We like to share some of our thinking
Getting ready to Reach Out to clients
David Armes | 25th June 2020
You’ve done your homework, invested in reshaping your offer and are now ready to Reach Out to your existing and new customers. You want to tell everyone about it!
Even when there wasn’t a pandemic blighting the world, the amount of noise in your customer’s lives meant that it was getting increasingly difficult for them to hear about new or changed offers. How, therefore, do you put your offer out there so people DO hear it? That’s what we’re going to delve into today, getting you ready to effectively Reach Out.
From what we’ve experienced over the years, both working in customer-facing roles and speaking with hundreds of people about it in workshops, we believe getting existing and potential customers to hear your message boils down to two things:
1. How relevant your offer is to them
They have to NEED it. You’ve already done your homework in this area, having gone through the first step in reshaping your offer. There has to be an inherent demand from your customers for what your offer is. It’s much harder to try to create a need even in the best of times, and to get people to want to listen to why they should need something right now is, frankly, a pipedream. Have faith in your research as it forms the basis of your communications.
They also need to perceive that your offer is AFFORDABLE. This is about affordability in money terms and also affordability in spending their time and energy in acquiring your offer. The real question to answer here is ‘How do you make your offer easy to buy?’
Thirdly, they have to be able to see WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM as an individual, as well as a company. If they can see the benefit for them personally (for example, it may help them keep their job, or they would be seen to be great in the eyes of their company, or even if it genuinely perks up their day), they’re far more likely to hear what you’re saying when you Reach Out to them.
2. How resilient they are in their market, and therefore their potential to buy your offer
As has been made so stark in so many markets and industries today, a huge number of businesses are struggling to survive let alone thrive right now. Facing up to this reality is crucial, as depending on which market you operate in you could spend your valuable time on customers where there simply isn’t budget available at this time, and no appetite to buy anything even if there was.
Ok, so far it feels like a tough journey, right? But there is a very positive outcome to this process to reach out which we’ll get on to now.
Using the above two points, relevance and resilience, you can segment your customers into those who you should prioritise with your communication about your offer. If you’ve got a moment, pull together your list of customers and potential customers and have a go at putting them into this straightforward segmentation:
The exercise here is to think about where you would place each one in the above model, and therefore how and when you will approach them. The following overview of each quadrant will help you:
You know what to change and how. Now you’ve got to move quickly to implement those changes. This does take courage to do so, because you’re taking risks. It may mean investing at a time when you’re facing a free-falling market and collapsing sales. But if you do this quickly you’re already beginning to starve your competition of oxygen. Trust your research. Seek inspiration and insight from it, look outside your business to see if you can find inspiration from others. Use your network, go online, speak to people.
We’re going through the exact same thing. We’ve had to invest thousands of pounds into virtual classroom software, and a huge amount of time and energy in working out how to use it. But we have faith in this course of action, because we did the research with our clients. We had to operationally change how we did things, and pushed ourselves to make it happen. If you have a team, get everyone on board with it and drive a real sense of urgency and purpose.
Your relevance is low to these customers and their resilience to the market is also low. They’re not in a position to hear you.
The number one thing to be here is RUTHLESS. This is the least likely group of customers to hear you when you Reach Out. This segment may be existing customers that are taking up a lot of your time and energy right now, but with little return on your investment in them, and low potential to spend any more with you. If that’s the case then you need to take the courage to take them out of your financial forecast and minimise time spent on them. This may sound heartless, but in doing this you are safeguarding your own business further. Be firm but empathetic about it, explaining the reasons why you cannot continue working in the same way with them. They may well be thankful for it, and in the future could build their resilience enough to become a more valuable customer to you.
This is where your reshaped offer has high relevance, but the client has low resilience and therefore low potential to spend more with you.
This can often be a danger zone, as you may think that because your offer is relevant to them, they are far more likely to spend with you and it sits in your comfort zone. But in reality they are not in a position to do so until they can build their resilience.
For example, you may have a big customer that you’ve worked with for years but they’ve stopped spending due to the pandemic, and you see that they are making redundancies, furloughing staff, reporting falling financial performance and forecasts. They are not currently in any position to spend, but you’ve worked with them for years or they’ve always been on your radar to work with. It’s a tough thing to accept that your time right now is better spent elsewhere, but adopting a ‘Hold’ position here will enable you to maintain the relationship whilst spending time where there’s real potential.
You can adopt the Hold position through utilising two strategies:
Stay visible – be it through updates, emails or thought pieces and news on social media. This is to communicate that you’re there and your relevant for when the time comes that they’re ready to spend
Be patient – there’s nothing here you can force through Reaching Out, and you may well even alienate them with any communication on a new offer when it’s well known that they’re not in a position to invest with anyone right now
The Hold Position should be treated as potential FUTURE income, to be reviewed over time. Don’t over-invest either in your time or energy. Be there through your marketing strategy and monitor this quadrant over time.
You’ve now identified customers that have the lowest potential to spend with you right now, and have a proactive way of managing your business with them. Let’s now turn to those who have potential.
High resilience in the market but you currently have low relevance to them. This means that there is potential to work with them if your offer is right.
However, you’ve just re-shaped your offer! This quadrant therefore is where you should be having ongoing conversations with existing and potential customers about offer development, what their needs are, and NPD. Investing some of your time in this space, perhaps some money in running a pilot with them or getting them to try out your product, will lead to your offer becoming more relevant over time, and lift them into the top-right quadrant, Reach out.
In other words, do spend some time with these customers, but know that it’s unlikely they will spend with you now.
PRIORITY – Reach Out
High relevance and high resilience, you need to Reach Out to these customers NOW. You are likely already doing this with customers, and/or feel ready to do so. In the next article we will detail how to start Reaching Out effectively, giving you the best chance of selling your offer. But you can get started before then by asking yourself two challenging questions:
Why should your existing customers continue buying your offer or spend more?
Why should potential customers take the risk to find out more about you and your offer?
We’ll explore this in more detail in the next blog, when we fully move into step 3 of the React-Rethink-Reach Out-Recover model.