During these challenging times many of us are literally wringing our hands wondering how we can maintain our professional relationships while being under a quarantine. And if you’re a person that provides a service, then you are used to being able to meet with your clients, prospects and referral sources in person at your office, a coffee shop or a restaurant. But as we all know those meetings are simply not possible right now due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
However, even though we are all currently under strict ‘social distancing’ guidelines now, it is still possible for us to continue to stay in touch with our contacts. And more importantly by reaching out to your contacts during this time, you are not only continuing to maintain those important relationships, you will also be providing them with leadership, support and encouragement as well.
Here are 6 tips to help you stay in touch with your contacts in a meaningful way during our ‘stay at home’ mandate.
Make a list of your top contacts
If you’ve been around PSM much in the past, you’ve likely heard us say the best place to start is always with your existing contacts. So begin by making a list of your top 10 clients, top 10 referral sources and top 10 prospects.
Schedule time to check in with your top contacts
Once you have created lists of your top contacts, schedule time in your calendar to begin systematically reaching out to them. Don’t set the expectation that you need to get through everyone in the first day. Instead, schedule time to reach out to a maximum of 3-5 contacts per day – no more. It’s important that when you do reach out, you are able to spend quality time speaking with your contacts rather than just rushing through your contact lists. Use this opportunity to show that you care and are concerned for their welfare just by asking them how they are doing.
Remind them you are okay and will survive
Your contacts will be wondering how you and your business are doing, and if your business is okay. Just by you reaching out to them, you are showing them leadership and also showing them that you have grit during a difficult time. Let your contacts know that you will survive and will be there to help them during and after this challenging time.
Offer resources / advice from your perspective
After you have checked in with your contacts it’s important to conclude the conversation by asking them how you can help them. Also, let them know what resources you have available to help them and their business and what advice you have for them from your industry. This is another great way to show them leadership and support.
Remember your value / key messages
While you are reaching out to your contacts, it’s important to remember your value and what makes you different from your competitors. We don’t want you to recite that value verbatim to your contacts during the conversation, but we do want you to keep your value in mind especially as you are offering advice. Remember to mention things that might be especially handy for your contacts to know. For example, if your business has always had innovative technology and you are confident in your ability to conduct business securely in a virtual environment, that’s a good thing to share with them.
Use video if possible
When you are reaching out to your contacts, it’s ideal if you can schedule a video call with them. This is important for a few reasons. Many of us are frustrated or bored from being stuck at home and just being able to see another professional can be encouraging and motivating. Additionally, it’s also a great way for you to stay more ‘front of mind’ with your contacts if they can see your face instead of just hearing your voice.
Hopefully you can take these tips and put them into practice as you are working your way through this quarantine. In addition, we also have several other blog posts and webinars on our firm’s website specifically to provide help on how to market during this COVID-19 crisis.