Jon Plate, innovation and growth expert at PA Consulting, explains how to maintain sales in a COVID-19 crisis.
The corona crisis is expected to hit sales in Danish companies hard. Among other indicators, a survey of Danish industry's (DI) member companies shows that 69 per cent estimate that revenue for April will be lower than last year.
That demands a strong focus on sales. So what can businesses do themselves to keep their customers and make them keep buying in a time of crisis?
In the article, Jon underlines that the corona crisis provides both positives and negatives for companies' sales.
On the negative side, the economic uncertainty of the crisis is reflected in some consumers adopting a frugal approach. But on the positive side, deferred purchases of major consumer goods, e.g. cars, home appliances and experiences such as weddings, confirmations and Tivoli tours, are all waiting to be made soon.
In addition, there is a general desire to help "keep the wheels spinning".
“People may want to save a little, but there is also a feeling of compassion and community spirit, which means that we want to support smaller businesses with our purchases and shop as locally as possible. And you have to take advantage of that,” Jon says.
And how do you do that?
“First and foremost, as a company, you must be "extremely customer-oriented". Increase customer contact and service levels, e.g. by calling customers and asking: Is there anything we can help you with?” Jon continues.
In addition, Jon advises prioritising profitable customers and considering whether you can sell subscription service solutions, e.g. lighting in an airport as a service rather than the airport itself having to buy and maintain the system. The same can apply to other maintenance work. This approach can mean that the customer does not have to make a large one-off investment, but can pay limited fixed costs over time.
However, Jon cautions that although there is goodwill particularly towards small and medium-sized companies, many customers face a liquidity problem or uncertainty that is causing them to hold onto their money.