A few months ago we had no idea what 2020 had in store for us, and neither did our clients. As an agency, we lean upon the support of our colleagues to inspire, collaborate and navigate each other through this new economic landscape. For many of our clients however, it’s a different story.
That’s why we’ve pulled together a guide for helping your clients tackle this current crisis. We’ve summed up our key takeaways from the pandemic and how you can action these to ensure your clients remain successful and your relationship emerges stronger than ever. Keep reading to find out how.
Look for work within your work
Retainers, formal briefs and established strategies are all out the window. These are strange times for your client and they’re going to need your expert skills to help them navigate, no matter what those skills they might be. The value that you provided yesterday might be irrelevant now, so focus on problem solving instead of chasing sales.
Help clients reimagine their approach with complementary services that fit your skillset. At seventy7, we’ve been guiding existing and new clients towards solutions that help them adjust to this new normal. We’re always reassessing how we can fulfil our clients’ needs, and if it means pivoting to still life photography and strengthening digital marketing and ecommerce strategies, that’s what we’ll be doing. For some clients, these go beyond the usual services that we provide for them, but they’re always delivered to our same quality standards.
Maintain and grow the relationship
Client accounts are built on two things – the results and the relationship. Now is the time to maintain and grow the latter. Thanks to video calling platforms, one-to-one and smaller, more personal, communications are able to happen more frequently. In a standard week, our digital marketing team spends around 315 minutes talking to our clients. That’s a lot of relationship building.
Conversations with your client should be more than just reeling off your to-do list and upcoming actions. Take the opportunity to strengthen the relationship by brainstorming, asking questions and reflecting with them. Work through their concerns together to ensure that they know you’re in this for the long haul. Value isn’t just something that can be measured by success, it’s all of the steps in between too.
Perform regular client health checks
The effects of COVID-19 have been felt by all, with many businesses sadly succumbing to the change in the economy. This means that it’s more important than ever to stay up to date with your clients’ current situation.
Carry out health checks to learn how their performance has changed, what is affecting their strategy and what their pain points are. Having a strong relationship with your clients will help with this. Invite them to open up and get involved as this will make sure that you’re all on the same page. Track their progress and be diligent to any sudden changes. Detecting and combating issues as soon as they arise is crucial.
Reset your BAU
Your clients’ goals and priorities have likely changed, so yours should too. Following your communications with your client, create a new list of priorities and start to reevaluate your strategy to fit these. Resetting your “business as usual” tasks will help you to keep up with the latest updates and shifts in the economic climate. It’ll also ensure your work is sensitive to the current situation.
A part of refreshing your agenda is also to put into place a new contingency plan for any challenges you might be expecting.
Be lenient, be agile
The word “agile” has been thrown around a lot when it comes to acclimatising to the new business landscape, and you should remember to not only be agile with your work and process, but also with your clients.
Reshuffling budget, employees being put on furlough, campaigns being paused and launch dates being postponed, are all things to expect from your client. And you should be ready to accommodate all of these things. It might mean that your day-to-day isn’t as smooth as usual, but as long as you protect the relationship and keep lines of communication clear, you’ll be best prepared to respond to these challenges.
Stand out when you’re prospecting
Don’t forget to consider your future clients too. Prospecting might sound like an oxymoron during these times, but you shouldn’t let it slide off your radar. When propositioning, you want to stand out more than ever. Your core values and messaging should take centre stage so that if new prospects don’t want to come on board now, they’ll remember you later down the line. Build your pipeline for the future, as well as progressing with the existing clients that you have.
Things to remember post-COVID-19
Right now, it might seem like a post-virus world is miles away, but it’ll come. Businesses will recover, activity will pick up and society will resume. We’ll look back on this period of time and the key actions that we should remember and maintain:
Staying in direct, consistent communication with your clients can only benefit you. It’ll help you to prepare for any crises and remain relevant to your clients’ needs.
Behind all businesses are people, so don’t forget to be compassionate when things don’t go to plan. Let clients know that you’ll support them and will do what you can for them.
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from this pandemic – apart from the importance of washing our hands – it’s to improve on the areas that you could perform more strongly in. Take the time to improve your flaws and finesse your own contingency plan.
Give yourself and your team a big round of applause for not panicking and continuing on in the face of uncertainty. Resilience is what kept you going, and now you’ll be in better stead for the next challenge that you face. Be determined to push forward so you’re not left behind.
We hope that these points were useful for applying to your own situation. If you’d like to discuss any of these ideas in more detail or are looking for solutions to your own issues, we’d love to help. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org today.