Everyone knows it’s more important than ever to keep building your business during these tough times. What’s absolutely crucial to doing this is ensuring you stay relevant to your existing client base.
I speak to David Das and David Armes, global sales trainers and authors of The Me Agenda: Unleash the Simple Human Truth of Selling, to focus in on four vital things to do right now to help maximise your chances of having a successful 2021. This is what they advise …
One: Check your offer
Just as you may have needed to change some things in your business, so have your clients. Clients are in a period of organisational re-design. Maybe they now need something different from their suppliers to match their new needs.
What should suppliers do?
The thing to do first of all is to ask your clients what’s different and therefore what their new needs are. Then shape your offer to fit. We get that this can be really tough, believe us we’ve had to go through this exact process! Letting go of the past way of working, finding your offer is no longer relevant, changing fundamental things…all painful learnings but learnings that have to be acted on in order to stay relevant into 2021. Finding out what’s changed in your clients’ businesses first will help to make the process at least efficient, in that you won’t be wasting your time and energy developing something that may not be valuable for them.
Two: See if you can re-purpose what you already have
Not every new client need means having to build a brand new service or offer from scratch. Sometimes, what you already do will just need tweaking for it to become relevant again. For example:
- Delivering it in a different way – thinking about format, timings, who it’s delivered to etc.
- Finding out what’s of most value to your clients now in your existing offer and focusing on delivering that with absolute reliability
- Re-packaging your offer and clearly communicating it, to emphasise how it helps with the new needs your client has
The important point to take away from this is that you don’t always need to invest significant time and money in developing something brand new in order to stay or get relevant. In most cases it’s a combination of mostly elements from the existing offer with just one or two changes to become match-fit once more.
Three: Tell people about what you’re famous for
This sounds simple, but it takes courage. Right now we’re seeing a lot of suppliers saying to their clients ‘we can meet any of your needs’. This isn’t useful to clients.
The courage comes in when you take your re-shaped offer, pin it to your mast and go all-out to make yourself famous for delivering it. Relentlessly campaign it. When your message is that clear, and the value that obvious, clients will understand your relevance in their worlds. And believe us, clarity and value is exactly what clients are looking for right now to help set themselves up for 2021.
With this being so important, it’s critical to ring-fence not just investment behind the campaign, but crucially ring-fencing the right resource to do it. And by the right resource, we mean people who can run the sales and marketing effort most effectively across digital and ‘real-life’ channels. For example, we aren’t the most knowledgeable about digital, so we need someone who knows how to get our message across effectively using social media. Our ego has to be taken out of the equation!
Four: Invest in your people wherever possible
Even though it’s been a tough year and more restrictions are in place for the next six months at least, there have been some positives coming out of this new way of working. Working from home has led to increases in productivity, realisation that offices may not be needed after all therefore costs have been reduced, and reductions in pollution are just some benefits being seen.
There is another side to this however, and that’s how to keep your people engaged, motivated and energised in this environment. There is a direct, proven correlation between engagement and productivity and now the novelty of the situation has gone, businesses need to find new and creative ways to keep engagement high.
One of the things we’re hearing in our conversations with our clients is that they’re people are beginning to lose that feeling of development and progression. Without that, engagement is tough to maintain. When engagement begins to fall, then productivity falls alongside it and that means that there is a danger that client needs begin to become unfulfilled.
What can you do to turn this around or head it off at the pass? We believe when money is tight, if you’re a leader of your business, one of the best ways is to self-develop and then pass on your learnings to your team. Likewise, encourage them to also learn and share. Learning could be about the market you operate in, the broader trends in the economy, soft or hard skill development and so on. As well as broadening knowledge and/or skillsets, it also encourages regular communication and develops a team fit for the near future.
With these four core areas managed effectively, you have a business that is fit for 2021.