I cannot believe that I am writing the summer 2020 article already. How time flies, particularly when we are busy trying to manage our businesses through interesting times. Some of you may be jumping for joy and yelling, ‘Thank goodness it’s almost over – roll on 2021’, while others are saying, ‘Well that wasn’t as bad as anticipated’. Then there is a group that are whispering to each other, ‘Okay, not at all what I was expecting. Sales have been strong, order books have held up and we have had it pretty good overall’. Why the difference? Well market segments have played a part, with residential not being as strong as commercial; government stimulus in different segments of the market, such as schools and infrastructure; and JobKeeper and JobSeeker stimulus packages supporting some. But, I also think a lot has had to do with how you or your business approached the challenges.

For me personally, I could have taken my bat and ball and called it ‘game, set and match – COVID’ when my revenue dropped 95 per cent during March through to July. As I reflect back on what we have achieved, we have come along way and done a lot. I took the attitude that I cannot control what COVID is doing to the economy or my business, but I can control the things we want to do. So, we built a new website which will be ready to launch in 2021. We have taken all of our training modules and transformed them into online digital training platforms via Latitude Learning and Zoom. We’ve also expanded our Estimation Services, with five staff now working in the business instead of two. To top it off, from a recreational perspective, I have taken some time out to build my wife a massive vegetable garden which has been on her bucket list for years, and she is thrilled (happy wife, happy life, they say). For some of you, this might sound like a plug for Kaizen Executive, and yes, it is a bit, but I am proud of what we have achieved during these challenging economic times. My point is that getting things done and working through challenges is all in the way you approach them. It is no different in sales. We are still going to be presented with further challenges as our market recovers. So what has COVID taught us and how can we apply it?


If you have not already done this, build a very strong value proposition (VP). So, what is a VP? To keep it simple, it is your unique points of difference and the way you approach your segment of the market in comparison to your competition. Ask yourself and your team, ‘Why are we different?’ and see what the answers are. I think you will be surprised. The key to this exercise is to really challenge yourself and your team around what are your true differences, balanced against the ‘me toos’ that you perceive are unique. Once you get your list of perceived differences on the whiteboard, go through them again and cross out the ones that are the me toos. You will be surprised how short the list will become … that is, if it still exists.


What does it mean to be agile and mobile? Let’s look at what the words mean first:

  1. Agility – The ability to move quickly and easily or think quickly and act.
  2. Mobility – The ability to move free and easily.

By having a business model that allows your business and its employees to quickly react to any particular situation — whether it be a pandemic, recession, segment downturn, what mother nature throws at us, or what a competitor might be doing in the market; is to have a mindset that will adapt, change and become better at what we do in the face of these adversities. For some, the shift we saw earlier this year presented gaps and weaknesses in their business, which in turn, will pinpoint areas for improvement and assist with creating your true VP.


Can you think of one person in our industry pre-COVID that would have said, ‘Right, we are closing our offices, setting up our staff to work from home and, you know what, we will get an increase in productivity because there will be less distractions and our staff will feel that they can be trusted to just get on with their jobs?’ I challenge you to come up with any company who would have done this. We would have said that they were mad! Yet, that is exactly what happened. In a report called, ‘A New

Perspective in the Modern Workplace’, conducted by Freeform Dynamics on behalf of Cisco, the following observations were made:

  1. 53 per cent of businesses are now trusting and empowering employees more.
  2. 49 per cent of businesses now allow more flexible working hours.
  3. 38 per cent more teams are working across cross functional departments and projects.


No matter what part of our industry you work in, COVID has taught us to expect the unexpected and to be able to deal with it. Did you ever expect that your sales team would not be allowed to see their customers and that they could only phone, email, or video conference them? Yet that is exactly what we have been taught to do by COVID. I stand by my philosophy that people buy from people. Our staff are the most important part of our VP, but we have now learned that it is not always necessary to be on our customers doorsteps every day. They will cope without us on occasion and will call us when they need us. The upside is that this has given us more time to improve our service offer, better develop our prospecting techniques and find new and interesting ways to interact with customers. Don’t lose these new talents as we move forward.

Whatever 2021 brings our way, we will learn from it, adapt, be mobile and I expect you all to have the best VP ever! And, of course, be as resilient as ever.