Running a business can be tricky, and even more tricky when done remotely. Nonetheless, you need to keep connected with your customers. Create a plan for how and when you will communicate and what tools you will use to ensure you maintain long-lasting relationships. First, we will discuss the types of one-on-one communication you need to account for in your plan. We will then cover the tools and techniques you can use to accomplish this .
Types of one-on-one communication:
Right now, during these uncertain times, check-ins are crucial. These are non-sales conversations to remind your customers you are there for them. By remembering that many companies (including your customers) are likely under similar strain and pressure as you, your messaging can bring a sense of compassion and support. Some companies may not currently have the means to invest in promotional products, but by planning to check in, you can continue to lay the bricks for a solid relationship for when the crisis is over. Later in this course, we will outline how to make your dialogue more personal.
Another touchpoint to include in your communication plan are review calls. For some, business is slow, giving people an opportunity to slow down and reflect, make changes and improvements, and prepare to hit the ground running when this is all over.
One way to connect with customers and help them prepare for the future is by scheduling time to review the effectiveness of their recent past purchases and the goals behind them. Spend some time in advance to create a collaboration worksheet to work through together on a review call. Start by remembering the “why” behind the initiative: what were they hoping to achieve by making the purchase? Next on the agenda, dig into how it went. Here are some topics to address as you document the outcome:
What went well?
What could have gone better?
How was it received and how did people react?
Were there any measurable results from this initiative?
If they were to make this purchase again, what would you do differently? Consider timelines, messaging, how the products were distributed, and so on.
Follow up the review call with a summary, something your customer can refer back to when they are ready for their next initiative. This also provides you with a way to gently offer suggestions for their next promotional product purchase, which may even inspire them to move forward now. Understanding the impact a purchase had on their business (whether it converted directly into sales, boosted customer loyalty, or increased brand recognition) may indicate that making an investment now, during these trying times, could be one of the better investments they can make with their limited budget.
While sales are the ultimate goal, pushing products and ideas to customers that are struggling may appear insensitive and tone deaf. This does not mean there is no opportunity to sell. To frame your sales efforts in the right light, take precaution on messaging and timing. We highly recommend only moving into one-on-one sales communications after you have checked in with your customer - not before. Use what you learn in this check-in to cater your sales effort to their current situation. Identify where Promotional Products may help them through some of the challenges they are facing or concerns they have.
Example: A local gym
After checking in with a local gym you work with, you learn that they are worried about members cancelling their memberships due to the location being closed. In a situation like this, Promotional Products could serve as a reminder that while the doors are shut, access to the trainers and online classes are still available. Present your customer with an idea to drop ship “workout at home” kits that include a branded yoga mat, water bottle, and exercise bands. Add a print out with a personal note from the founder - a “we’re here for you” message. Include details and a schedule of online classes and options for virtual one-on-one personal training.