What if a key person leaves?
Count on it because it always happens. It will be the one who’s indispensable, the one “we can’t do without.” But that actually may be the person who specializes in maintaining the status quo, who impedes change, who makes it difficult for the business to make the right moves.
When the indispensable person makes an exit, the door of opportunity opens wide.
What if our market changes?
Acknowledging change is like pushing a boulder up a mountain, particularly when it involves critical business issues. It isn’t easy. GM did it for decades and Research in Motion had to hit the ropes before admitting they were faced with a life threatening problem.
What if we have a serious problem that impacts our customers?
Plan on it. It will occur. That’s why having a plan ready is absolutely necessary. And, by the way, denial is not a plan; neither is trying to put a spin on it or hiding from the media - “no comment” doesn’t make the cut.
That leaves one option if you want to be viewed as credible and put it behind you as quickly as possible be candid and clear, i.e., tell the truth. It’s the stuff of which trust is made.
What if marketing and sales don’t get along?
Unfortunately, “sacred silos” are alive and well when it comes to marketing and sales. In a recent Corporate Visions survey, two-thirds of the responding companies struggle with collaborative efforts between marketing and sales.
One solution for overcoming this pervasive problem may be marketing automation technologies that allow flexible, response-appropriate actions based on where the customer is at the moment so data flows seamlessly from marketing to sales and vice versa.
What if your largest customer leaves?
It may be closing its doors, being sold or moving to a new vendor. Whatever the cause, it can instantly raise doubts among employees who fear for their jobs. The effects often extend to customers and other business relationships.
Many businesses seem to rely on keeping their fingers crossed when it comes to the unthinkable rather than asking themselves a serious question: What steps should we be taking to mitigate the effects of losing a large customer?
What if we drop the ball or mess up a customer’s order?
Let’s be clear: an excuse is the last thing a customer wants to hear when this happens. Right? Yet, we continue making excuses rather than offering explanations that make clear what we’ll do to assure customer satisfaction.
What if we get a negative online business review?
It can happen to any business today, not just restaurants and plumbers. And the smartphone is driving it. Consumers can “do it now” before anger cools.
If you have good reviews, a poor review should not be a problem. Customers are suspicious of 100 percent great reviews. One negative is understandable since you can’t please every customer every time. The key is to monitor sites regularly so there are no surprises.
While every business is faced with overcoming challenges, avoiding unnecessary damage is more than worth the effort to think about the unthinkable. Ironically, focusing on the “what if” questions may be the path to getting over the hurdles and reaching your company’s objective.
John R. Graham of GrahamComm is a marketing and sales consultant and business writer. He publishes a monthly eNewsletter, “No Nonsense Marketing & Sales.” Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, (617) 774-9759 or johnrgraham.com.