“Getting on the phone and staying on the phone for a few days every week for the next couple months will be good for you.”
O.K. The virus is in full bloom and the economy as well as our way of life is completely screwed up. We can all agree on that, I’m sure. But in spite of these facts, you have to keep your business going. Lamenting the past won’t do you any good.
I read an article the other day on Twitter from a fellow who billed himself as a “soldier/entrepreneur/TEDx speaker” who advised business owners to not act on ideas they had in the night, and instead involve all employees in a plan to be implemented in 90-120 days. I have to say I am disgusted by such drivel. Most small businesses will be gone in 90-120 days if they don’t act quickly! And while many A/E firms are a little better able to withstand the hit they are taking in terms of revenue declines, there’s no time like the present for some quick action.
So the question at hand is what are you really doing to get more work and get new clients right now? NOW is the time to get out both of your six-guns and start shooting! Here are my thoughts:
- Call your clients. Get on the phone and stay on it. Talk to every client and potential client you can. The best part about calling now is you will be able to reach a lot more people than you ever could pre-virus. Find out what their real needs are. And I’m not talking about their needs for what YOU do necessarily. I’m just talking about their NEEDS. What are their problems? How are they responding to the situation? Is there anything you can do to help? Ask, ask, ask, and ask more questions. I have to believe if you and your other top people would commit to staying on the phone eight to 10 hours a day for a couple days a week and then caucus about it, you will find new work and you will come up with new ideas for services that you can provide to clients.
- Share information with the people you speak with. Tell them what you are hearing and what you are learning. The more people in your clients’ and potential clients’ organizations you talk to, the more intelligence you will gather. And that’s valuable information for everyone else you speak with. And it is going to do nothing but show everyone you are tuned in to what is going on and it’s worth spending their time to talk to you in the future.
- Make better use of social media. Be relentless in terms of sharing all of the information you are learning on how various organizations are faring and responding to the crisis (without violating anyone’s confidences, of course) on every social media channel there is. The more helpful information you share the more of a resource you will become. I have been and will continue to be critical of much of what I see A/E firms posting today on social media. It’s either boring, pictures of employee workspaces or virtual meetings, has nothing to do with clients, or is the same braggardly project stuff they were posting pre-crisis as if everything is just the same. Share new information. Helpful information. Information not available from everyone else. Information YOU have gathered on clients in your specific target markets.
There’s a lot you can do. Getting on the phone and staying on the phone for a few days every week for the next couple months will be good for you. You will learn a lot, get some new clients, and develop a skill and discipline that will pay dividends for years to come. Do it!
Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.