Is this the REAL threat to your business during Covid-19
There’s something I want to talk about today that I’m seeing a lot of right now and I’m really fearing for a lot of small business owners because of it. In fact it’s the thing I think is creating the most danger for a lot of the small business owners in my community – and I’m seeing it over and over again right now.
And it’s NOT this situation with Covid-19 – though it is related
The most dangerous thing you could be doing right now in the present situation is to be making assumptions about what your clients are thinking and feeling.
Assumptions about whether they can afford to work with you or not.
Assumptions about what they will think of you if you are continuing to run your business, including your sales and marketing.
Assumptions about how they are responding emotionally to the current situation.
And I wanted to talk about this because it’s actually your assumptions that are likely to cause you more damage than the actual facts of the situation we’re in.
You see, we have the situation that we’re facing right now and the reality of that. But then there’s how you are layering your own belief system and your own set of assumptions on top of the reality. And it’s this that is probably going to cause you the most problems.
Let me begin by telling you a story:
A number of years ago, near the beginning of my business I was doing some freelance sales as a way of bringing in some side income. My job was to sell 1 day workshops to small business owners, mainly therapists and healers. A lot of this group could not afford to come to these £47 workshops. When they came on that one day workshop, they were invited to join a 3-day course for £1500. And after the 3 day course there was a £10,000 programme. I remember I had to call a lady to try and sell her a place on the £10,000 programme. I remember feeling cross with the people I was working for because I just felt it was a waste of my time. I “knew” this woman didn’t have the money, but in addition she didn’t seem to me to be somebody who had much money. In other words I made assumptions.
But when I finally made the phone call it turned out that she’s already decided to join the programme – she told me she had £350,000 pounds in the bank sitting there doing nothing and she may as well spend it on growing her practice. Now for me at the time, that was a huge shock. I’m from a family background where we don’t have that sort of money sitting around and it was really eye-opening for me that this lady, about whom I’d formed judgements and made assumptions, actually had such a large amount of money.
The reason I’m telling this story is because you might also be getting caught up in making assumptions about other people’s financial situations, and other people’s feelings and thoughts.
And this is doing more damage to your business than covid-19 will
The truth is that right now, you’ve probably got a valuable service to offer and you might be worried that perhaps your clients can’t afford it right now. But watch your thinking very carefully.
Connect in with YOUR Clients
Yes, there are people right now who have lost their income. My partner is one. He’s a chef and so right now he’s at home in the next room without an income.
But I would encourage you to tune into YOUR client group, and those people who you know that you are here to serve, and who you are building a business around serving. Instead of having a knee-jerk reaction instead ask yourself this question:
Is a typical client in my ideal client group struggling financially right now?
Because what you may find is that in your case they’re not. So yes, we’ve got people who have lost their incomes very quickly in the course of a week, but we’ve got many more people who still have their full income – and they’re now working at home. This presents a great opportunity for them – and for you.
So truth is that for many of you, your typical “ideal client” is both more cash-rich and they more time-rich than they were 2 weeks ago. They are not spending money on petrol, train fares, restaurants, drinking, shopping sprees, weekend trips away, holidays. They are saving 1-3 hours per day on commuting, so they have the luxury of all that extra time. What this means is that there are many, many people in the country right now who actually have more time and more money to invest than at any time previously.
And some, like the lady in the story, will have pots of savings or other income they could choose to invest.
Don’t assume that everyone is feeling the same
And yes, I totally get that some people are feeling a anxious or nervous right now. Some people don’t cope well with uncertainty and might find it hard to make a decision to buy from you. Some people are feeling cautious and are choosing to tighten their belts in case of what might come. This is also a reality.
But for every person who’s choosing to tighten their belts, there will be another person who’s choosing to invest in their personal or business development, in their dreams and goals, or something they’ve been putting off doing for a long time. Again I can use myself as an example: at the weekend, just a few days into “lockdown” I made an investment in a mastermind level programme. I did it because it’s the right thing for me to do right now, irrespective of what’s going on in the world with regards to the coronavirus and any impact that could have on my own business.
So I can’t emphasise this enough:
Don’t make any assumptions about what other people are thinking or feeling, or about their financial situation.
The only person who knows whether they can afford to work with you or not is potential client. It’s not your job to decide for them, or make assumptions, or tell yourself stories.
To share another personal story, a number of years ago I was unable to work because of debilating ME/CFS symptoms. Because I wasn’t earning money I had a strong story around “lack” and would tell anyone who would listen how “poor” I was because I didn’t have any money coming in. Yet at that very same time as I was pleading poverty to anyone who would listen I had over £100,000 in savings and investments.
And guess what? Every time I came across something that I really wanted to do, I had the money to do it. And during that time when I was telling everyone around me I had “no money” (and on some level I actually believed it myself) I invested over £9,000 in a personal development programme, multiple 10’s of thousands in retraining myself in various modalities, and well over £10,000 on healing my health.
So I reiterate:
The ONLY person who can make the decision whether they see the value in paying you right now is the potential client themselves.
And YOUR only job is to serve them by making them aware that you exist, making sure they know about the service that you offer, making sure you clearly articulate the value and benefits to them of working with you, and where appropriate, making a clear invitation for them to take the next step to find out more, or a direct invitation to sign up to work with you.
Because when a potential client of yours makes a decision to work with you, the decision they are actually making is the same as it was before the current crisis.
“Does it feel worth it to me to make an exchange of the money in my bank account for this particular outcome right now?
And for very many of you, the answer to that question is going to be yes.
Now I don’t want to make light of or skim over the fact that there is a reality for many people in our population at the moment who have genuinely lost their incomes, or are fearful of losing their job.
But there are many, many more people for whom the only thing that has changed currently is that they are working from home and their income has not changed significantly – they are more cash rich and time rich than ever before. And there are many business owners whose businesses are strong and that still meet a need during current times who are still working on and investing in their businesses. One of my clients is set to have her highest turnover month ever this month – all because she is meeting a direct need right now. And there are many people who need additional help to adjust to the current times – like parents needing help with homeschooling, or business owners pivoting to take their work online. And there is every likelihood vhat they are just as able to make an investment in that help as they were a few weeks ago.
There is a huge proportion of our population, more time-rich and more cash-rich than they have been for years. They’re at home, they’ve got time to work on things, whether it’s getting creative projects off the ground, or working on something or making a change they’ve been putting off. This is their perfect opportunity and it’s also your perfect opportunity – as long as you choose to be available, to offer your services, clearly communicate the value, invite people where it’s appropriate – and let them them be the one who decides.
Where are you making assumptions about your clients instead of allowing them to make that decision for themselves? Could these assumptions have been costing you clients in recent months? And what are you going to do differently now?
I always love to hear from you so do type in the comments below and let me know!