When I first started considering the topic for this piece, the world was a very different place. Lifestyles; hobbies; personal relationships; business; everything seems to have changed. For most of us, not for the better. Hardships have been faced all over the globe and unfortunately there will be many more to come.
If you’re anything like me, you will try to stay as informed as possible. By this, I do not mean immerse yourself in every piece of news, social post, or WhatsApp message you receive with the latest scaremongering story. ‘Be informed, but don’t be obsessed’ is a good mantra I am personally trying to stick to. So when I revisited the topic and considered what I wanted to discuss, it felt remiss to completely ignore what was going on in the world. That’s not how I approach daily life. However, I didn’t want to get caught in the trap of focusing only on the pandemic situation in its current form. I also wanted to look forward and start to think about life and business in the ‘New World’ that we will emerge into.
Drawing from our experience of what it has been like over the last weeks, I would like to share some thoughts on how we at PragmatiQ Solutions have been approaching Sales and Marketing, and our general observations made over this period:
Don’t cold call and don’t cold e-mail. Most people are not welcoming of these approaches at the best of times, even less so when their businesses, jobs and livelihoods are at risk.
Don’t take advantage of the crisis. Yes there will be opportunities, as there are during and following all crisis’, and putting yourself in a position to emerge from it stronger is fine. Taking advantage is not.
If your own business hasn’t been hit too hard, be aware of how you communicate that around people in a much worse situation. This may be perceived as gloating.
Be positive but don’t be ignorant. There is a place for positive thinking of course, and a huge benefit we can derive from this outlook. However, I would also urge it to be tempered with realism. If you work in travel or retail, then being aware of the depth of the challenge ahead will put you in the best place to deal with it in the right way.
Speak to your customers and offer support, but don’t sell. I can assure you, suppliers and customers will remember how they were treated by each other during this period. That doesn’t mean you have to offer all your services for free but offering any support during this difficult period will be welcomed, and it will be remembered.
Some of these you may relate to, and I imagine you will have many more you can add to this list.
If we start to look forward, and I know that might be premature at this point, the economy needs to get moving again, and part of that includes the business industry getting back to buying and selling. So how does selling look in the immediate weeks and months following the peak of this crisis? Here are a few thoughts:
Inform and educate. This is a bit of a cheat, as in my opinion we should all be selling like this anyway, but never has it been more important.
Content, content, content. Producing great quality content is a way to sell, without being invasive.
Continue to think digitally. It is likely social distancing could remain for some time, and therefore a lot of people will see better efficiency with their time as they continue to restrict their travel. You can only get the benefit of this if you are still able to conduct a productive meeting remotely, so don’t ignore the new behavioural habits you may have adopted in the lockdown.
Don’t be afraid to tell people what you do. For the last few weeks this may have felt insensitive due to the situation, but we are all going to have to get comfortable in taking this step.
Diversification and new service offerings. The world has changed and so have your customers. Reviewing the new challenges and what your customers truly need is going to be crucial in moving forward and being successful.
I by no means have got all the answers and I’m anything but a business coach, but I just wanted to share some of my thoughts and observations and hope you’ve found it in some way useful. Stay safe and good luck to everyone over the difficult few weeks ahead. For more information, please visit www.pragmatiqsolutions.co.uk.