Get to work and measure your progress. Incorporate feedback into the ongoing process to refine your efforts until you’re making good traction. Refine again in the pursuit of continuous improvement. Celebrate your wins.
7). Birds of a feather flock together. While networking during the COVID-19 pandemic has gone virtual, these relationship-building opportunities are important to attend. Review the virtual networking where you’re having success and make a list of other businesses that could benefit from similar events. Who on that list is also either your client or prospect? Invite those individuals to join you on the next online get-together. This helps those people expand their opportunities for lead generation, connect with other like-minded people and break up the isolation that results from physical distancing. Furthermore, this simple gesture of inclusion builds trust and loyalty with your clients and prospects — a smart investment in any circumstance.
The coronavirus will come to pass. When the economy picks back up, you want to be ready for the upturn. Taking steps today to stay in front of your customers positions you for success. As Sarah Cain says, “You can either go through this OR you can GROW through this.” Choose wisely and get to work.