Operating a small business has not really changed in decades. Sure, new tools such as the telephone and then the internet brought about some changes, but the basic format of marketing and customer interaction remained basically the same.
Then came COVID-19 and in the space of a few months the old normal is being eliminated. Much has been learned and remains to be learned by the small business owner. At the heart of every small business is a desire to help a target market. The need has not gone away, but the delivery process has changed and in many ways a change for the better.
Go back a year or even six months, remember how much time was spent setting appointment with a prospect and the difficulty that presented. New technology such as Zoom has enabled faster meetings with decision makers. We realize that we now can accomplish more in less time, not having to navigate through traffic and scheduling.
Sure, new problems arise! When you saw a prospect in person, you had a chance of walking away with an order or a commitment. Now new methods have to be developed in order to get the order. Learning a new way of prospecting and communicating is a must.
Even with technology, you can still differentiate yourself. Learn to stay away from “the norm” such as social media as your main source of prospecting. Content becomes critical and a focused marketing campaign is essential. (Reach your prospect where he is not where you think he will be.)
Human touch will not go away. Personal notes such as birthday wishes and thank you cards will become more important than ever. A warm telephone call will help build rapport since it will no longer be your primary marketing and tool.
This is an exciting time for small business owners. The secret is to adapt to the new norm and become the leader in marketing and communications. Your customers will appreciate the speed with which you can offer your services.
Building trust will still be a challenge. Even with the new normal, we are still in the people business. I believe that your data base management process will become one of the main success-lines for your business.
Don’t be afraid to make a mistake as you embrace the new way of growing a business; that is how one learns.
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