Whoa! The sharp business contraction has left most of us reeling and is bound to have an affect on prospecting activities. But when this temporary situation improves in the next few weeks or months ahead, businesses will start to feel more sure and confident to kick off and plan projects again.
In the meantime, should you carry on as normal with your usual or planned in New Business, Lead Generation and Telemarketing activities?
Well I think it would depend on who you are targeting and how affected their business is by the Corona virus crisis - sensitivity is required.
It would be crass to approach any kind of seriously disrupted business or sector right now when their decision makers are very busy working out how to survive the next few weeks and months ahead. Often their projects are or will be put on hold, budgets frozen, reduced or diverted elsewhere.
During most recessions and downturns, it's best to ramp up your New Business and Lead Generation activities - not decrease. However at this moment I feel you need to very carefully consider when would be an appropriate time to introduce or reconnect. Also consider your tone and best channel/s of communication.
For any company not disrupted (can't think of any) or are only experiencing some disruption but will likely get through this, then with the right message and tone they should still be open to an approach.
Even in normal business conditions it's always best to approach when the timing is right, so no change of my opinion there (see my blog June 2018).
It's hard to predict how the other side of this will be but there may well be new opportunities around for agencies that in the past may not have been on their prospects to be considered list. A re-calibration of viewpoint, mood and business conditions will probably swing some prospects to outsource or look for a fresh approach from a new provider.
So you'll definitely want your prospects to know about you then.
When the time is right and you'd like some outside support, do get in touch.
Take care and keep well.
The quick answer is YES investing time making calls works - if done in the right way at the right time by the right person for the right prospect.
The human approach is an absolute must. Having a voice helps to differentiate you from someone else and better conveys your individual personality. So if you can't get an opportunity to meet prospects face to face at shows or other physical networking events, etc, sparking up a direct conversation with a decision maker via telemarketing is an efficient and less costly way to introduce your company.
Digital methods via email and social media are good tech alternatives, but if you can initially connect with someone in person or via a call, there are some great advantages:
To get the same response via digital methods you'd have to hope that your prospect is willing to take the time to type back a lengthy informative response that hopefully includes answers to any research and discovery questions you may have or take part in some email ping-pong.
Usually it's far more efficient to speak than type but at times it may be a blend of communication methods required. Really it's finding the channel/s that a prospect is happy to engage with and working out which method at any particular time is best for the person your trying to reach.
A rejection is not usually personal as most people will only really want to speak when they have a need for whatever it is your ringing about - so timing is important. Not everyone likes to prospect over the phone so it's best to have someone who is happy and able to do that type of work.
I've spoken to lots of decision makers who are open to calls from potentially right fit agencies as it saves them the time and effort researching into it themselves. Of course some prospects are email only so you must hone your writing skills - especially to a typical busy decision maker's bombarded inbox.
So as well as getting yourself seen, make yourself heard.
Have a Happy and Prosperous 2020.
At first I hesitated on writing about this as expect a number of you went 'urgh', groaned or sighed as have heard more than enough about Brexit by now. But it's probably ran through many business people mind's already or should do post Oct 31st. How best to navigate some possible future choppy business waters is prudent.
To date this year I've experienced occasional prospect feedback that plans are on hold whilst awaiting to see what happens later in the year - and that was mainly during the 1st quarter. Some sectors are more anxious than others but the government will probably cushion more sensitive sectors such as automotive and agriculture with things like tax breaks, etc. Plus there's likely to be a post-Brexit government spending boost.
Recently I did speak to a company that provided services to think tanks and political research bodies. As a result of politicians being consumed with Brexit matters for the past three years, demand for their service decreased and forced them to adjust their business model and look for more fruitful markets elsewhere.
For now, and in general, it seems many prospects have decided to just get on with business as usual- until they have a better understanding of what sort of Brexit consequences there will be.
As I write it's still uncertain what sort of Brexit we'll get along with some experts predicting a 2nd extension or a general election or a no deal or some sort of deal. Forecasts seem as changeable as the weather.
It is wise to be prepared. Better to be nimble and adaptive rather than lets just wait and see and then react approach, as you risk experiencing a longer and deeper dip than others who are being more proactive. Don't forget it can take up to 6 months + for a new lead to convert into paid work.
There could be a bit of a political white knuckle ride ahead but my guess is whatever the outcome, there will be a mix winners and losers and whole load of much the sames.
So yes I feel there will both new opportunities and new challenges.
I'm ready whatever is decided - are you?