There is no doubt that we are currently experiencing extraordinarily challenging times. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. During these times, it is critical to communicate directly and frequently with existing clients. It’s also a good time to be a visible expert and communicate with other important audiences, including potential clients. There are some guidelines to remember.
1. Stick to what you know
Don’t try and comment on the details of what is happening from any other angle than your own area of expertise. If you’re not an expert in viral pandemics, don’t comment on the medical implications. Express opinions and give relevant and practical advice on aspects of the crisis that you are an expert in. Give practical advice on areas of your expertise that are impacted by the crisis, e.g. advice for individuals and businesses on the economic implications, legal implications etc. Try and think through the issues and give some predictions of possible outcomes, so clients can stay ahead of the ramifications and make proactive decisions.
2.Be realistic, not alarmist
It’s important not to add to the panic. At this time, people need factual and useful information and want to know your expert opinion. Any predictions you make should be sensible and based on facts and past experience. It doesn’t help anyone if clients are making ill-advised reactive decisions. There is already a degree of hysteria happening, so anything you can do allay fears will be positive and will help speed up the recovery.
3. Use the opportunity to showcase your expertise
As well as a time to allay the fears of clients, an event like this is also a good time to show thought leadership and become an authority in your area of expertise. It’s not about being opportunistic and selling unscrupulously but giving valuable practical information that people appreciate. This can help potential clients get a sense of what it’s like to work with you. If their existing provider is not giving them the same information, you could be viewed in a more favourable light by comparison.
4. Give away more for free than normal
Finally, give away more than you might during other times. Now is the time to be very generous with your expertise. Clients and prospects will appreciate it and it can help differentiate you. Give free webinars on topics that you may normally reserve for paid workshops. In times of uncertainty, most people have an innate need to control something in their lives. If you can give them practical valuable information, which helps them to make decisions, they will be grateful. It will strengthen the trusted relationship with existing clients and help to begin a trusted relationship with potential clients.