It’s hard to take in that the world … the entire world … is sharing one event. While each country, culture, region is experiencing COVID-19 differently, and each individual is having unique reactions and responses, we are all being impacted by this pandemic at the same time.
So, in our conversations with clients and prospects, it is crucial we don’t ignore this fact. We must find a way to express our compassion while still supporting our desire, and need, for economic stability and growth. Not doing this risks more than the loss of business; we risk the greater loss of trust, loyalty and long-standing relationships.
How can we express our compassion during this challenging time? What might happen if we don’t?
The word ‘compassion’ comes to us from the 14th century and it literally meant “a suffering with another”. How appropriate! We are all “suffering” though this pandemic together and if we don’t acknowledge this in our conversations, emails and messaging, we will come across as cold, detached, in denial, self-centred and opportunistic.
What we do now, what we say now, will be remembered long after social distancing and isolation begin to decline. When the time arrives, and our prospects and customers begin to make decisions about budgets and suppliers, the companies and individuals that offered, with generosity, their help and support, will be much more likely to receive the business.
The truth of this lies in our own reactions to messaging we are receiving these days. When you read the emails coming in from your cellphone provider, your accountant, your landlord, how do they make you feel? How do you react to the absence of generosity and compassion? How will this influence your relationships going forward?
- I’ve been a customer of Scotia Fuels for over 21 years. Their recent email made me so proud to be their customer and I can’t think of how any company could now persuade me to move my business elsewhere. “For those who may be experiencing financial difficulties, we will continue to keep in place the following practices:
- We are extending credit terms and stopped charging interest on overdue accounts, at least until May 25 and likely beyond depending on how this situation develops.
- We have stopped charging fees for NSF payments.
- We will not be cutting off any customers from oil delivery. No one needs to worry about not having oil for heat and hot water.
- Our Credit Department is here to help.
We will get through this together.”
- The photo for this post is of The Westin Nova Scotian. Despite the fact that the tourism industry is one of the hardest hit during this crisis, the staff took the time to create a heart by lighting the windows of their empty rooms to thank Nova Scotia’s front line workers. Amazing! And while it may be a coincidence, this hotel has been chosen to house navy crews sequestered prior to deployment for the next two weeks to avoid the risk of COVID-19.
- A colleague shared with me this email he received last week. (It’s possible this email is part of a drip campaign, so here’s your reminder to check your campaigns and revise any messaging than could now be deemed inappropriate!) Hi Soandso, It’s Jennifer with ABC Company, I gave you a ring but wanted to make sure you didn’t miss the opportunity to keep your leads rolling in. I can get you scheduled to speak with someone on my team to make sure we are the right source for you. Does sometime next week work for you? The chances of this salesperson becoming a trusted advisor are very slim.
How can you express your compassion and not totally derail a business conversation? How can you comfortably move from emotion to logic? I’ll be providing you with ideas next week and, if it fits with your schedule, join me for my free 30-minute Dial In webinar on either April 7 or 8, where I’ll be providing tips on compassionate conversations.