I was the guy who predicted that Covid-19 would dissipate by June 30th of 2020. I was clearly wrong. But I am willing to admit my shortcomings and say that this global pandemic will be affecting our economy, and how almost every business attracts new customers, for the majority of 2021, at least. I wanted to share the over-arching strategies that I am sharing with my clients.
Here are four keys to selling more effectively throughout the duration of the pandemic — and beyond.
Improve your website
In this environment, your website has become more important. You need to be able to show potential customers why they should work with you without the benefit of in person meetings or in store visits. You need an efficient way to communicate hours of operation, how to reach you, steps you are taking to minimize the risk of spread of disease, the fact that you are still ready and able to serve customer needs and other critical information to potential and existing customers.
Your website should also become an efficient way for consumers to understand what products you feature. Improving product photos and descriptions, adding video to show examples of how your products work, or creating a video for service businesses so that customers can “meet” you virtually are all strong steps to engaging new customers. That’s right, I said new customers. You probably need new customers now more than ever. Your website can give them a reason to consider doing business with you.
When you acquire a new customer, go out of your way to make them feel welcome. Follow up on product or service satisfaction. Make sure that the customer knows that you are there to fulfill their needs and just thank them for their business.
Strengthen connections with existing customers
Your existing customer base is the “path of least resistance” to increasing sales. If you have a customer service team, they are probably not as busy with clients coming in the door as they were pre-pandemic. Have your team make calls directly to past customers to make sure that they are doing well and that your products are still working for them. Email blasts that highlight product improvements and put a face to the names on the phone of your team are also effective. If you have clients that have been adversely affected by the pandemic, and are having trouble paying their bills, reach out in a friendly manner and work on payment plans or other arrangements that make them understand that you are their partner in this difficult time.
It is important that you modify your customer service strategies to fit the needs of your customer base, and that you work a bit harder to cement customer relations. Go the extra mile to understand how your customers prefer to communicate-via text message, email , phone call, social media or even snail mail, and then use that medium to keep in touch.
Leverage Your Experts
Online meetings and webinars have become the norm. Many businesses have a CEO or internal experts in the different fields that they work in. Have these leaders in your company be available for focus groups or just have them pop in to regular video conferencing meetings to greet customers and answer any questions that they may have. Making sure that customers know that they are valued by the industry experts and leaders in your firm will help to cement those relationships.
Get Tech Savvy
Your sales and customer service teams will undoubtedly become more digitally savvy as an outcome of Covid-19, and will continue to discover more tools that can help us connect virtually. Make sure that presentations are available via the website, even if they are password protected, to add a visual aid to conference calls if needed for those customers who still do not have web cams. Make sure that your team has all of the tools that they need to effectively connect with your customer base, especially since many of them are working from home. Supporting your team puts them in a position to achieve more, and their ability to service their customers does not go unnoticed by the customer base.
Conclusion. There are no magical formulas to success in this difficult time. It boils down to hard work and being willing to adapt and remain positive in the face of a challenging time. Some businesses cannot even open and are doomed to fail. This is a heartbreaking reality of this difficult time. For the rest of us, we need to realize how lucky we are to be happy, healthy and still in the game.