How can business owners cope with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic? Some binge on Netflix and accept defeat that comes with business paralysis while others do what they can to continue mobilizing their business. In this episode, Bob Roark interviews bestselling author and CEO of Gossett Marketing, Danette Gossett. They talk about these trying times and how businesses can re-develop a routine that allows them to be as productive as they were before the crisis, highlighting the benefits of creating a contact list. Danette then shares some tips on how businesspeople can do their part in flattening the curve through creativity and resourcefulness.
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Mobilizing Your Business To Thrive And Survive During The COVID-19 Pandemic With Danette Gossett
We’re putting together the show with Danette Gossett of Gossett Marketing out of Miami, Florida. Danette and I have been friends for years and she’s working hard with her clients during this COVID crisis. Danette, thanks for taking the time.
Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to give me a buzz.
What we wanted to talk about is we’re going to have shorter versions. In this lockdown, COVID virus and marketplace, there are a lot of business owners out there. Danette works with business owners and has for years and years. I thought we would get some insights from her and what we were talking about to talk about in this small piece is if you’re a business owner and you find yourself stuck in the mud or paralyzed, what should you do? She got some great insights that we put those together.
It’s not just business owners, even the marketing departments. The business owners and the businesses themselves, a lot of them are paralyzed in understanding what in the world am I supposed to do? You hear about people binging on Netflix, being bored at home, and I’m like, “Who are these people? Where do they work? We’re working, they are bored at home.” I’m working eleven hours a day, seven days a week trying to make sure that my clients are getting the attention they need and getting things out there that they need. First, they were seeing this as, “I get a couple of weeks of vacation.” This is a much longer-term issue and people are very worried about their income and the economy.
They’re scared and they don’t know what to do. They look at their business no matter what size it is, and they’ve had to close their doors, let off their employees, or all their employees are scattered in remote locations. They’re like, “Are they working? Are they not working? Will they do what I tell them to? What do I do?” They’re stuck. They can’t seem to get a grip as to, “Where do I start? It seems overwhelming,” all the information and their businesses out there. I gave up on trying to do all the SBA loans and the PPP loans and all that. I gave it to my expert. I gave it to my accountant to do. It’s not my expertise so why should I be spending my time putting those types of things together?
Let the experts do it. Get rid of some of those things that are paralyzing you because you’re spending your time is not on your business, not even in your business. You’re trying to ride the wave. That’s one of the things that you need to put aside. After you put all that aside is to look at your customer base. Who are they? Where are you getting most of your revenue during normal times? Is it that standard 80/20 Rule where 20% of your customers are giving you 80% of revenue? If so, what can you do for that 20% of your customers? Have you reached out to them? What are you doing for them? That’s your bread and butter and you need to pay attention to them. That’s the first step.
You know what strikes me is there are the business owners that’s been doing this and if they’ve already been doing this and then you’ve got the business owner that maybe hasn’t been doing that. By omission, you’re going to be like, “I’m a little late to the party.” What I think is if you’re going to reach out to your clients and go, “I was thinking about how best to approach the message to you, my valued clients.” I was setting back trying to assess and said, “What I did is the same thing that perhaps you should be doing.” I went down first and wrote down everything that I could think of that concerned me rather than worrying about the entire planet and everything else that’s going on. I’m a fan of writing everything down so then I can prioritize what’s important. Both of us are waggling these things around them.
We’ve been writing down. If you go through and you go, “What’s the one thing out of your list of things that are concerned?” If its cashflow, figure it out. If its debt scheduled then you could talk to the lenders. If you’ve got a bunch of software stuff that you pay money for, talk to the software provider, see if they’ll take and lower your fee or drop you down a level if you don’t need it. If you’re already doing this like Danette is already doing it, you’ve got a leg up on being visible to your clients. If you haven’t, the first order of business is going through. List down all the things that got you paralyzed. When you talk to your clients, what would you say to the client if you haven’t been in touch with them?
It’s not too late. A lot of people feel it is too late and so they think, “Now I’ll look like an idiot coming out and talking to them.” If you don’t, you’ve got to say something soon. You need to be out there. It’s not like you want to contact them every single day but you do want to be in touch. Give them a call. I have clients reaching out to me. I’ve gotten a number of calls were, “I want to call, see how you’re doing. I saw your emails, I wanted to touch base. Are you okay? What can we do? I know we’re not spending money but what should we be thinking about?” Some of them are reaching out to me even though I’ve sent them notes or called, but I can’t get to all of them.
It’s nice that they’re reaching out to me. That’s what should be happening. There needs to be conversations going on. If you haven’t started reaching out to your customers and you happen to be one of those people Netflix binging, then get off the couch, find yourself a remote place for an office every day. Get dressed, take a shower, get out of your sweat pants, get in front of your computer and start. That’s the thing. Put yourself on a schedule. You may be juggling your kid’s school but they’ve got class times. If their class starts at 9:00, you start at 9:00. If they get a break at 10:00, you take a little break at 10:00. They go back to class at 10:15, you get back to work at 10:15.
Put yourself on a schedule and start making a list of all the clients that you want to reach out to and the message that you want to give them. The first message is, “I’m still here. We are working. We’re here to help you. What can I do for you?” Depending on what your business does. If you are an accounting firm, “I can help you put together your PPP loans. I can put into helping you get ahead of the next tax file. I can help you with some tax planning. I can help you do a lot of different types of things.” That’s one of the things that people need to think about. What is my new message? You don’t want to go out there and try to sell something to somebody that’s inappropriate.Being in action is better than sitting around doing nothing. Click To Tweet
It’s not inappropriate to say, “I have something that might be helpful to you during these times.” At the same token, you want to be able to make sure that they know that you’re going to be here still after this is over. Research has shown that companies that stay in touch and help during these times are the ones that are going to grow faster when it’s over. We’ve all seen the downturn in business. Other than Amazon, Walmart, and people that are shopping crazy to buy all the toilet paper out. They see increases and they’re hiring but every other company is seeing a downturn in their revenues because people aren’t out and about. They’re not shopping the way they used to. They’re not buying.
