In the coming weeks more and more businesses will open their doors, hang their shingles and start trading or increase their trading. It’s an important time, one where in many instances we are reconnecting with our customers after a very intense and emotionally challenging time. But are the customers we left the same as the customers that we hope will come back?
We would all like things to just pick up from where they left off but is that reality? Have we been forever changed by the events of the past few months? Will our customers still want what we have to sell in the coming months and years? I don’t know the answers to this for your business, but what I do know is that the longer this issue goes on, the more fundamental the changes will become for all of us. And this has meaning for us when we are trying to sell our products and services?
It’s very easy to just start bombarding people with “buy this now” kind of messages, but I’d be suggesting that first of all, we need to be reconnecting without customers to find out exactly what they want right here right now. We need to reach out a little more gently, start communicating, letting them know we are open and operating and keen to help them, but we also want to hear from them. We need to engage with our customers to figure out exactly what we are dealing with and how we can best serve them.
I did some work with a 100 year old Japanese company recently, and as you can imagine they have gone through incredible change in this time. They started off making parts for sewing machines and now they make satellites. Their founder had an incredibly wise philosophy towards change – everyday members of the business were tasked with answering the question “what will we sell when our customers no longer want to buy what we are selling today?”.
This has kept this company innovating, adapting, changing, evolving – and surviving. And their big key to success is that they have a very high level of communication and connection with their customers, because the companies that they used to make parts for the sewing machines are the exact same companies that they are making parts for their satellites. In other words, they have evolved and grown with their customers over their hundred year history and that’s what I think we need to be doing in our businesses today. It sounds fairly obvious but from my observations it’s actually becoming an issue.
Now is the time to be connecting, communicating and engaging with our customers. We need to be checking in on them, trying our best to understand what has changed for them in the past few months and what we need to adapt in our business to better serve them. The rush for most businesses is to hang out the shingle and let everyone know it’s business as usual. But is it really?
Adaption and evolution in a rapidly changing world are without a doubt the keys to success in 2020 and beyond. Start by reconnecting with your customers in a considered way and find out what has changed for them and what you need to do now to be better able to serve them and meet their changing needs and expectations. This could actually highlight many new opportunities that might just give you a big competitive advantage.