How to win new business in the ‘new normal’
The post-lockdown period could be the best time to win new business, writes Ben Paul. All it takes is the right approach, service innovation, and a positive attitude. Clearly, I am not advocating that a huge global economic downturn is a great thing for the whole business community. My heart genuinely does go out to […]
The post-lockdown period could be the best time to win new business, writes Ben Paul. All it takes is the right approach, service innovation, and a positive attitude.
Clearly, I am not advocating that a huge global economic downturn is a great thing for the whole business community. My heart genuinely does go out to those who had a great business model, which was potentially wrecked by the pandemic. However, for those providing services to other businesses and organisations, it has potentially created some new opportunities. As organisations start to grapple with reduced income and a reduction in profits, they’ll start to look at their costs in more detail.
Why cost cutting can help you win new clients.
The headline above almost seems counter-intuitive. If firms are cutting costs why does this present an opportunity to open the door to an organisation that has previously slammed it shut on you? Simply put, most businesses are looking to reduce their costs, however, they will still require many of these products or services to maintain their day to day running. Some of these services may even be essential to them, but they may just need to reduce what they are currently paying to preserve shrinking profit margins.
Below is a list of three key areas where in ‘the new normal’ you may be able to win new clients. In fact, now, it may perhaps be a truly unique time where it could potentially be easier to win new clients over maintaining existing ones.
1. Responding to a short turn-around RFP.
In the ‘normal’ environment, if you weren’t expecting an RFP (Request For Proposal) to arrive and you have a really short turnaround time, I’d recommend that you try and avoid responding to it. It has that sniff of someone being happy with their incumbent supplier, but for whatever reason (typically a budget threshold being exceeded) they now have to formally put an RFP out. However, this isn’t the normal business environment.
If you’ve been asked to submit a response at two days’ notice, there’s most likely only one reason for this. That is that the business issuing the RFP is looking to trim its costs as soon as possible. Normally decisions aren’t based on price, or at least solely on price. However, this isn’t the normal business environment. This means there is a real opening if you can somehow be innovative and through delivering a more streamlined service, save that business money. In the ‘new normal’ you have a better than normal chance of winning. Which brings me to the second point.
2. Innovation – can you provide a more efficient and cost-effective service?
Post lockdown, everyone is looking at their business models and how they deliver their services, which means it’s a good time for you to do the same. Is there a way you can perhaps revisit what you deliver? I’m not advocating that you drop your prices. However, are there some additional extras with what you provide that you can strip out? If you can do this, you can offer a service which still meets your clients’ and potential clients’ needs, and also does it at a price point which is much more palatable in the present climate.
3. Be kind and empathetic – invest in relationships.
This is important in any economy – even more so in the one we are now all faced with. Your clients and customers will be facing higher than normal levels of anxiety and stress. This means that you will need to be patient and empathetic with them. Really start to lessen, and even avoid, your own interest and agendas in every interaction. Instead, simply listen and see if, when they share problems with you, you can help them. This may be by introducing them to someone you know, outside your company, who can help them.
Now is not the time to start delivering well-crafted sales pitches. Asking how someone is and then at the earliest opportunity hitting them with your ‘elevator pitch’, will end up with you being stuck in the basement. When people are sharing concerns with you, show empathy more than ever, and listen.
Winning business in the new normal.
Nobody relishes uncertainty, and we are certainly heading into an uncertain economic and social period. No-one is clear on how long the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will last, either domestically or globally.
However, uncertainty does bring with it opportunity for those with the right approach to capitalise on.
Ben Paul is director and founder of The BD Ladder, a business development and marketing consultancy focused on provided B2B service providers with practical advice that delivers results. He can be contacted at [email protected]