While many businesses are now getting back to work, it’s not always smooth sailing. Some industries are returning more slowly than others, which leave many business owners and salespeople wondering what they can do to get things back in gear.
David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. Today, cohost Chris Templeton and I will be talking about getting your business back in gear. Welcome Chris.
Chris: Hi David. You know, it seems like many people thought that business would just automatically bounce back and return to normal. As soon as these restrictions were lifted. That’s not a given, is it?
David: No, it’s turning out it’s really not a given, particularly in the early stages. You know, we just thought this thing would probably come and go fairly quickly and then it didn’t. And then the longer it went, I think the more difficult it got for people, but yeah, as different states come back at different levels, it’s really been a bit of a challenge. And so I think the idea of it happening by itself or happening automatically is probably not really the way that things are going. And so yeah, we have to see what we can do more proactively to get things going again.
Chris: So when you think about getting a business going again, where do you think that business owners and sales people should start?
David: Well, I think I’d start with looking at your existing customer base and asking yourself, okay, how many of these people are ready to move forward? How many of them are in a position to move forward? Because obviously it’s always easier to sell to your existing client base than it is to sell, to, or find new people. So we definitely want to start there. Just going back to them, trying to find out where they are, how they’re doing, what they’re thinking and all that sort of thing. So finding out from them also how well things are bouncing back or not bouncing back. And a lot of industries are responding in different ways. Certainly the food industry — restaurants have really struggled with a lot of what’s going on. I know hair salons here in Pennsylvania are still closed as of the time that we’re recording this. I’m sporting sort of a seventies, early eighties “do” at the moment because…
Chris: Oh, but you look great, David.
David: Yeah, I do. It’s fantastic. Just this sort of a Bee-Gees look. Vintage BeeGees. But anyway, some of those types of industries are going to remain affected until things get back to normal. But even then, it’s not a given that people are just going to automatically start spending again. So I think we need to look at “what is our existing customer base doing? How are they dealing with it? What can we do to help them to take action and move things forward?” And also just look at what are we doing? What are we doing in our own businesses to remind people that this is not forever. And we need to take as many actions as we can to help our customers to move things forward.
Chris: One of the things, I think we’ve talked about this in a previous podcast, is the whole idea of doing a check in with my client base. All of them. I mean, why not call everyone and just say, “Hey, I’m calling to see how you’re doing.” I mean, just that as a starting point, and if you’ve got a prospect that you’ve been working with, I think it’s fair to say, “Hey, also want to check in and see how you’re doing. Where are you with what we’ve been talking about? Obviously a lot of things have changed and I just want to make sure that we’re on the same page moving forward.” Does that seem like a good way to start from your standpoint?
David: Yes, absolutely. And we did discuss that in previous podcasts. I think if there’s anyone listening who has not yet done that, you definitely want to do that. Just reach out to them, find out how they’re doing, find out how things are going. And you can do that with a combination. You can do phone calls. If you can’t reach everyone by phone, you can certainly do something similar, initiate a conversation via email or on social media or via messenger, lots of different ways to reach people, particularly those that you haven’t heard from, the ones that you have not been able to sort of requalify and find out where they stand. If you haven’t been able to do it on the phone, try a different method, try something like email or social media or whatever else you can use to reach them and to find out how they’re doing.
Chris: You know, there’s a product that I use and there’s a couple of them out there… more than a couple, probably three or four that are all geared toward simply being able to quickly record a recording with the screen or without. I use it to do a check-in, especially if it’s somebody that I haven’t heard from in a while, it’s my face. I’m sending them a link to a video that automatically uploads to the site of the vendor. So for mine, I think it’s Screencast-O-Matic. And I just say, “Hey, how are you? I’m just checking in, been a while. And I wanted to make sure that you were okay.” It takes a few times to practice it, but it’s such a nice way to kind of get into somebody office or home and just say hello. And I think it personalizes it at a whole nother level over an email or a text. I’ve been really, really pleased with the kind of responses I’ve been getting.
David: Yeah, that’s great. And I know we have in previous podcasts talked about the use of video and the more comfortable we can get with that these days, the better off we’re going to be. Because even if we do get back to what used to be completely normal, where you can go wherever you want, whenever you want, and not have issues with it, the ability to continue to reach people using those sorts of tools, allows you to leverage yourself. It allows you to multiply yourself. You can essentially be a hundred places at once, where, when you’re having to do things in person, you can only ever really be one place at a time.
