For most of us, the weekend of March 14th, 2020 is more or less the beginning of when Life Stood Still and most businesses came to a screeching halt. I don’t know about you, but to me, it seems like a very long time ago. All of a sudden traffic disappeared from the streets and a very weird quiet ensued, not at all welcome.
Here in Massachusetts, only businesses deemed “essential” could remain open. Elite Envelope was fortunate to be on that list given our connection to the mail from converting and printing envelopes as well as producing direct mail products on our web presses. We enforced all the usual precautions for the safety of our staff and soldiered onward into the unknown.
2020 started out very strong for us. January and February were two of the busiest months we ever had and that spilled over into March. Then in April, as Elmer Fudd famously said, things started to get very, very quiet. This continued through May and then in June we started seeing some tentative increase in activity which, thankfully has continued as the year has progressed.
Navigating our sales and marketing through this, wait for it, “unprecedented” time has been challenging to say the least. But overall, I think we’ve done quite well (thus far!) and I wanted to share a few things which have helped pull us through.
Stay Focused on What you Can Control – When things are in a state of upheaval and change, it’s easy to get anxious and ultimately distracted. As the Stoics taught us, the first part of handling any situation is determining what is under our control and adjusting our attitude accordingly. Even during a pandemic, the fundamentals of sales and marketing remain the same. So, double down on those.
Keep in Touch – One of the worst aspects of the pandemic is the isolation from social contact. Working at home has its advantages (no commute! no dress code!) but it can also breed loneliness and a desire for connection. I’ve found that more people are answering my e mails these days just to chat. That can be a plus for building relationships with prospects and maintaining them with customers.
Adjust and Manage your Expectations – So much of dealing with a situation like we’re in is mental. It’s natural to look at a significant drop-off in business and get depressed about it. I’ve found it useful to focus on incremental improvements. We’ve never experienced something like this before so it’s important to view things in a relative context. Take a win when you can get one, no matter how small.
Make Full Use of Any Down Time - When the phones aren’t ringing and the e mails stop coming as frequently, fill the gaps with some creative thinking and planning. When business is normal, I’m always lamenting a lack of time for the many things I have on my long-term to-do list. Now’s the time to do things like update your website, cultivate new prospect lists, beef up your online content, etc.
Self-Improvement – This one kind-of falls in the category above about making good use of time but specifically with respect to you personally and professionally. Make time to stay in shape and get outside as much as possible. Also, maybe take an online class to do something like improve your Excel or social media skills. The New England Direct Marketing Association is a great organization and offers regular seminars on marketing related topics of interest.
I’d love to hear what your strategies have been to cope with all this. Send me an e mail!