A lot has changed in the business world since the start of the coronavirus crisis. Entire companies have been transformed. Some have had to transition into new products and services to make up for those lost as a result of lockdowns. Others have been forced by stay-at-home orders to fully embrace the remote work model. Indeed, the possibilities are endless.
Where does that leave companies in terms of moving their business relationships forward? First of all, know that business has always survived these sorts of things. Even in the toughest of times, business owners and their management teams have found ways to overcome. Things will be no different in the post-corona world.
Second, the key to overcoming is adapting. Things have changed. There is no point in sitting around and complaining about it. Moving business relationships forward requires looking at current strengths and adapting mission and vision to them. Then you nurture business relationships accordingly.
The remainder of this post will touch on specific strategies for moving business relationships forward. As you read, do not make the mistake of believing they don't apply to your company. They do. Any company can employ the following strategies in order to emerge from coronavirus better and stronger than they were when the whole thing started.
Wait a minute. Your company sells fire extinguishers? You don't really think there's anything you can do to improve business relationships in such a specific market? Think again. In fact, keep reading. There is something in the following paragraphs for you.
Selling fire extinguishers was cited in the previous paragraph as an example of a very utilitarian business that is neither glamorous nor sexy. And yet, even a fire extinguisher company can be better for surviving coronavirus. A good first step in that direction is presenting a positive attitude when dealing with clients. Positivity goes a long way.
As you may know, negativity breeds more negativity. The opposite is also true. If you want your customer relationships to remain positive, you must work to ensure that your interactions stay on a positive note. When you talk with clients, look for positive things you can focus on.
Sure, sales are down. But your clients are still in business. Furthermore, opportunities for growth and expansion abound. Those opportunities represent an open door to speak positivity into those business relationships. The more positive you are, the more you will positively influence your clients and peers.
If there's one thing coronavirus lockdowns and work-from-home mandates have taught us, it's the fact that the world doesn't need to be so formal. Employees have discovered they can be just as productive in jeans and t-shirts as business suits. Their supervisors have come to realize that a comfortable couch is a more-than-sufficient substitute for a leather office chair.
The world has had to be less formal by necessity over the last 14 to 16 months. It is going to take a while for all that formality to return if it returns at all. In the meantime, loosen up. Interact with your clients and peers on a more human level. Be willing to discuss life outside of work, even if just for a moment.
The more human you can make your business relationships, the more productive those relationships will be. Less formality and more humanity will be key in a post-corona world.
Electronic communications have ruled the world since the start of the crisis. We have all become intimately familiar with video chat, for starters, and we've all had to recommit to being better with email, SMS messaging, and phone calls. Do not let that commitment slip as your company begins emerging from coronavirus.
Moving post-corona relationships forward will require doubling down on your communication efforts. Be available during normal business hours. Either answer your phone as soon as it rings or respond to voicemail messages at the earliest opportunity. Emails should be answered the same day they are received.
Simply put, do not leave clients or business associates hanging for days at a time. Otherwise, you will give them the impression that you don't value your relationships with them. They will go elsewhere to get what you are failing to provide.
Interactions with clients involve both speaking and listening. Make a concerted effort moving forward to listen more. Do not go into a business meeting assuming you know what will be discussed. Do not presume to know what your customers need or want before you ask them. Listen and attempt to understand first; respond second.
The reason for bringing this up is the simple fact that a lot of us have trouble communicating electronically. We have such short attention spans that we skim emails instead of reading them thoroughly. We do the same with text messages. When it comes to voicemail, we listen to the first 30 seconds and then move on.
Communicating this way is a recipe for disaster. Assuming electronic communications will continue to be a post-corona mainstay, learning to listen will become an important skill every business professional will have to possess.
Remote work has forced employees to expand the sources from which they get information. For better or worse, much of that expansion relates to online sources. Yet we all know that you cannot believe everything you read online. How does that play into moving business relationships forward? It's simple: you need to become a fountain of information.
Whenever your customers have a question, you should be there with the answer. Whenever peers need help solving a problem, you should have the information they need to do so. Even proactively serving appropriate information to others will pay off. Be the expert in your field so that you are the first one people come to.
As you can see, all of these principles apply to your company even if you only sell fire extinguishers. That's because they are not product or service-specific. Instead, they are designed to change the way you interact with your customers and peers. That is important no matter what business you are involved with.
Coronavirus has changed almost everything in the business world. Moving your business relationships forward in a post-corona environment means adapting. Are you ready?