As I write this article, the world is overwhelmed with quarantines and lockdowns. Lockdowns have put businesses and even countries on hold and while we aren’t technically in a recession, one could be imminent.
What does this mean? As a business leader, the question you need to ask yourself is…
Are you serving your clients or feeding the noise?
“The world is fighting through a Pandemic!” - this is not news
“Entire sections of the economy are shut down!” - this is not news
“Entire Countries, cities, and towns are in quarantine!” - this is not news
These statements are not news, they're feeding the noise.
Has anyone here NOT heard the 3 statements above? Is there anyone UNAWARE that our city, country, and industry are being massively impacted by COVID-19?
I would wager the answer is, “no” — we’re all aware of the impact that the coronavirus has had. Yet, as I speak with my clients, sales and recruiting teams, read LinkedIn, or any other business information source, that has become the default for our entire conversation because we let it.
If we are truly going to care for our clients during these times, if we are truly going to shepherd their interests, we cannot allow ourselves to be thermometers. We need to be thermostats.
What does that mean? Great question!
/THərˈmämədər/ - noun
an instrument for measuring and indicating temperature, typically one consisting of a narrow, hermetically sealed glass tube marked with graduations and having at one end a bulb containing mercury or alcohol that expands and contracts in the tube with heating and cooling.
/ˈTHərməˌstat/ - noun
a device that automatically regulates temperature, or that activates a device when the temperature reaches a certain point.
A thermometer merely records the temperature. It reflects, passively, what it is given.
A thermostat controls the temperature. It directs, actively, what it is given.
Right now people have a tendency to freeze and wait. Instead, it is crucial that we take what we’re given and actively move forward. We need to be leaders during this time because this – as all things do – will end. When it does end, the condition of our clients and our own businesses will be impacted by the choices that we make today.
If we are going to serve our role as shepherds of our client’s interests, that means we have to be thermostats and actively impact what our clients are thinking versus passively, like thermometers, listening, and riding along with them on the journey.
What does this mean?
I’m not suggesting that the next time you speak to a client, a prospect, or a co-worker that you cut them off at the first mention of COVID-19, shutdowns, or recession. Instead, I’m suggesting that you hear them out and take charge of the conversation.
Ask them questions that make them think and that reminds them that there will be a tomorrow on the other side of this.
These questions can look like…
- How is this impacting your clientele?
- What are you doing to help them through this?
- How are the changes from the pandemic impacting how you do business?
- What could you do to help your clients through this?
- What product or service would make sense for you to offer that will help your customers?
- What are you doing now that will set you up for success in 3 months? 6 months? 1 year?
- Have you decided to name your next child after me (just making sure you’re paying attention!)?
- When this is over and you look back, what decisions will you be proud of?
- What decisions can you make now that will position you for greater success when this is over?
These are just a short sample of the types of questions that you can ask that will help your clients to start thinking about tomorrow.
What questions are you asking? What questions could you ask to help get your clients snap out of their mental paralysis? I’d love to hear about them.
I recently discussed how most businesses reacting to the coronavirus fall within two areas. Regardless of which category you find yourself in, there will be a tomorrow at the other end. The question is – what kind of tomorrow will that tomorrow be for you and for your clients?
I know what we’re doing at Prominent for our customers; I know that we are taking the stance of a Thermostat over the Thermometer. And, unlike most Dads, who always want to turn the thermostat down, I expect our team to turn up the heat!