Everything. All of your clients have been affected in some way by the Coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic shutdown. No one has been immune to the impact, whether they got the virus or not. Whole companies working from home. Schools closed. Retail shifting heavily online, leaving brick-and-mortar stores empty. Videoconferencing the required norm rather than a “cool to have” option.
A lot has changed. People are adjusting and realizing that the way they’ve always done things may not work any longer. New thinking and actions are required. And I’ve been coaching my clients that they have to be part of that new thinking for their clients.
Prove You are Part of the Future
Our focus now must be to reconnect to our essential clients and prove we can contribute to their success. Connecting now is all about learning and understanding a client’s new challenges that you and your organization can help resolve. Essentially you are building a new cornerstone for revenue growth. The goal is to prove the value of your work and the relationship you have with your clients. They are in recovery mode, right? It’s your job to predict what their recovery will involve, how long it will take, and what it will look like. Your recommendations must be based on this vision so that you can meaningfully contribute to your client’s (and the world’s) recovery.
Create an atmosphere of discovery to understand what your client must accomplish to drive profitability. Be ready to tell your client that the way you went to market before may not be the way you need to go to market now. Keep probing so that you truly understand where they are headed.
And then wait. Don’t make rash or too-quick recommendations. How you interact with your clients now is critical, so act as their sounding board first. Let the solution remain ambiguous for a while. That action drives trust and accountability. It also allows you to field the right team of people that can become the consummate solution team. Now you are ready to make recommendations that are based on the new future your client is facing.
With each client discovery meeting keep thinking: “What can we originate together?” The more you center your conversation on what you both can newly create, the more solid and transformed your relationship becomes.