You think it’s been hard during lockdown?

In conversations in the past week or so, I’m seeing a small amount of resentment coming in from business owners who have not had the opportunity to close their doors during lockdown. That sense of COVID fatigue has really started to set in for business leaders who have been holding the fort, doing the jobs of their teams who have been furloughed.

I know and understand this at first hand, I’m not afraid to say that I’m looking forward to a week off in July, however that may look like. But what I can say is that my out-of-office will go on like any other vacation time.

You will need to work twice as hard to keep your customers!

This is a phrase I’ve seen bandied about by sales trainers and lead generators. There is this notion that customers will be scrimping every penny to get the best deals over quality of service. They are right in some respects and wrong in others, and here’s why.

The ones you keep

In the years’ past, your business has worked hard to look after your customers. Gone that extra mile, spent time on that relationship and worked with them well. Clients who know and understand this, also realise the value in that working relationship, between bill payer and supplier. The key phrase here is ‘realise and understand that working relationship.’

Sure, times are hard and every penny does count, but so does loyalty and understanding. Now is that time to work with suppliers you know and trust. The wrong thing to do right now is to try and start new relationships and spend valuable time working with an unknown outcome.

The ones you let go

The current climate and breathing space we have been given should have helped in identifying the clients you are willing to let go. These are the clients that no longer give value to your portfolio. Don’t be afraid to be a little bolder in moving some existing clients on. The types of customers who are now asking for discounts, mess you about, additional payment terms, bad payers, time wasters and mood hoovers.

More importantly those customers who don’t realise and understand the value in what you do and the service you provide.

Do, or do not, there is no try

In the past few months we have identified key clients who we have agreed to reduce their services with us, with a view to not renew. We have also had honest conversations around the reasons why (as you can imagine, with differing outcomes). The point here is to stick to what you believe is the best way forward for both you and your client portfolio. If this means a bit of a clear-out then so be it.

The worst outcome of this opportunity is to try and work with clients who you know aren’t reciprocating that value back.