The U.S. isn’t just heading into the holiday season; we’re also facing another wave of the pandemic that threatens to be even worse than the previous two. Daily new COVID-19 cases are hitting record highs, and with colder weather pushing more people indoors, the threat of exposure still looms large and evermore harder to avoid. It’s definitely not “business as usual,” not for individuals, and especially not for America’s 31.7 million small businesses. If you’re worried about your own company during this unprecedented time, here are three tips to consider:
Focus on Sales
Many businesses have been focused on riding out the pandemic wave, relying on a barebones approach to growth in an effort to conserve resources. As we prepare to endure the third wave of COVID-19, however, it might be time for your company to rethink its sales strategy. Now could be the time to be aggressive in sales, searching for and closing new leads even if the market is seemingly tight and you think time and money could be better allocated toward a more conservative approach.
Instead of holding on to cash, invest in market research to discover new consumer needs; ask your sales team to push harder to find opportunities, and use business signs and other forms of advertising to grab market share. The goal isn’t necessarily to make more money, but to make more customers!
Focus on Service
Nine months ago, virtual sales calls and teleconferencing was more of an anomaly. Nowadays, it’s routine. To stand apart from the competition, you must market the virtual experience as an advantage, not a convenience. Add value to your virtual communications by offering amenities with them that improve customer service and enrich the customer experience.
For instance, involve senior management with service and sales calls; share content via webinars; think about creating an online research group, both to help inform your decisions and to connect industry executives.
Find ways to unexpectedly impress your customers so that you keep them. Customer churn is the enemy during a crisis — isn’t it always the enemy? Thus, even as you focus on acquiring new customers, you should remain dedicated to uncovering strategies for keeping your current ones.
Make Physical Connection a Priority
Finally, because virtual living is so ubiquitous, it’s important to make physical connections when possible. Of course, no business should ignore social distancing mandates, but in situations where it’s safe and practical, companies should seek opportunities that bridge the virtual isolation separating us all right now.
Mail out samples if you make actual products; schedule lunch deliveries to loyal clients; send prospective customers a bag of beans and offer to chat (remotely) over coffee; deliver care packages of (sometimes) hard-to-find necessities branded with your logo (such as hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and masks); gift customers with disposable cameras and ask them to post pictures to your website/social media accounts that highlight their relationship to your company and offerings.
Presenting tangible tokens to your clients and customers will keep your company top of mind; it will also serve to distinguish your business from all the others in the market, inevitably prompting your customers to remember you for their future needs.