The unprecedented COVID-19 shutdown economy is here.

How can you minimize downside hits, while maximizing upside opportunities? Here are some moves distributors have shared with me:

Most are rethinking:
1 How to maximize work-from-home activity.

2 Turning field reps into outbound tele-sellers.
3 Maximizing social distance for onsite folks and driver deliveries.
4 Upgrading sanitary cleaning protocols.

All great stuff, but where are the innovative edges?

1 Have a brief crisis team meeting every morning to brainstorm new, emerging problems, opportunities and questions, and what are the best responses?

2 Constant two-way communication between all employees and the crisis team via a company app (especially for multi-locations).

3 Experiment with each customers’ preferred e-tools. What’s the future for regular Facetime calls on millennials?
4 Survey the top “X” most-net-profitable customers for what special service accommodations or problems they may have. Disrupted businesses have new needs.
5 Do No. 4 for the top “Z” most-net-profitable (potential) customers. Find and seize viable-for-you new opportunities before entrenched competitors wake up.

6 Guesstimate which customers are “swimming naked” with too much debt and a collapsing business. The feds will bail out over-indebted big companies, but they won’t help many small and medium indebted businesses in time, if at all. To what customers, if any, do you want to offer extended receivables?
7 Systematically identifying, giving and e-sharing—“praising statements” — among all employees.

Praising statements?
Here is how a longtime client-friend explained it.

“No matter what we do, our financials will take big hits, which will add to our overall C-19 stresses. To keep morale and can-do spirit up, we want to recognize all the individual (beyond-the-normal-call-of-duty) acts our employees are doing during this crisis. Everyone reads the shared praisings. We are seeing a lot of follow-up air/text, high-fives. Everyone is on board and striving to make a distance.

“My hope is that as our channel first fades and then revives, our initiatives and can-do spirit will win net-profitable share from competitors that only do the standard herd-stuff.”

BNP Media Plumbing Group file photo: Courtesy of Ferguson