Here we are, just over 3 months since everything changed. Some industries are being hit harder than others. Some of us have had new opportunities drop in our laps. Others are facing new challenges. But there are opportunities out there for those who can find them. With a little creative thinking and planning, you might get through this and come out stronger on the other side.
Here are a few ideas that might help you weather the storm:
1. Try something new: I’ve added new services that are complementary to Informer Messages on Hold. I know that when I have a client who already “knows, likes, and trusts” me, they’re more willing to listen to what I have to say about a new way that I can help them. Ideas of businesses that have added complementary products or services are:
a. Bauer Hockey Equipment pivoted to manufacturing face shields in a week.
b. Electric car dealers that sell Solar Panels. Their customers are interested in sustainability and being green.
c. L’Oreal hair care production lines switched over to hand sanitizer in just days.
2. Try the same thing someplace new: Like online: Nike closed 5,000 stores in China due to the virus. They ramped up their online marketing and ended up with 35% overall growth in China. We’re not all Nike, but we can still sell in a new way. There are lots more restaurant offering “curbside” and home delivery than ever before. That’s really different. London’s Bimber Distillery, a whiskey maker, cancelled its distillery tours. It replaced them with delivering “tasting kits” that helped build delivery sales.
3. Partner with another business with complementary services. If there’s no direct competition between you, why not cross promote each other?
a. Car detailing services inside parking lots
b. Steve is a good example, when he hands out his book of referrals. You all know how well that works for you.
c. Event planners can team up with Caterers, Bakeries, DJ’s, and Florists. By the way: we have none of these in our group
d. I do that with phone system installers, and even give them finder’s fees for their warm referrals.
4. Create a loyalty program: we all belong to some sort of loyalty program. My credit card gives me miles on American Airlines. And I just about always go to the same supermarket. I have a punch card from my pizzeria. If you have a “repeat purchase” product or service, think about a loyalty program.
5. How about a pop-up sale? Ann Lindsay of J Hilburn has done this, so why can’t you? Again, this isn’t for everyone, but we’ve all been lured into buying stuff because we stumbled on a pop-up sale. Be careful though: sales can be a dangerous habit. My family never shops at Bed Bath and Beyond without our 20% off coupon
6. When the going gets tough, the tough market even harder. During the real quarantine period in March and April, I’m not the only one in the group who wrote more blog posts and did more basic marketing than usual. If you’re slow, look at what has worked for you or for your competition in the past, and double down on it.
7. Develop your own specialty: Focus on a niche market and start marketing. Maybe Marek Mroz of M&M Constructions has a real talent for pet industry retail. Or John Schnefke of Speed Printing and Graphics is doing EDDM for Urgent Cares. Or Theresa Robinson of Fairfield County Bank Insurance with Condo Complexes. Develop your specialty. Write an article or a blog post. Speak at their meetings. Get known.
8. Are you online? If not, with everyone staying home, it’s time to get started. Pete Romeo of Wooly Head Design will make your website look great. Keith Reynolds of Publi.io will help you with the content. Scott Kuppersmith of MCS will help you with Google Ads.
9. Finally, Don’t forget your existing clients. They’re the ones you count on for repeat business. It’s something like 8 times easier to keep a client happy than to find a new one. I follow up with a portion of my existing customers every week.
I love ideas like these. I love solving problems. There are more ideas than I could ever talk about. It may seem like an insurmountable challenge, but this is a once in a lifetime event that could transform your business.
Need more ideas? Let’s have a Zoom meeting next week.
Casey Hart is President and founder of Informer Messages on hold (www.informermessages.com). Informer Messages, like networking, are a way to start the conversations that help you sound more professional and sell more. They turn the time that your telephone callers spend on hold into a marketing opportunity, replacing boring music on hold and the annoyance of waiting in “dead silence” with information that your best customers want, and that you want them to have. Here’s a link to a 60-second video about Informer Messages.