As businesses begin to reopen, will your business be ready for the new normal?
Is what was working well for your business pre Covid-19, still relevant in the new normal? If you are not 100% sure, don’t guess because everyone and everything has changed. If you haven’t done so already, it is essential to keep in touch with your customers individually, in person (albeit virtually), if possible.
Below are FIVE KEY QUESTIONS to ask your customers (and you) so you can ensure your business continues to offer value, and together, we can head towards a #GreatNewNormal.
Before asking the questions, here are some coaching tools I use, that work well with my customers. I speak from experience and from the heart as I share the following:
- Remember, the art of communication is asking and listening. Inside you may be fearing the worst, however, your thoughts and feelings will be reflected in your communications. It is a fact that our Thoughts become words, our words become actions and so on.
- Imagine your creative brain as a pie chart for one minute; the more of our delicious pie that is occpu”pied” by Fear (which actually means False Evidence Appearing Real), the less of your creative pie is left.
- If you are feeling fearful, there are some excellent books on dealing with fear, I recommend, Eckhart Tolle, The Power or Now. You can also YouTube Vishen Lakhiani’s Six Phase Meditation. Both will refocus your thoughts and allow you to be more creative so you can adapt where necessary.
- Before asking the questions, ask your customer if you can record the conversation. This will allow you to focus on your customer instead of taking notes. It will also help to play back the recording back, so you can adjust your tone, keywords and language used on marketing materials include your website, brochures and blog etc.
- Also it’s a time to be mindful and empathetic. I always try to put myself in the other person’s shoes. Think how you felt when you have read, listened, heard marketing communications during the pandemic. Did they annoy you? Bore you? Upset you? Make you feel sad or happy? Lead by example. Another book recommendation is “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnagie which covers this in more detail.
THE FIVE KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS AND YOURSELF:
- “What does the ‘new normal’ mean for your business?”Listen to language used by your customer, so you can use similar words and phrases on your website (Search Engine Optimisation - SEO) and brochures etc. Does your customers’ language the same as yours? If relevant, and you feel comfortable, ask how / if the ‘new normal’ will affect their Brexit planning. Brexit seems to have faded into the distance, but how are your customers feeling?
- “How has your business changed since Covid-19?”Has your customer adapted and made a new product to serve the Covid-19 pandemic? If so, will they continue to make that product? Do they have further diversification plans? Taking this much interest, without selling, will demonstrate your interest.
- “What have you learned from the Covid-19?”Once again,listen to language used so you can use their words on your marketing materials. How do words differ between different people /sectors you speak to? There might be ideas you can use for your business too! Be ready to share what you have learned.
- “What will you and your business do differently?”Will your customer be streamlining or expanding? Working remotely? Doing more digital? Expanding/reducing exports? Is your offering now relevant? How will you refine your 7Ps of marketing to meet the needs of your customer in the new normal? See our website for further details on the 7Ps.
- “What are your top three challenges as we head into the ‘new normal’?”How have your customers’ challenges changed from before? It would be useful to have their prior challenges to hand, as this is an opportunity to demonstrate your key account management without selling. How can you adapt your website and brochures to be more relevant to their challenges? Are these challenges generic in the sector or business specific?
Vicky Vaughan FCIM FInstLM is a personal and business branding coach at The Brand Surgery. You can find Vicky on Twitter @TheBrandSurgery
Please note, this content is not produced by the IoD and therefore does not necessarily represent the views or thoughts of the organisation.