Developing and Increasing Meaningful Connections in a time of crisis
No doubt the world we live and work in has been turned upside down over the past few weeks! Our offices and showrooms are closed, we’re working from home, our manufacturers are closed, our friends and colleagues are being laid off or furloughed, and our customers are slowing their projects or cancelling them all together. None of us really know when this is going to slow down, much less end — we are not in control, and that’s a scary feeling.
But there are a few things you can control — your attitude, your mindset, and your actions!
Now is not the time to sell (with a few exceptions, and I mean very few) — customers aren’t interested in your latest product introduction, your new finishes or your high quality, low cost task chair — customers are focused on their health and well being and that of their coworkers, family, and friends. They are worried about the future of their company and frankly — their job.
Now is not the time to sell — now is the time to serve!
The best, most powerful thing you can do, right now, is to develop and increase the connection you have with your customers, influencers, and prospects — which means you have to stop selling, stop asking for opportunities, and start creating meaningful connections with them.
Look, I get it — for you to stop selling is not going to be easy, and yeah, it’s going to make your budget even tighter. But what your community needs now more than ever is you to serve and support them. The last thing you want to be known for is ambulance chasing during a world wide crisis. I know, you might be ready to stop reading at this point, but stay with me — I think you’ll be glad you did.
Though it’s time for you to stop selling, hear me say this — it is not time for you to binge watch a new show on NetFlix or just hang out around the house! It’s time for you to get focused and start building for the future. It’s time for you to 5X Connect.
A couple of weeks ago, I had a Zoom meeting with a few others to brainstorm ways we could all stay engaged and connected with our clients. The energizing and valuable session is what we call our, “What If Up” brainstorm (more on that in another column). But the basis behind this session was to collectively come up with ideas and ways to serve our various different communities — and from that, came 5X Connect!
What is 5X Connect? It’s you connecting with 5 different people every single day.
This is about having a meaningful conversation with 5 different people, every day, without selling or asking them for an opportunity. Pick up the phone, and start dialing. No email, no text message — use your phone and have a conversation.
First, I made a list of people I wanted to check in on. I started with my current clients, then former clients, then prospects I’ve been working with and from there I went to the contacts in my phone - and made my list. No doubt it's long, but I’ve got a good list to work from. I started, I took one step forward to connecting on a more meaningful level.
Each day, I go down my list, and I call 5 people. It’s not always easy — I’m still working with clients that engaged with us before all this happened. We have to finish their projects, and we have to continue to serve our community, although a lot differently. But I am more than capable of this relationship connection building each day, especially with my increased time during the day.
Then I made a list of questions I wanted to ask — thought starters, if you will, that would keep the conversation focused on them and not me or the services we offer. And from there, I started dialing, with my mindset focused on connection and not the dollar signs — and the results have been amazing.
To help you through this, I created a workbook for you — this includes a quick overview of 5X Connection and a list of questions you can ask. I’ve also included an area for you to list the people you want to call and their phone number. And lastly — there is a page that allows you to keep track of who you called each day. You can download this document at www.sidmeadows.com/5xconnection
Why is this level of connection so important right now? Because right now, you can’t sell. So, relationships are your money-maker right now — and you may not see that payday turn around for more than a year, but after this is over, your connections will remember that you called to check in on them, their business, and see how they were doing in crisis.
That’s what they’re going to remember, and it will lead them to call you back when they are able to buy from you. Why? Because they trust you. They trust your heart and your care for them — beyond the sale. So, connect 5x now, and invest in your future and the future of your customers.
Hopefully soon, there will be a time to start selling again — but for right now, our focus needs to be on one another, on building relationships, and supporting your clients and your community. Now is the time for each of us to realize we have more to offer the world than our products and services — the most valuable thing you can offer anyone during this time is you!