Are You Mothballing Or Experimenting?

Which commercial endeavours will emerge healthy out the other side of the coronavirus pandemic?

FT columnist Pitila Clark suggests those that shut-up shop will struggle once we have the great reopening. Whereas those that have been a touch DIY, given something a bit different a go, will likely flourish more.

She is not alone in this thinking. See also author and management observer Margaret Heffernan for instance. Her recommendations to seek new ‘partnerships’ all over the place are seminal. With this additional fascinating paragraph as cited by the FT’s Andrew Hill;

In future, Ms Heffernan says bosses will have to draw on the skills of three groups:
artists, who “keep moving and recognise that they often fail”;
activists, “comfortable enough with uncertainty not to promise certainty where there is none”;
and doctors, “driven by a passion at least to do no harm and at best to search for cures”.

Pitila Clark is intrigued by how bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes have behaved throughout the pandemic lockdowns.

With the not unreasonable suggestion that such behaviour is mirrored in the more commercial, b2b realm. The one we solution sellers inhabit.

If you mothball, which pretty much means doing only what you did before at tiny scale or even none, then how can you truly expect to ‘bounce back’ when the corona fog lifts?

The easy answer is, that you cannot.

Rather think of all those hospitality venues that have tried something. She lists eateries turning into butchers, bakers and grocers, bistros launching wine subscription delivery, pubs now offering click-and-collect soup, new takeaway menus and mini kegs of beer.

It doesn’t stop there. Consider gyms that see themselves now less as a space to workout, but more hosting a community of healthy lifestyle followers.

All manner of newly crafted home delivery, gift boxing, and online meeting now applying to enterprise barely touched by such up to 2019.

These adaptions – yes, to use the jargon, pivots – underway may not make a fortune, but they are immeasurable in the washing of face and engendering a real platform for reconfigured longterm viability.

As The Economist added;

“…as covid-19 recedes, the firms which did transform their activities will retain and build on their new ways of doing things.”

The opposite of mothball here is to experiment.

Solution sellers must master the video call.

A given now.

But there’s so much more beyond the mere virtual, visual presence.

How we set these meets up. How we present ourselves on them. How we pitch our case in them.

Not to mention the raft of associated activities that must now also be taken online.

From discovery to delivery.

As is the case with a new way of working, there will be many falls.

Here’s a line from my book, Video Calls That Sell: 52 Ways To Get What You Want From Virtual Meetings;

As ‘change’ guru John Kotter drily notes; careful when you explore new ways of working, not everything will work perfectly the first time.

Time to get cracking, and keep on with the crack.

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