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Serve now, sell later - building relationships in COVID-19

blogpost communication design customer experience Apr 22, 2020

Samantha Reid Aviña | Gallery Design Studio Editor + Copywriter


COVID-19 has created an uncertain economy for all of us. For marketers that means all ongoing and future plans need to be reassessed, postponed, or pulled. With all the tasks marketing managers are currently juggling, building new relationships with prospective clients may now seem the most formidable. Some may think now is not the time to even attempt relationship-building. But such short-sighted strategies can lead to long-term losses.

At Gallery Design Studio we’ve identified two keywords for building relationships during times of uncertainty: patience and value. With these twin pillars you can construct an approach to relationship-building that helps your messaging remain consistent, genuine, and necessary in an unprecedented time.



How do you combine patience and value to build a new marketing approach and customer experience (CX) for prospects who may not be looking to purchase? 

Acquiring new clients in current times can be challenging, especially if there is no pre-existing relationship. When things are tough, many prospects don’t want to take on another unknown by partnering with companies they’ve had no relationship with. That’s where patience comes in. Relationships that are built now may not enter the sales cycle or become profitable for an unusual amount of time—and that’s okay. Patience is needed to understand how marketing needs to be adjusted to provide valuable customer experience.

Value, after all, is the second half of the challenge. When the economy is unpredictable, you don’t want to sell for the sake of selling, you want to provide value. It’s critical to determine whether your service offering can help new clients. 

Even if your service offering doesn’t offer exactly what prospects are looking for, we’ve got some ideas for how you can ground your marketing initiatives in patience and value.



Whether or not your specific services help clients, there are steps you can take to start building relationships now. Even in the best economic circumstances, marketing is a long-haul game. Economic uncertainty makes building new relationships more important than ever when it comes to long-term objectives.

Use current times to get to know your prospects, clients, and partners a little deeper. Be patient when you take the time to ask about them. Ask how they are doing professionally and personally. Ask about their challenges. Have candid conversations with people on a more intimate level. 


Ideas to start building relationships now:

  1. Give your network a call and listen. What are their concerns? What are their needs? What are they looking for in a partner or provider?
  2. Create useful resources for current and prospective customers such as articles, webinars, or short videos. Resources should address a common problem in your network.
  3. Share resources where your network is, such as Linkedin and email newsletters. You can even have a centralized spot your site where you can add all relevant resources in one place, here is an example from Zoom, Quickbooks and our website during Covid-19.

 Tip: Build resources with the intent of serving—not selling. 


Long-term focus is critical for effective marketing in times of uncertainty. The purpose of building relationships now is not only to expand your current customer base but also to grow your future base. Customers struggling economically now will remember the help you provided when they couldn’t afford any. When their buying power returns, you will have already established a relationship with them and a foundation of trust. Build relationships now so customers will purchase from you later.



This time is a period of adjustment for everyone. To succeed we all must adjust our processes to meet the evolving needs of our customers and prospects. 

Take steps now to build a new approach to relationship-building based on patience, value, and customer experience. Design your new relationship-building approach with these key qualities and make sure they are ingrained in every campaign and asset.



We help B2B marketing teams, in software, financial services, and healthcare, with their ongoing communication design needs. Conveying complex information clearly, concisely and in a visually engaging way.



Samantha is a copywriter at Gallery Design Studio. Samantha is passionate about using precise and evocative messaging to connect with clients. She has written for journals, online publications, and blogs. 

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