“Why did you reach out?”
It was an important question to ask a CEO. I had a sense, of course. I hadn’t planned to ask him that question during our initial phone call, but I am glad I did. I listened closely and learned a lot.
His senior leadership team had only known growth together, and together, they were trending toward another record revenue year in 2020. Now, that isn’t going to happen. They are adapting to a much different landscape, modeling scenarios and being forced to make critical decisions in the absence of complete information. He was genuinely concerned about the ability of the team to come together and remain aligned as they prepare to navigate this next normal. He also was intent on coming out on the other side well-positioned to compete and win.
Together, we decided upon and developed a two-hour strategy session for his executive team. I delivered the content and facilitated the discussion. They received an outside perspective and engaged in a very healthy debate about the future. It was a great experience, but most importantly, it was a valuable lesson for doing business in this uncertain time.
The Power of Personalization
Customization and personalization have always been important, but they have never been more critical as your clients navigate a set of circumstances they never anticipated. Like you, your customers don’t necessarily have all the intelligence they need to make informed decisions. But as a trusted adviser, you are there to provide compassion, counsel and work with your customers to find solutions — and tailor your products and services to fit their brand new needs.
Ask the Right Questions
As you plan for these conversations, here are a few questions worth considering:
- What will be a priority for clients in the next few months?
- How can you deepen your relationships?
- What will be a priority for customers when the market shifts?
- What impact does that have on your shift in strategy and resource allocation now?
- Are you operating in a “contraction” or “expansion” mindset?
What we delivered for our customer was customized to his specific need and most urgent set of challenges. As a result, it landed in terms of value and ROI. We will have a much more thorough debrief this week so I can listen, learn and lean into delivering value during our next session.
Lead With Compassion
As you navigate this crisis, make sure that you truly listen to your customers. Lead with compassion and ask them about their challenges and the changes they’ve had to make. Engage your client advisory board. Get the perspective you need to bring value to your customers today and serve them at their highest need into the future.
And once that process is complete, begin to address the changes you need to make immediately. It has never been more important — for you and your customers.