· Clearly, discretionary spending will be down. Companies will operate as lean and mean as they have to, to make up for months of reduced revenues and fixed expenses.
That means companies that sell to other businesses must double down on their value proposition: how do you help your clients make more money? If you can't answer that question, then your services are just another expense – and we're all minimizing those for now.
· · Employees and bosses will remember who helped them through the tough times, and who took advantage of them. It will be a rare win for business leaders and companies that are thoughtful, considerate, and genuinely put others’ interests first.
It’s never too late for businesses to do the right thing. Go the extra mile to help your customers during tough times. Offer extra value. Extend subscriptions without being asked. Pay sooner, if you can afford it. Introduce people in your network to each other if you think they can help each other. (Your network is a miracle asset: the more you use it, the more it grows.) Be spontaneous, generous, pro-active. People will notice it and remember.
· · Customers will be more demanding than ever. “What have you done for me lately?” “What else can you do for me?” It’s not personal. They're making up for lost time and lost income, and eager to find out who their best suppliers are.
This is a time for resilience, creativity and flexibility. How can you rebundle your projects and services to work better and create results sooner? How can you restructure pricing and payment terms to take these difficult times into account? Now is not a time to stand on “We've always done it this way.” Now’s the time to ask, “How can I help you?”
· The crisis has shifted public sentiment towards empathy, collaboration, equity, diversity and sustainability. The best parts of our nature have been nurtured as we have seen once-trusted businesses and institutions fail our most vulnerable – the sick, the elderly, the poor. We have curtailed our mobility and freedom of movement to protect others – we have become more than ever an interconnected global community.
How can your business fit into – indeed, lead – this new culture of conscious community? How are you making things easier, safer, healthier, more accessible for those on the margin? This isn’t a constraint on your business – it’s a whole new opportunity for those who see the future clearly.
As the economy turns grim, hope and growth will come from those who turn gloom into light. Help your customers succeed!
Share more value with your customers and watch them return the favour, through increased orders and by creating buzz in the marketplace. Collect these success stories and tell them over and over again. Fight fear with hope, empathy and community.