When we narrow down the current COVID-19 economic situation, we’re all in the same boat. No matter who we are or what we do, getting back to doing business hinges on having customers. Whether we like it or not, there’s no guarantee they will be there. Although that may be disconcerting, here are five reasons why:
1. Some customers will decide they don’t need us. Their situation will have changed and they’ve moved on.
2. Others will have found new solutions. Competition will be fierce with appealing options popping up everywhere.
3. More customers than we dare imagine will have simply disappeared, whether individuals or companies. For one reason or another, they aren’t around anymore.
4. Many will be far less accepting and far more demanding than they were in the past. They’ve had time to rethink what’s important to them and established new priorities.
5. Others are so stressed and preoccupied with their situation, they’re unable to make decisions, let alone move forward. They can’t shake it off.
(Related: The Only Message Customers Want From You)
This may not be where we would like customers to be, but it’s where they are. As frightening as it may appear, we can’t expect them to dust themselves off and pick up where they left off. Just saying these words sounds, dare I say it, pessimistic. This isn’t the way we see ourselves. We’re optimists down to our DNA. We face danger squarely and we welcome challenges. To even suggest that a virus, of all things, could possibly disrupt our lives goes against the grain. It’s more than a mere a slap in the face; it’s the ultimate humiliation.
So, what are we to do? How will we deal with the cards we’re left holding? Hope for the best? Keep our fingers crossed? Turn on the optimism and bring back a pop tune from the 1940’s:
You’ve got to accentuate the positive,
Eliminate the negative,
Latch on to the affirmative.
Don’t mess with Mister In Between.
That’s us — or is it? The words seem weak and out of place today. Here’s the point: rather than trying to pick up where we left off or hoping for the best, we will be better served by recognizing that we’ve all been through a lot and a lot has changed.
Here’s a checklist for reaffirming relationships with existing customers and building new ones with prospects. This is anything but easy. But it can happen, if at least some of these eight things happen: