From cancelled to online
BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - July 11, 2020 - 12:00am

Here is a checklist as to the experiences I had at the start of the lockdown.

• Cancelled conferences.

• Cancelled events.

• Cancelled book launchings.

• Cancelled international speaking tours.

• Cancelled training engagements.

• Everything, as in everything, is cancelled.

The common word you see on the list is the word CANCELLED. Long before the lockdown, cancellations already began. A Black Swan of an event called Taal Volcano erupted. And then the blackest of all “Black Swans” came in the form of a virus that sent more than three billion people in the world into isolation.

The first thing I did was to ensure the safety of the family. The next thing was to reassure our staff that they should stay home and stay safe. And then my daughter boss Rachel and I turned our attention toward our clients and asked: “What and how can we help them?” In the second week of the lockdown, we mobilized. We went through the database of clients (former and current). Rachel and her team communicated with them and offered FB shoutouts and Zoom meetings to cheer, inspire, and encourage their people to be healthy and stay strong. Then we opened a channel wherein people can ask questions, and I tried my best to address them. The responses were so heartwarming. Sessions were short and sweet; some took a mere five minutes to do while others a bit longer. But the Q&A took as much time as they want and I did not limit them. All these were offered free of charge with absolutely no intention of upselling stuff. These were mere activities of encouragement intended to help people cope with the realities of the new situation.

Fast forward to today. Clients called and inquiries poured. What we have now and what keeps me busy are:

• Online interviews.

• Online guesting in company townhalls and meets.

• Online presentation on life skills, WFH, and so on to companies that design such things for their existing and prospective clients.

• Online trainings.

• Online panel discussions.

• Online moderating in conferences.

So what is the common word that you find on the list? It is ONLINE. The clients are back, and new ones are coming in. Rachel and I did not expect to have this happen so fast, and we are delighted. And so, we are busy again; the calendar is filling up. All these events and developments got me thinking.

The lesson here is that the method has changed from ON GROUND to ONLINE. But the mission remains the same. It still is all about helping people improve and render services to help make clients successful. The trust, credibility, and relationship built with clients over the years bring in the results and the rewards. Things may have changed, but the principle is timeless and unchanging.

When we extend services beyond the client’s expectations, we gain their trust. Clients appreciate it and remember them. Then eventually they refer our services to other people, and they become clients too. It has always been done this way all these years.

My mentor friend, famous international speaker and trainer Krish Dhanam says, “The successful person or a product does not need to do any selling. What they do is build reliability, dependability, reputation, and excellence, and their clients would never hesitate to buy.”

Meanwhile, the team and I invest in a better sound system, cameras, lights, and high-speed broadband connection. There is a dedicated tech team that will help us ensure that the ONLINE seminars are presented with quality that exceeds customer’s expectations. There is a word for this, and it is called “Excellence.” The method may change, but the mission remains the same. And so as cheesy as this may sound, the truth is that it is not about selling, but it is all about serving.

(Connect with Francis Kong at Or listen to “Business Matters” Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. over 98.7 DZFE-FM ‘The Master’s Touch’, the classical music station.)

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