Chris: And I think it also goes back to this idea of if things are changing significantly down the road for some time to come (and I think we both agree that they are,) this is a fabulous way to start to begin to change that process, to be able to take lemons and make some lemonade by using video, by using social media, whatever the case may be. Whatever’s kind of not in your standard bag of tricks. This is a great way to start to move in a direction of, like we talked about at the beginning, getting your business going again.
David: Yes. I agree. You know, I had some situations recently where I was out and about a bit, and I was getting into some businesses that had been closed for a while. And I thought it was interesting to notice the difference between the way that some businesses operate and the way that other businesses operate. And I had experiences with a couple of service businesses recently, and I had some experiences with some retail businesses recently. And I thought it was interesting because I was kind of excited to be able to get out of the house and actually go someplace and buy something. And I went to a furniture store recently. I had to buy a piece of furniture, not terribly expensive, but not cheap when you’re buying furniture.
David: And I was excited to be there. I was happy to be there. I was happy to look around. And what was interesting is the salesperson I dealt with seemed very pleasant. But when we went to actually go to the customer service area where you pay for the order, the people behind the counter just seemed grouchy. And I don’t know if it’s because they had been off for a long time and now they were back at work and they weren’t happy to be there or whatever? But I thought, “wow, that can really make a negative impact.” If you’ve got a customer who’s actually happy to be in your store and ready to spend money with you. And then you’re kind of grouchy. And then I had a situation on the way back from that experience where, there is a candy store that is not too far from where we live and they do this homemade chocolate, which is really good. And I thought, “okay, I’m going to stop here. I’m going to pick some of that up for the family, so when I get back, we have some candy!” And I went into this place and… Similar situation, the woman behind the counter was just not all that pleasant. Now. She was not the owner. My gut is that probably if the owner was behind the counter, he probably would have been very happy to see me. She was not the owner. She just seemed sort of grouchy and you know, not all that happy to be back. And I thought, “wow, that is not ideal when you’re looking to get things back in gear,” which of course is the topic of this podcast. But on the flip side of that, I had a couple of service experiences recently that were really great. There was a company I contacted, we had some water in the basement. So I had to contact a carpet cleaning company to clean up the carpets down there. Guy was awesome, contacted him, let them know we need something, you know, relatively quickly. He got us on the schedule. He came out, he was very friendly, very personable. He was all masked up, and very clean and, you know, doing everything the way that you want him to do it. And it was a really great experience. And I was thinking about how I really like spending money with businesses who “get it,” with businesses who understand customer service, who understand lifetime value of a customer. And I really don’t like doing business with places that don’t get it. It’s like, you don’t want to spend your money there. It’s something that I think a lot of businesses could really take to heart.
Chris: And from my standpoint, David, this is a management and leadership issue, right? In other words, I’ve got to be as a leader of my business, the owner of my business, I gotta be checking in with my people to make sure things are okay. And there are going to be a lot of situations that they’re not. But just the act of simply checking in and saying, “Hey, you know, I heard that you sounded a little bit cranky the other day is everything okay? Is there anything I can do?” Whatever that may be. But boy oh boy, if I’m an employee, who’s that comfortable feeling cranky with customers?
Chris: Something’s not right. And we need to address it.
David: Yeah. Something definitely ought to change in those organizations. I just wonder if people even realize it’s happening. And that’s a frustration as well, is that many business owners, they probably just assume that everybody’s doing what they should be doing. And if nobody complains, they’re not really going to know. Maybe I need to do some complaining.
Chris: Yeah. And I think that’s worth it. My wife and I both came from a food and beverage industry and we always made it a point to engage our waiters. And if they were really good, to tell a manager and if they, weren’t good to tell a manager to say, “Hey, you know what? I think you got a problem with this person.” And there’s nice ways to do it. But if you’re a business owner, expect that there’s going to be some harshness with some of your people and help them go and get on the floor and figure it out with them. Don’t assume that everything’s peachy keen because everybody’s back to work, because that is simply not the case for some people.
David: Yeah. I completely agree. Also, if you think about this whole topic of getting your business back in gear, this has to be part of it, is looking at each of the elements of these gears — and particularly the customer facing ones, the people who are interacting with your customers every day — if they are not on their, A game that is going to be really detrimental to your business
Chris: And now more than ever. And you know, when you think about, as a manager or an owner of a business, helping your people to do that, to kind of find that place again, of being a little more centered and feeling good about being back, usually because I’m being heard by my managers, they then get to take that to their experiences with the customers. And just funny how a little good work goes a long way, isn’t it?
