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Ways to Rebuild Your Client List After COVID-19

5 min read • May 09, 2020 • Derek Miller

The coronavirus is halting business throughout the world. It’s causing an economic downturn, unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The virus isn’t just shuttering local merchants—it’s causing unprecedented changes to corporations and industries that once felt invincible. 

As a small business owner, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed by the challenges and decisions you’re now facing. From applying for additional funding to laying off valuable team members, the actions you take today can have massive implications for your business.

While you may be in survival mode now, you can—and should—plan for life after COVID-19. When the dust settles, what will be your strategy for relaunching? How will you scale your business quickly and efficiently?

For many small business owners, the road to recovery after COVID-19 will involve rebuilding their client lists. Consider following the tips below to help win back lost clients and begin acquiring new ones following the coronavirus pandemic.

Mitigate Lost Clients During the Pandemic 

You don’t have to wait for the pandemic to end to start rebuilding your client list. In fact, you can take steps now to limit the number of clients you lose during the downturn. 

Take a proactive approach and contact your clients (especially your big ones) to discuss their current challenges and future plans. This step isn’t just good customer service, but it’s also a great way for you to strengthen your relationship by offering solutions to make their lives easier. 

Maybe you pause their services for a few weeks or modify payment terms to take financial stress off your customers. Maybe there’s an additional service you offer that they’ve never considered but now would. By offering solutions and flexibility, it’s unlikely you’ll lose clients entirely.

Keep Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) in mind. Your CLV is an important metric to consider right now because it brings the long-term cost of a client into perspective. If you need to sacrifice a little money now to keep a customer around longer, you stand to recoup that revenue plus more in the long run.  

Check and Verify Leads First

Your sales team can save a lot of time and frustration by qualifying and verifying leads before they start the sales process. Whether you’re using a new lead list, a list from prior to the pandemic, or a prospecting list from any number of resources, the first step you should take is double-checking its accuracy. 

Lead qualification can help your sales team prioritize its time. Not all customers are created equal, so take the time to analyze your leads or prospects first and determine which ones are most valuable to your business. If you can weed out leads up-front or target the ones that can have the biggest impact on your company, it will increase the return on your sales effort.

Verifying the accuracy of your lead and prospect information is also an important step. COVID-19 is going to create a lot of vacancies and new positions—so the information you collected previously might be outdated. 

Even if it’s a new list, you should still take time to verify the information was input correctly. It’s not uncommon for people to put fake emails or numbers into forms, especially when accessing gated content.  

Spending a few extra minutes on the front-end can save you substantial time down the road while also increasing your chances of winning the business.

Find Out What Makes Your Business Essential

The term “essential” is popular right now as governments have limited the operations of nonessential businesses throughout the country. Business owners should also use the term essential as a measurement of your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

Following the pandemic, customers are more likely to limit their spending to the goods and services they need the most. Can you articulate what offerings from your business are most valuable and why?

With many industries at a standstill, now is the perfect time to analyze your internal and external business strategies. Consider modifying your marketing language and sales collateral—if necessary—to focus on defining what makes your business unique and why customers need you.

Don’t leave it up to your clients to infer your value. Make it clear and obvious why you’re essential to that customer. 

Be Willing and Able to Adjust to the New Normal

The coronavirus pandemic will reshape the local and global economy. It’s impossible to say what the other side will look like, but one thing is certain: you will need to adapt.

Businesses small and large will have to reinvent their companies. These changes will include operational decisions like whether to outsource or manufacture internally. The changes will also relate to sales and marketing, which will impact your target audience.

For example, luxury products might have lower demand following the coronavirus. Businesses offering these high-margin goods might decide to change their materials, manufacturing, or price to make it more affordable. This strategic decision can help the company scale its clients—albeit in a new market—directly following the pandemic.

As a business owner, you must be willing to learn and adapt. We know the coronavirus will reshape the market; we just don’t know the severity. As the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter, you’ll need to spend time assessing consumer demand and make adjustments to your offerings or target audience based on the data collected.

Reward the Loyalty of Returning or Remaining Customers

Customers are the lifeblood of your company. You should take any opportunity you can to reward their loyalty and show appreciation for their business—especially following a crisis.

Offer additional benefits to customers who stay on during the pandemic and consider extending these benefits to customers who return after the pause period. The extra services or offers will further strengthen the relationship with that customer and can increase their lifetime value.

Moreover, a happy customer may lead to more referrals or additional up-sell opportunities down the road.

Most businesses are going to lose customers during the current coronavirus outbreak. However, by following the steps above, you can limit your lost customers and rebuild your client list quickly after COVID-19.    

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Derek Miller

Derek Miller is the CMO of Smack Apparel, the content guru at Great.com, the co-founder of Lofty Llama, and a marketing consultant for small businesses. He specializes in entrepreneurship, small business, and digital marketing, and his work has been featured in sites like Entrepreneur, GoDaddy, Score.org, and StartupCamp.