Step 3: Map your network
For this step, you have to distinguish between customers and business contacts. Map your contacts and make sure you have a digital connection with these contacts. You can do this by, for instance, following them on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other media. Make sure you create a moment of contact with them and keep them informed of your activities. Do not spam, but follow and respond to what they publish and do themselves. Take the initiative and be involved with what they express. For the record, by contacts, we mean the people behind your customer’s organisations. After all, people do business with people. We’re all in the same boat and what’s going on right now affects us all. However, avoid unnecessary jokes and polarising statements; be creative and interested.
Potential business contacts are not part of your network but you can approach them in the same way. A rule of thumb here is that when you are digitally connected to someone, it is important to keep that connection alive by reacting to his or her activities. A like or a short response can work wonders.
Step 4: Speak your mind and be committed
The power of a relationship manager is personal contact, but if you are at home in times like these, you will have to compensate by being even more active digitally. Make yourself heard somehow. Action and reaction is what it’s all about. If you get a like on a post, send a personal message and make contact. If you receive a response to an article or statement you’ve just published, pay attention to your contact’s response and build on it. Posting messages via Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter strengthens your digital profile, so be committed and consistent. Do not polarise and do not seek confrontation. Your profile as a sales professional is about one thing and one thing only; connecting!
Step 5: Plan your day and take commercial hours into account
It takes iron discipline to take on the fight against time. Time flies by quickly, and before you know it, you’ll find yourself in a pile of e-mails and administrative work. That’s why planning your day is one of the most important activities that determine the success of your work.
Divide your day into three main activities:
- Preparation: prepare call lists, specifically for projects that require calls to be made.
- Customer contact: especially calling, initiating video conference.
- Reference work: reporting, handling e-mails, updating customer registration system.
When planning your daily activities, you take the commercial hours into account. These are from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 16:00.
Business contacts are more accessible during commercial hours. Preparing call lists, writing reports, answering e-mails and contacting colleagues will be done outside commercial hours.
Step 6: Inject your knowledge back into the organisation and make your work visible to others.
Being cooped up at home isn’t fun, but it is no reason to be less productive. In difficult times, people gravitate towards trusted relationships and avoid risks. For a relationship manager, the focus will have to be on eliminating risks and building trust. Every moment of customer contact is an opportunity to build trust, gather knowledge, start projects and involve colleagues in your work process. Make a short report of your observation in your customer registration system, and link an activity to it if necessary. Make use of the organisation’s capacity and initiate future contact moments to ensure the continuity of your work.
The storm will eventually pass and the aftermath of the virus will leave its scars on humanity. Man is a great creature, we are made to survive, and the vast majority of people are surely going to survive this crisis. I do not believe in the theory of evolution, but I do believe in the evolution of mankind and our capacity to adapt to new circumstances. I hope you see the benefit of this document and I wish you all a healthy and successful life.