How to generate sales leads in a time of crisis

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Written By Maureen

Your revenue has taken a hit, somewhere between 30 and 90% if yours is like most Australian businesses. You have applied for every government grant, stood down your staff, negotiated your rent or gone virtual, and now you need to draw breath and wonder – where is my revenue going to come from?

Invest in what you can

International keynote speaker Micheal McQueen was famous for his multi-country speaking gigs and when the airports closed he pondered his future with more than a little anxiety. In less than a week, he built a studio from home and is now delivering his keynotes virtually.


Read how Michael McQueen created his at-home studio    From Facebook and Michael McQueen

For your business, you might need to search for a different customer or for a different product or service.

Pivot to what sells now

Museum tour guides Museum Hack lost $US2.8 million revenue in 3 days – that’s $4.36 million Australian. They had been developing a side hustle in team building. Based on Google Trends research, they invested in this and now offer virtual team building.

Many Australian boutique brewers are selling hand sanitiser and dressmakers are sewing scrubs for medical professionals. Everyone’s accountants and bookkeepers have gone virtual, and are busier than ever.

Get in touch with your best clients

You have time, so pick up the phone and call your best clients. Not sure who they are? Search your accounting or customer relationship management software for who has paid you the most money for the longest time, or who has been an active client for the longest time. Sometimes, it’s not the big money clients who are your best clients but those that have been with you through thick and thin. Once you have identified who to call, ask them these three questions:

  • How are you?
  • How is the business going?
  • Is there anything we can do to help you get through this?

While your clients may not be able to give you any work at the moment, they will remember that you cared enough to reach out to them. They will remember that you offered to help.

One of our best clients has lost 80% of the team that we usually work with. We offered to provide them with support pro bono until September. They may or may not take us up on our offer but I received an email from their director the same day the offer was made.

My former pastor in Adelaide is delivering a weekly communion service via YouTube and my cousin who’s a holistic fitness practitioner in Canada is doing the same (but with exercise, not religion) via Facebook.

And this Kiwi company is offering 1,000 free websites (you have to be a New Zealand business). Imagine how many new customers they will have after this!

Facebook has ready-made templates for keeping in touch with clients. Facebook and Instagram have loads of resources for you to up your social media to generate sales leads right now.

Improve your tech stack

Moving your sales to virtual, online or contactless will need you to invest in your tech. Review your tech stack and, before you subscribe to a single paid product, unsubscribe from anything that you can’t use now or can’t use within 6 months.

Review everything from your print management system to your customer relationship management to your email marketing campaigns. Is your printing system well managed, can your remote workers get the tech help they need, are your practices sustainable? If you haven’t used a cloud-based accounting system before now, do it now. Single touch payroll, virtual access to your accounting system by your accountant and bookkeeper will help you show your eligibility for JobKeeper more than anything else.

Develop a product or service you can deliver remotely or contactlessly

Uber Eats quickly moved to contactless delivery and Uber recently signed with Woolworths to deliver groceries.

Bunnings has click in, click out systems for customers, hand sanitising stations, and marks on the floor for 1.5m social distancing and increased delivery options. My local plumber has mandated training in COVID19 infection control measures for all its workers, as well as a range of other measures to instil confidence in its customers. Our building reception is spraying all packages with antiseptic (it may not kill viruses, but I feel better).

Tell your clients a relatable story

While we’ve all been inundated with emails about how much our suppliers care about us in these “unprecedented times”, there are ways to keep in touch with customers that make them stop and read. Yes, you need to be increasing your marketing and social media but make sure that what you have to say is:

  • Relatable
  • Easy to read or implement
  • Helpful right now

Whatever the size of your business, you can be doing something to:

  • Reassure your customers that you have measures to keep them safe
  • Modify your product or service to what’s needed right now
  • Keep your employees busy, in this time of crisis.

What’s worked for you? If you have another idea about what’s working right now, let us know.