Article by Rastislav Zachar, Co-Founder of Performia Czech Republic & Owner of Business Success, translated from Czech to English.
The old known truth that every organism is alive to the extent that it communicates with its environment is very true 100% more today. And if we want to stay alive as a company, our clients and suppliers certainly belong to this category of people.
From the communication point of view – in the business there is no time today to pretend we are heroes and we know it all, that we can solve everything and deliver everything, because we are for many years on the market.
This type of smug attitude towards the market could be deadly in today’s situation. Today is the time when we should primarily be humble as if we would just start the business, trading or managing the business.
Therefore, if possible, visit your business partners personally. Like businessmen, or managers. If it is not possible, call them, write them an email. And when you talk to them, do not push, do not try to sell right away (exception is that your business is running despite what is happening around us).
You have no idea in what state they are, what they are solving, what they need. So be honestly interested in how they are doing, how they feel, how they handle it, what they are doing, how their employees are doing and how their family is doing.
Be really interested. Let them talk. We may not even realise it sometimes, but pure and selfless interest and ability to communicate what you have in your mind is the most valuable thing we can give to a person in need. And if it is true that honest trade is first and foremost about ‘help’ and it should be beneficial for another side, this type of communication in the current situation is probably the best one. I recommend it to you and your customers as well as suppliers. They need to get it off their chest.
Perhaps then you can communicate with your business partners what you are handling and which problems you need to face and how you feel and what is your experience. Admit it openly. Of course, you should not cry at the meetings, on the other hand, do not hide your feelings. Communicate sincerely and tell the truth, which is important for a good relationship (not only today).
There is no time for false heroism and professional poker face. It is time for humanity in its purest form. You may be surprised how much participation or understanding you will get back for your frankness. And at the same time, you will get willingness of the other party to help you, to support you.
Personally, I am convinced that if you are really, truly interested in the current state of your business partners, and you frankly tell them what you are dealing with and how you feel, you will naturally find out during the conversation how you can help each other under current circumstances as suppliers or customer and how you could help each other survive this time. Because, as the economy has fallen unexpectedly and hard on the butt, we all have to get off the pedestal and start to look after our relationships, needs of our partners – not routinely- but again from the beginning, as a new start, the new unit of time. Investigate, investigate, try to understand the current real state of other party and act accordingly as best as you can.
In closing I want to say this: Maybe, even when you follow the above, you might not close a deal. Because it is not real at the moment. But this time will be over sooner or later and be sure that when the situation calms down, people will remember very well who communicated with them and who really cared about them. And your business restart will be easier.