Bringing in work in a COVID world
The world has changed and to be successful we need to change with it.
August 11, 2020 By Dave Mercer
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unparalleled changes to the way we live our lives. It also has affected how we run our businesses.
What changes do we need to make to operate in this new normal? We all know that you can’t do work if you don’t get work, and you can’t sell products and services if you don’t have customers. These basic tenets of business development apply as much today as they did pre-COVID. However, how we go about reaching potential clients and customers has changed. In this article we’ll look at three key ways to bring in work and expand client bases in the new normal.
1. BE VISIBLE
Now more than ever, your clients and customers need to know that you’re in business. Businesses need to be visible in the marketplace to survive. This can be a challenge today as trade shows and networking events have been put on hold. Still, finding ways to get you and your business in front of potential customers is a must.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. For contractors, it can be as simple as making sure your trucks are clean and having your name, logo and phone number clearly displayed so people see you as you head out on a job. Even if your vehicle isn’t in use, make sure it’s parked where people can see it. Now is also a good time to make sure your website is up to date and to consider if social media or Google Ads are good for you. And, even though events are cancelled, you can still be visible by attending webinars, or better yet, hosting them.
2. EXHAUST YOUR ROLODEX
This tried-and-true sales mantra can’t be overemphasized. We don’t have as many opportunities to meet new people these days, so instead we need to take some of the energy we used to put into making new contacts and reach out to our existing contacts. People have been cooped up for a while and most will appreciate hearing from you. Just by saying hello you may learn some intel about the local market, or you may be able to help your contact out (which often helps you later on).
Most importantly, always ask if there is anyone else you should be speaking to. Referrals are far more successful than cold calls.
In sports the term “pivot” means making a quick change of direction in order to avoid the defence and keep moving forward. Businesses today need to be clever and shift directions in order to remain healthy and relevant. This doesn’t mean you have to change your business, but it does mean that you need to change some of the things you do to get business.
Here’s an example: A colleague of mine used to take clients out for beers at a local pub on Fridays after work. It’s a great way to get some one-on-one contact and develop the connection. With bars and restaurants closed, and everyone working from home, this was no longer an option. Did he give up on Friday beers? No, he pivoted.
My colleague recognized that local craft breweries and restaurants have started providing delivery services. Now on Friday afternoons he orders delivery for his target contacts and hosts a virtual online happy hour so they can still have a beer and a chat. In this era of isolation and working from home, his clients have been extremely appreciative and won’t soon forget his thoughtfulness. In fact, his pivot has been more effective for his business than what he had been doing previously.
That example typifies what we all need to be doing as we consider developing our businesses in the time of COVID-19. The world has changed and to be successful we need to change with it. With a little ingenuity, we may just find ourselves better off than we were before.
Dave Mercer, P. Geo, spent over a decade managing ground water instrumentation projects. Today he operates Underground Communications, offering specialized business development and marketing services in geology-related industries. Dave is also general manager of the British Columbia Ground Water Association. He can be reached at Dave@undergroundcommunications.ca.
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