Are you worried about how you’re going to keep in touch with your clients while we’re on lockdown because of Coronavirus?
Do you think you might run out of things to say or come across as being insensitive or annoying?
Is it better to say nothing than say something that might seem offensive, crass or pushy?
It’s a scary time for everyone right now. We’re fearful about our own health, our families, our friends and the people around us.
And for those of us who are self employed, we are naturally anxious about how our businesses are going to survive.
Last week we were thrown a lifeline by the Government when we were told self employed people could be given the same level of support as those who are employed.
While those who are in employment have the reassurance of jobs to go back to, many small business owners can’t imagine what their business will look like at the end of this.
What will help you retain clients and win new ones is keeping in touch with people who have used your services and who will need them in the future.
Listen the podcast on this topic:
Knowing what to say can feel daunting
Particularly when you might be facing another ten weeks without seeing people face to face.
So what do you do?
Now is a time to get creative with your content, and also to let people into your world.
Let them see who you are and what you stand for and show off your personality.
If you haven’t already been in touch with your clients, a few weeks ago along with Alison Price from House of Henry, we created a statement template. (You can find out more here: Coronavirus Statement)
It covered the key points customers needed to know about the steps business owners were taking in light of the pandemic.
The templates helped lots of businesses who were struggling to know what to say.
Even since then so much has changed.
For the coming weeks and months there are four key themes around which to create your content if you’d like to keep in touch with your clients.
Share your experience. Don’t be afraid to be honest about how this is affecting you. How are you coping each day?
How are you managing your own family and your pets? What can you share that might be helpful for them to implement?
Sharing your own experience will help you to continue to build the connection you had when you were seeing your clients and their pets face to face.
This is key for when everything returns to normal, for when people go back to work, or on holiday and they need your services.
You don’t want them to forget you – because there will be other pet businesses popping up in your town who will happily snap them up as clients.
The same applies for product businesses. If you’ve built a relationship with your customers and followers, keep in touch.
Carry on sharing your products, be creative and responsive. Share flashback photos from events or of animals using your products.
Keep in touch via e mail and if you don’t feel comfortable selling, just talk about what you’ve been doing.
Ask for feedback on new designs you’ve been working on, talk about what your own pet has been doing to keep you sane.
Don’t be scared to sell because for clients who are at home on full pay will have more money to spend
It can be hard but try to move past the fear of taking action because as long as you are mindful and sensitive of the situation, making contact is not going to be an issue.
As we continue in the coming weeks and months, keep relating and creating content and communications that resonates with your clients.
Get into conversations with your clients and ask how they are.
It’s absolutely ok to ask how their pet is and say that you are missing them. Ask what they’re enjoying about having the extra time at home.
Inquire about how the change in routine is affecting them.
Are they enjoying spending more time with the dog? Have they been doing extra training?
Have they noticed any quirks or funny habits now they’re home all the time with them?
React or respond
So you have a conversation going and they’re telling you what is happening in their world.
How can you shine in the way you respond? What can you do to support them?
Is there a training video you can send them or any written content they might find helpful?
If you have a lot of clients and you see themes in their responses, this is when you can step up and create resources, free or paid, to support them.
In a Facebook live this week, I mentioned a contact Deborah who has a puppy and whose dog trainer contacted her before lockdown to say she had to cancel her lessons.
Deborah urged her to carry on supporting her online. There will be owners who will want this continued support.
If you’d like tips on creating virtual support, this video explains some of the options available.
What are you going to do when things return to normal – or the new normal?
Is there anything owners need to know? Will anything change in your business, products and services?
What do you anticipate you may need to deal with? Separation anxiety? Lapsed training? Bad haircuts?
I saw a post on LinkedIn where an owner was pre-empting her dog having this which you can read here.
What can people or pets look forward to?
How do you think things in your business will change due to lockdown?
This week I’ve spoken to two people who already have one dog but who have fostered and since adopted another since lockdown.
This is wonderful for the dogs having loving new homes and I hope this sends a positive message to you as a pet professional.
These people will need additional support, including walks, food, daycare, products, accessories and training to adapt to the new family member.
The more you can keep in touch with your clients, the more you can prepare for going back to work.
And once you go from 0 to 100mph you’ll be glad of the work you put in during the enforced break.
I wrote this post and recorded the podcast to give a little hope and focus and it was after seeing a message from a client who said she was struggling.
Holding it together when we work on our own is hard.
When something matters so much to us it can be hard to find the words. That’s why I have put together a Coronavirus Support programme over the next four weeks.
Starting week beginning April 6th, there will be weekly calls where we’ll network, brainstorm, figure out what we want to say and find the right words.
If you decide you’d like to take part, the investment is £99 spread over three months, so £33 a month.
You get access to my Blogging for Pet Businesses course which is usually £127.
And a one to one with me for 30 minutes.
Half the spaces have gone already, so if you’d like to sign up here’s the link: