Post lockdown easing - what it means for you and your clients
If you’re in the UK ( the same will apply in your country if you’ve been living through a form of lockdown, just the timings and specifics may differ) you’ve by now heard about the broad plan to free us all by the 21st June. At last a firm dot on the horizon to look forward to.
Yesterday we digested the news and talked about what the potential upsides and downsides could be for both clients and client-facing people. A couple stood out for us that we think you would definitely be wise to consider as things ease.
See, we believe there is going to be a massive rush to organise face-to-face meetings as soon as possible with as many of your clients as possible. Catching back up, re-connecting personally, grabbing a coffee…anything to shake the virtual dust off the relationship and bring it roaring back into real-life glorious technicolour.
Thing is, so will every other person and their agency, meaning clients will be inundated with meeting requests that impeach on their time with little or no value delivered.
Put it this way. Unless you are in their top two or three favoured relationships, you’re going to be staying in your virtual meetings with them for a while yet. So the question becomes twofold:
‘Should I even bother to try to arrange a face-to-face meeting? What’s the point when things have been going pretty well over the last crazy year?’
‘How can I develop a relationship good enough to be able to get a face-to-face meeting?’
For both those questions, the answer is - it depends. Even more than before. But the good news is that ‘depends’ can be rationally and objectively defined against the criteria in the chart below:
The dimensions by which to prioritise post-lockdown relationship development
We all have to accept that some of the changes that have happened will be staying with us for the foreseeable future. One of those changes will be the more considered thinking as to whether a face-to-face meeting is even worth it, compared to a virtual conversation. From both sides. For example, we see international travel to meetings becoming a much more difficult activity to justify, therefore local might be the wise play for the time being.
Note that these dimensions will be considered by both you and your clients:
Geography: Perhaps most obviously, but the further away the less likelihood of moving straight back to in-person meetings
Relationship: The more transactional/fragile/distant, the less likelihood…
Moment: The less important the moment for the client, the less likelihood….you get the drift
The good thing is, now you can see that these dimensions can be used to help you prioritise those clients where you even stand a chance in the first place of getting an in-person meeting, or help you control costs, or identify where you have knowledge gaps…it’s a very useful exercise to do.
The even better thing is that the ‘Moment’ dimension can be used to help build relationships with those clients you want to get closer to. That is, the more important the moment to the client, the more they’ll be open to having a conversation with you.
So the bottom line? Don’t be an inadvertent nuisance to your clients. It would even be a blessed relief to some if you say that virtual may be the best way for the time being (but ask them if they’re happy with that too). Your time will come, and you’ll have priority clients identified using the dimensions above. But don’t forget those other clients. Keep delivering value and being relevant and some may even come to you asking to see you in real life.