The cost of doing nothing

I heard a great question this week; what’s the cost of doing nothing? It’s particularly relevant now because, as lockdown eases, the one thing you can be sure of is uncertainty.

Some people are predicting a deep recession and a slow recovery, others see a rapid bounce back, whilst everyone else is just not sure. And at times of uncertainty our default response is ‘wait and see’ and right now that’s what I’m finding – lots of people doing nothing, just waiting until it’s clearer what their new business world will look like.

Spectacular mistake!

The cost of doing nothing, whatever your business, is huge. Time is the most finite resource on the planet. Every second is only available for, well, a second. We can’t borrow it and we can’t save it (when we say we’ve saved time what we really mean is we’ve spent less time doing something than we used to).  We can’t even actually waste time; the only thing you can do with time is spend it. Our choice is simply do we spend it wisely or do we spend it foolishly.  Doing nothing is the most foolish use of time there is.

Right now, everyone is thinking about the future but the smart businesses (and I suspect they are the minority) are doing more than that, they are acting. That may mean planning a new route to market, gearing up for more virtual meetings, enhancing your ecommerce offering, revising your product and service offering or reviewing your pricing. It could be anything, and it’s based on your best prediction of what your market will look like in the future.

So how do you find that out?

Ask. Ask your customers, clients, prospects, suppliers, and anybody else who knows your market, what they think will happen. It really scares me when I hear “We’ve furloughed our sales team because no-one is buying at the moment”. True, your customers may not be placing many orders right know but that’s no reason to stop talking to them. Now, more than ever, your sales team should be contacting your customers and prospects to find out how they are coping and what they think the future will look like.

You need a sales team who are more active, and more skilled, than ever. Now, it’s not about chasing down a deal, it’s about building stronger relationships, more trust, a wider network of contacts and, most importantly of all, a deep and thorough understanding of your customers’ needs, objectives and desired outcomes.

Having a sales team who are world-class communicators and relationship-builders is vital.  Now, more than ever, giving your sales team the skills to do it is the best use of time there is.