They’re not doing what they used to do. I was on a call and it was with a guy that does the Av for the events. All the events are canceled. What is he doing to make sure people know that he’s still around? He’s working to put together better Zoom meetings, help people put together videos that they can use in their Zoom meetings or for outreach and different things like that. Whereas before, he was one of those people sitting on the couch Netflix bingeing because he was paralyzed. He didn’t know what to do because his business dried up overnight. All of his conventions and meetings all over the country canceled.
There’s that shock factor to start with then you’ve got to wake up, dust yourself off, and you go, “How do I proceed?” For a lot of them, you talk to your clients and everybody has clients that are somewhat franker than others and some understand more than others. If you talk and go, “What do you see? What are you experiencing? What do you need? How can I help?” It’s not necessarily anything that has to sell. They say, “I need this particular help.” You go, “I know somebody in my network that can help you with that problem. Can I make that introduction for you?” You can be seen as a center of influence which is extremely important in this environment. Thought leadership like you’re talking about here. If you’re stuck, what could you do? That’s extremely important because then at least if you start writing down what bothers you, get an action plan in place, then you start feeling less helpless.
That’s the key. I have some people that said, “Danette, you’re working so hard. You need to take a break and step back.” I’m like, “I can and I will at certain times.” I have things that need to be done. From me, being in action is better than sitting around doing nothing and trying to meditate. Meditation is fabulous but if I’m not making things happen, I’m not happy. I’ve been in business for many years and I’ve seen a lot of downturns.
This is a once in a lifetime event every ten years.
It is. 2001 and 2008, it has been years. I’ve been through a lot of them and I’ve survived. It’s because I follow my own advice in the sense that I sit down and, “What can we do to pivot at this point in time? What’s bothering me? What can I do to make that curve flatten out like they’re trying to do for the virus? What can I do to flatten that curve out for me personally in my business?” If companies look at that and say, “What do I need to do to pivot?” You’ve got a lot of companies now that have either shuttered their doors. Let’s take the restaurants. I drove through Coconut Grove, I missed the mailman so I had to go to the post office and drop something off. Through the drive-thru, I didn’t get out, social distancing. I hadn’t been out because I’m being good about staying at home. I drove down our main food fair street where all our restaurants are. There were several restaurants that had big signs that said, “We are delivering, we have takeout.” They had specials and then others that were totally shut.
I was at one and what they did is call the order in and when you get in the parking lot, “Text us and we’ll bring it out to you.” It was a beehive.
My dad did that for Sunday dinner. He went to a place over, they live over in Cape Coral and he was like, “They were running a special turkey dinner for two for $20.” He called it in, he drove over there and they didn’t hand it to them. They opened the back door, put it in the back seat and he drove off and he goes, “It was the best thing ever.” Companies especially restaurants that are able to take advantage of doing that are going to come out on the other end much better because some people are trying them for the first time. They’re gaining new customers. Some of them are offering discounts like that $20 dinner for two. This is going to bring in new customers or bring back loyal customers and because money is tight. Am I going to go and buy a gourmet meal necessarily? Maybe not, but I will spend $20 for a turkey dinner for two. I can’t fix it for that. They were driving down Commodore Plaza in Coconut Grove. It was scary because there was nobody on the streets but there were several restaurants that had these signs and that’s where the cars were.
For all of us, this national statistic in the restaurants is that the typical family household eats out three times a week. It could be lunch, dinner, or whatnot. For the restaurant who’s trying to think about it, how do you reach out to your clients and say, “Do you have an email list?” If you don’t have one, can you start building a text list? Make sure when you ask to send me a text for your order that you put your name on it so they can take and go, “I’ve got their name, here’s our text.” You can start text marketing, “We’re going to have a special or whatever.” The point behind these deals so we don’t make it too long is if you find yourself stuck and you feel paralyzed and the world is going to end and so on. You go, “The world ended. It doesn’t matter anymore.” If it doesn’t end then you’ve got to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and lead from the front. Get to work.
Some of the things that people are doing quite well and if you’re not doing it is looking at their social media. Are your profiles up-to-date? That’s an easy thing to start doing right away. Let me update my profile. Have you asked for testimonials or referrals lately?
We should do that in the next episode. Danette for today’s snackable version of something to do if you find yourself stuck, we’re going to take and this is a mechanism to get unstuck. Make a list, prioritize your list, figure out what’s the most important thing that you can do. Start calling your clients and then reflect on what you’re hearing and go, “How do I solve the problems that my clients have?” That’s good. Danette, what we didn’t talk about is you have a wealth of experience with business owners in the Miami area. Were you involved with the Chamber of Commerce?If the world doesn't end, then you've got to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and lead from the front. Click To Tweet
I’m on the Executive Committee for the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and I have been their Chair of Membership in Marketing. My term is coming up.
Did you have leadership positions all through the years though?
I have. I’ve done a lot of different things not only the Greater Miami of Chamber, but I’m also a past Chair of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. I’ve done a lot for them as well.
You’ve seen businesses for a long time and successful in yours. Danette, I think for this small or shorter version, we’ll call it good and we’ll take and put together another one to start talking about how to start using the social media for outreach and how to make sure the messaging is good.
It sounds like a plan. Thank you.
Thanks, Danette. I appreciate your time.
- Gossett Marketing
- Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
- Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce
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