I’m being asked lots of questions by existing clients and would-be clients regarding what’s going on ‘out there’ and is it worth engaging in any marketing activity right now? I therefore thought I’d try to answer some of these questions here, as honestly and truthfully as possible.
As a telesales operation we speak to hundreds of companies every day, in all sectors right across mainland UK. It’s really interesting to hear the different perceptions held regarding the pandemic and what it means for business currently.
For example, one security company client (new to Newton Fox in May of this year) said that ‘whilst their competition slept’ they wanted to contact construction sites and the like to offer their manned guarding security services. We are still calling for them today and they’ve won several new contracts as a direct result.
Conversely, we have several long-standing clients who have yet to pick us up again (after abandoning ship in mid-March) saying that we are still in lockdown and they don’t feel the time is right as yet.
Who’s to say who’s right or wrong and I’m certainly not judging; we all run our businesses in our own way based on what we hope is the best approach.
What I do know is that every campaign we’re running is yielding results although there is a caveat; we’re having to pedal harder to win the same number of appointments as pre-lockdown, about 50% harder.
It’s also interesting to see companies pivot on their particular offering and adapt it for the times. For example, we have a client who provides washroom technology for soap and towel dispensers who’ve morphed into providing temperature checking equipment.
Clients providing kitchen fit outs to the hospitality industry have turned their attention to the NHS and yet another has us talking to care homes currently instead of sports stadia.
In the wider community I’ve seen pubs turn into fruit & veg merchants, restaurants starting up home delivery services and hundreds of businesses going online for the first time.
As for the appointments themselves, in pre-lockdown only a face to face meeting was deemed as acceptable for most of our clients. Now, video calling or good old- fashioned telephone calls are welcomed every bit as much and are proving equally successful.
That said, our experience so far is telling us roughly 60% of people are happy to take a face to face meeting and it’s rising every week.
It might be that you are genuinely struggling right now regards your usual business activity and cannot simply re-invent yourself or your company overnight for a host of valid reasons. You’re in good company and I know from speaking with many businesses that it’s extremely worrying, upsetting even.
We all know that leisure and tourism are amongst the hardest hit with performing arts equally affected. Top that with the confirmation that we are now in recession and the inevitable drop in consumer spending that will cause, and you can be forgiven for being more than a little pessimistic right now!
I’m sure it’s because of the line of work I’m in but what I’m seeing every day is a real determination to succeed by a great many business owners. People who are refusing to give in to the pressure they’re under and decidedly focussed on prevailing no matter what.
If there is a message here for you to take away it’s that no-one feels safe and no-one is 100% sure what the future holds for any of us. Localised lockdowns, quarantining and the threat of a second spike all weigh heavy on the business owners mind right now and it’s a long way from over.
However, if our world of appointment setting is anything to go by then it’s clear that there is a genuine willingness to survive for a great many businesses right now and they’re doing everything in their power to make sure that happens. Perhaps nothing more than that, but to come through still trading and ready to build again once the all clear is sounded.
If you’re lucky enough to have been able to adapt your business for the current crisis then please share your story with me when you’ve a minute, I’d love to hear how you’re doing.
How are you coping and what advice would you give to others in business right now? I’d be very keen to hear your views, good, bad or indifferent.