Like everyone else in the world, I went into this pandemic in a panic. More stressed than ever before about how I would accomplish my role as a business developer in this “new normal.” I had to ask myself questions like, “How can I possibly sell a creative studio without actually meeting with people face-to-face? How will I present our capabilities and amazing work without being able to see faces, read body language or answer questions? How will I develop these relationships I love so much and continue to promote these artists that mean so much to me?” It’s been hard to imagine.
What happened next (and happened very quickly), was that I took a step back, I took a deep breath and quite honestly, I went back to my roots both professionally and personally. I’ve been doing this for more than a minute – before “Hey Google”, GPS and smartphones. What made me successful back then was my love for what I do, for the people I do it with, and for the relationships I build. None of that has changed, but the world has. And I’ve realized that slowing down and remembering many of my techniques from those early days are working just as well for me now, and still bringing me success, much clarity, and peace.
So, what has that looked like for me day-to-day? I’ve started to call instead of email. I thoughtfully reach out for reasons other than selling, because I want to hear what my peers, clients and prospects are going through. How is this affecting them, their business and their lives? How can their experiences help me cope, be a better partner, and better understand them and their needs? Each time I practice this I learn something new – about them and about myself. And, I’m hearing back from so many people, sometimes immediately and sometimes through a call back days or weeks later mentioning our conversation helped them too.
As a result, I am still working hard for new business, but I’m working smarter for myself, for our studio, and for our clients and prospects because I’m leading with clarity that the world is changing.
In many ways we’ve all gone back to a slower pace, a slower world, and a desire to care more about each other, our messages, and how it all fits into a new way of life. We’re including our somewhat messy lives on video calls and embracing it. We’re taking a breath during the day to play with our dogs, kids, or doing something just for us, even if it’s a quick walk, another cup of coffee or a 30-second (or minutes!) meditation. We’re realizing we are all human and are allowing ourselves and others to be human too. And guess what? Business keeps happening!
I say all of this knowing I am a self-proclaimed workaholic. I admit it, and honestly say it with pride. I really love what I do. I’m one of the lucky ones. Many of my friends are people I’ve worked with- clients and even prospects. I have friends and acquaintances in many states I know will always take my calls, answer my emails and vice-versa. I don’t think of my job as work. Never have. I did for nearly 10 years before I found “the production life”, s o I know the difference for me.
I know myself well enough to know I will continue to work as much as I do now, but I hope I will take with me from here all of the things this pandemic has shown and taught me. I know I will continue to learn as the world changes. I personally want to continue to work as I have been these past several months vs. replacing these new tactics with some of my old bad habits of sitting down to work and not looking up for hours to see what or who is in front of me.
It’s a new normal and I look forward to navigating the change.