With Boris Johnson's most recent announcement regarding the further relaxation of lockdown measures and the first changes to social distancing rules since lockdown began, the main thing that's on most people's minds at the moment is the pubs/restaurants and hair salons/barber's shops reopening from 4th July.
Throughout lockdown, there has been a lot of focus on the economic impact felt by pubs and restaurants, as well as hair services and other businesses of that nature. However, these establishments having to close their doors for over three months has not just impacted the business owners or their loyal patrons; it’s also caused a significant loss of income for their suppliers.
So, with the likes of pubs, restaurants, hair salons and barber’s shops opening their doors to the public again this weekend, as a supplier, you will likely start hearing from previous customers and new prospects as they prepare for the reopening of their establishments, but this won’t necessarily mean your revenue will be back on track.
Coronavirus lockdown has caused such significant economic damage to the hospitality industry, that it is predicted over 30,000 pubs, bars and restaurants may remain permanently closed after lockdown – and this isn’t just the small, individually-owned businesses, even large groups across the UK have felt the effects.
Casual Dining Group, the owners of the Las Iguanas, Bella Italia, and Café Rouge restaurant chains, have warned that they may be heading for administration, putting the future of their 250 UK restaurants at risk.
There is no doubt that some businesses within the barbers and hairdressing sector will not recover from the impact of lockdown either, with 76,300 small and medium-sized businesses permanently closing in London alone due to the lockdown.
This means that for many suppliers, like you, a good portion of your clientele from before lockdown may never reopen or will have to dial back on their orders to cope with the financial strain that they are currently under – potentially resulting in loss of customers and further falls in revenue for your business.
What do you need to do?
To re-establish broken supply lines, as well working to develop new ones, you as a supplier will need to work proactively to engage with your prospects, and your past customers to re-build that connection and the partnerships that you once held.
You will have undoubtedly been in contact already with some of your longest-standing customers to get things rolling again as soon as possible and keep supply lines flowing – however, to make up for the clients that you have lost, you need to be actively prospecting new opportunities at the same time.
Although it’s a shame that many other suppliers will not be able to recover from the economic effects of lockdown, this means that there will be more opportunities for you as a supplier with many businesses looking for alternative supply routes, and less competition to contend with.
What approach should you take?
To re-engage with your prospects and previous customers and get business flowing again quickly, you need to take a more direct and targeted approach. Sending out emails to your prospects is a good start, but the issue with this is that you then put the ball in their court. You have to wait for replies that might not come, and at a time like this, can you afford to sit around and wait to see how your prospects will respond? Or would you rather be able to gauge their interest straight away? Picking up the phone and having a conversation with your prospects and past customers will help to quickly re-establish rapport and will help to warm your leads that have gone cold throughout lockdown. With telemarketing, there’s no waiting around for email replies that may never come, nor are you relying on your prospects to make the first move like with less direct inbound strategies such as PPC advertising. Instead, you’re able to take full charge of your outbound marketing and have valuable, one-on-one interactions with your prospects that are a lot more natural and personalised than sending a typical marketing email.
How to establish your telemarketing strategy
To build your telemarketing strategy, you’ll need to spend time putting together a script/guide to help support your conversations with your prospects, but not to follow verbatim on every call. You still need to maintain a natural flow to the interaction.
If you’re looking to conduct a campaign on a larger scale, you might need to look at hiring some new talent to carry out the activity – or if you’re going it alone, you’ll need to get in the telemarketing mindset. Remove distractions from your environment, keep motivation high, and remember that rejection is part of sales and is something to learn from.
You’ll also need to acquire a list of fully compliant, TPS checked telemarketing data if you don’t already have a reliable database of prospects. It’s essential that your data is compliant to avoid facing action from the ICO and other regulatory authorities.
Or, if all of this seems like it would be too much hassle to organise, then you can outsource.
Outsourcing your telemarketing to a professional agency means you don’t have the struggle of organising or running the campaign yourself, which is a heavily time-consuming task – not to mention you’re putting your campaign into experienced hands.
At Inspired, we deliver fully qualified lead generation and appointment setting services, that are tailored to your needs and adapted to meet your end goals. We take the entire process of running a campaign off your hands and handle the full planning and delivery of campaigns from start to finish. Allowing you to continue your regular operations, while still receiving a consistent flow of qualified business opportunities, and without the hassle of prospecting yourself.
If you’re a B2B supplier and want to regain customers and deals that were lost due to COVID-19, and get your supply lines back up and running promptly, then get in touch with us on 01329 277558 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find out more about our strategic, quality-focused approach to lead and appointment generation on our website, here.