If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times: these are unprecedented times. And unprecedented times require unprecedented follow-up. I agree that right now trying to do business as usual seems almost foreign. Yet, we must not stop working. We must continue to make every attempt possible to grow our businesses.
There are still countless opportunities out there. While there may be a lot of people furloughed from their jobs currently, there are still a lot of people working. Every. Single. Day. Many of them are working from home. Many are working in businesses deemed essential. The point is millions of people across the country are still working.
Many of our current clients and many of our past clients make up some of these businesses and organizations. During this crisis, I’m finding that the best way to keep my business moving forward is by reaching out to them and by following up in a manner that’s respectful and sensitive to the current situation while still keeping me top of mind.
Follow-Up Actions That Produce Results
I have a client in the electronic assembly industry, for example. The company is considered an essential business, yet 40 percent of their business quickly dried up. They didn’t wait to see what else would happen. They acted fast. The first thing they did was call every client who’s done business with them over the past two years. Many of those calls fell on deaf ears, or received comments such as, “we’ll wait until this all blows over.” However, some of those calls produced business. Business from engineers who now had a little time on their hands because they weren’t jumping from one fire to another.
My client didn’t stop there. They made phone calls and sent emails to businesses they hadn’t engaged with for up to fifteen years. One previous client whom they hadn’t spoken to in 13 years put in an order that could potentially go on for two years.
Another business owner I know is now busier than she’s ever been for a similar reason. She works with people in higher education and the sustainability sphere. Again, decision makers that she has relied on to finalize projects are now more available than ever to give the go ahead on projects and ideas that have been sitting on the back burner. Just like the electronic assembly company, this business owner initiated these conversations. She reached out to the decision makers. She created the follow-up engagement to keep herself top of mind.
Well-Rounded Follow-Up and Engagement
Yes, I will say it again, these are unprecedented times, which means we’ll be required to keep our businesses going by unprecedented means. What we were doing two months ago won’t work quite so easily today. We must pick up the telephone and call our clients. We must pick up the telephone and call our prospects. We must pick up the telephone and find out the specific needs of the people we work with and work for. Only sending emails is not going to work right now. We must have a well-rounded system of follow-up and engagement.
The engagement can be through phone calls, emails, LinkedIn messaging, content creation, and participation in online business events. Phone calls, emails, and LinkedIn messaging offer personal interaction. Relevant content will answer questions regarding the difficulties and challenges our clients and prospects are currently facing. It’ll be specific to right now.
This is not a time to curl up into a fetal position. This is a time to take unprecedented action. A time to follow up. A time to be engaged more than ever before. I understand this is a very difficult time for many people. However, this could also be an opportunity for many organizations to be leaders in their industries. Leaders that people need. The only way people will know you’re a leader is by you first leading.
Questions to Ask Yourself before You Follow Up
There are so many opportunities developing before our eyes. New opportunities to engage and grow our businesses. Make a list of all the opportunities that are there for you right now. Ask yourself:
- How can I help my clients?
- How can I help my prospects?
- How can I help my vendors?
Then stay engaged. Stay informed. And follow up, follow up, follow up.
Now is not the time to give into fear. Now is the time to get creative. Instead of striking a match to your tent while you’re lying in it, identify actions steps you can take today that will grow your organization.
What can you do over the next few days that will help grow your business, or at the very least, not decrease its size?
Identify three things you can do. Immediately.
I have a long list of action items I’m taking to grow my business during this crisis. I’ve committed to calling five prospects per day. I’ve also committed to following up with five current and/or previous clients per day. Over the course of one week, that works out to be 50 businesses I’ve engaged with. It’s easier to make my calls when I have a specific number in mind already, so having those specific number of calls set makes it easier to achieve those goals.
I’ve written and finalized the first draft for a new book I hope to have published by May 1st. I created and put on a virtual two-day workshop April 7th and 9th based on the needs I was hearing from the small business community. Now I’m developing a two-day online summit I’ll put on in May that will be focused on helping the business community post-coronavirus. I’m taking unprecedented actions to grow my business all while helping the business community.
Yes, for the final time today I will say, these are unprecedented times. However, this will definitely not be the last time I say this. Unprecedented times require unprecedented follow-up. And action.
I am here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have a need.