David: Yeah, absolutely. I think also it’s important to recognize that prospecting is really significantly different now than it was before. The situation has changed. So it’s not just a matter of the way that we prospect, but also the targeting that we do, the people that we go after, because a lot of it now has to be based on the current situation. The fact that there are certain businesses that are more qualified than others, to be able to do things with us. The fact that it may be still more challenging to be able to reach the people that we need to reach. The fact that we may not be able to reach them in the same ways. We may have to do it via different ways other than being in front of them. So it’s significantly different. And if we don’t make those adjustments to our own approach and in our own businesses, we are certainly going to be behind the eight ball compared to competitors who do that.
Chris: Talk about what you see as being some of those changes that we need to make in regards to prospecting?
David: Well, it’s pretty much what I just mentioned. It’s who am I going after? Who am I targeting and looking at the businesses that are actually going to be able to engage with you at the moment and who are trying to move forward and have money to spend with you. So there’s certainly that aspect of it. There’s the aspect of the people within the organizations. Can I reach them? Are they back at their offices? Are they still working from home? Because that makes it a challenge. If I’m doing a B2B thing and I’m trying to reach somebody at their business and they’re not there, how can I reach out to them more via email to maybe then get them on the phone or engage them in some sort of conversation? So it’s that. It’s also looking at the types of solutions that I can provide for them. What can I do other than just sell them the product or service that I offer? Is there something that I can do in terms of presenting what I offer in a way that’s designed to allow them to understand exactly how it will help their business? So essentially, at that point, really focusing on selling the solution more so than just the product. If they know you sell a particular product, but they don’t know exactly how that’s going to benefit them right now, they’re going to be a lot less likely to buy it
Chris: Well, and I think the other thing to be thinking about is how does your solution fit in to what’s going on currently with the pandemic. Why your product is something people should be considering, if it’s appropriate, I think makes a lot of sense.
David: Yeah. And also when we’re thinking in terms of the targeting… there’s probably a lot to be said, and maybe we can get into this in a future podcast. But I think there’s a lot to be said for identifying the types of people that you want to interact with, the types of people that you want to do business with. Based on some of the experiences I had recently, it made me think, “You know what? I wouldn’t necessarily want to help this particular business, based on the way they behave.” And so choosing our prospects based on the kind of people that we want to interact with, going forward, I think is going to be even more of a consideration for people who are serious about being really focused and really proactive in terms of growing the type of client base that they want to interact with.
Chris: Absolutely. And I read an interesting article a couple of days ago about the problem with networking is that we see it as a tool to just generate business. And this guy said that, you know, the problem with networking is that, and that the answer is people that you want to do business with people that you’d enjoy doing business with people that you could see yourself being friends with. Those are all things that I think we all too quickly dismiss out of hand and say, “no, I just got to get more business.” And then the next thing you know, you’ve got more business and it’s not business that you like doing or love doing and that you’re going to pay a big price for in the long run.
David: Yeah, absolutely.
Chris: Okay. Anything that you want to wrap up with?
David: No, I think that most people, at this point, know that they need to get their business in gear. And I think that if you can take the sort of approach that we are looking at, where you first want to identify, what’s going on with your existing clients, reach out to them. You want to take a look at the differences and the way that prospecting is currently happening these days, what types of people you need to target? What types of businesses you need to target, who you want to help, how you can help them focusing on solutions. I think that all of those things will help you to get your business back in gear a lot quicker than if you don’t do them.
Chris: That is going to be a great podcast and I’m looking forward to it, David.
David: Me too.
Chris: In the meantime, if you need help minimizing short term damage to your business and positioning yourself as the go to person for recovery, go to TopSecrets.com/call to schedule a strategy session with David and his team to see if they can help you. That’s TopSecrets.com/call.
David: These are very strange times, and it’s likely the next 90 days in business are going to be critical for you. So if I offered to work with you, virtually, over the next 90 days, to help you to minimize the short term damage to your business, and position yourself perfectly for the long-term, as the go-to person in your market, while everyone else is too afraid to move, would you take me up on that offer? It’s important to understand that this is not for everyone. Specifically, you must be serious about doing what’s necessary to grow and scale your business right now. This is what’s going to help you to minimize short-term damage and position yourself as the leader in your market during the recovery. You must be ready, willing and able to invest in yourself, your business, and getting new clients. You must be willing to follow very specific instructions. You must be friendly and coachable. And, you must be ready to start now. This is not for those who want to “wait it out.” If you meet all five of those criteria, schedule a one-on-one strategy session with us to determine if we’re a good fit to work together. Please, only schedule a time when you know you’ll actually show up. Just go to TopSecrets.com/call. That’s TopSecrets.com/call.