COVID-19 has created challenges for small businesses that had never been encountered before. Learn how to optimize your sales process during these times.
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Read video transcription below.
COVID has created real issues and I think it’s actually opened up huge opportunities and let me tell you why. The millennials, that are finally, en masse, moving out of the cities and they swore off suburbia, they swore off getting married and having kids. Well guess what? They’re all starting to do that. They did it later than the last couple of generations, right? But they’re doing that. And they’re buying houses and that’s what’s fueling a lot of the demand that you’re seeing in home improvement is, there’s people are not just staying in their homes but people are buying homes, interest rates historically low, all of that stuff. So it’s really a good opportunity for home improvement, but at the same time, it’s created a whole different dynamic.
A traditional home improvement sales process is what we call in-home. They don’t call it in-home for nothing. We go to your home, we see the home, we see the problem, we give you an estimate. We try to sell you there and maybe there’s some follow-up there. But you take the meet you in-person face out of it and that creates a lot of issues.
And so what we’ve done, and it’s funny, because I remember being on a call with Dave Zoho and some of kind of the leading folks in home improvement, right, when COVID hit and people were already kind of, “How are we going to modify our sales process?” And what we’re on now, Zoom, whatever it is, GoToMeeting, Zoom. Digital platforms are proliferated so I’ve been doing, using Zoom for five years. It wasn’t until this year that everybody that I know now uses Zoom. And so it’s become very custom. People having Christmas over Zoom.
I’m making raviolis with my mother and kids virtually over Google Meet. This is the world we’re living in, right? And so we’re trying to make lemonade out of lemons. And so from my perspective, if you have a good attitude about that, and understand that this is the world we’re going to do, and then if you’re not technically savvy or your salespeople aren’t technically savvy, they just need to learn and grow. They can’t lament about the fact that, “If I can’t have Mrs. Smith touch that window sash, then I can’t make the sale.” They’ve got to adapt.
And so, what our clients have done, and what we’ve recommended to do is, is still offer in-home estimates, but all in-person estimates in-home, but also offer virtual estimates. And I would say right now, by the sample size I have, I’d say about 20% of the people do the virtual estimates. And they do it and they’re glad about it. And the ones that aren’t… The home improvement companies that are not offering virtual estimates, they’re losing the opportunity for those leads because there’s a certain piece of the population that’s at risk, that’s concerned, has fear. We don’t want to marginalize those people. We want to come in, we want to meet them where they’re at.
First of all, in order to overcome the COVID issue, you have to think outside of the box. You have to actually believe that you can sell, work using Zoom. And let me tell you right now, I will tell you this. We had one company that we worked with that had significant income in revenue using video, video conferencing, presentations, and follow-up to actually close business as a significant piece of their grow. And they grew 35% this year. And they owed a big piece of that to the fact that they were able to adapt.
Now, does it mean that you have to modify your approach? Of course it does. You have to modify your approach. Is there going to be a touch and a feel scenario? No, you’re going to be able to touch and feel it, but you are going to be able to work through the same thing. And so if you look at me like right now. The big thing about it is, I’m front and center, I’m clear, I’ve got a nice backdrop, basic stuff. I’m communicating, I’m looking at the camera, all of those things. I’ve got some notes, and I’m organized and I’m going to ask the same questions and I’m going to, “Hey, Mrs. Smith, part of what we’d like to do is if you could do this on your phone or an iPad or a tablet, show us, go outside, give me a walk around. Go around.” Now, a lot of times, if it’s exterior work, they’ll actually let you come and, but they won’t let you in.
And so you can do a lot of that prep work in advance, right? You can kind of take your measurements and you can make your assessments. You can take your photos. And so then you do a screen share and say, “Mrs. Smith, I put a little montage together.” If you’re using one of the like SumoQuote or one of those estimating platforms, you can kind of pre-build your quote up and go through your process in advance and then show the customer and walk them through it. You need to, if you’re a pen and paper person, well, that’s going to be a challenge. You’ve got to be able to convert that to a digital asset that you can share, right? It really starts with, when you understand the opportunity exists, that people are still doing business and they actually welcome it.
And then you modify your process and think through it, then you’ll be successful. You’ll be successful and offer the options, right. Offer options. We’ve had a lot of contractors have almost three ways. They have the virtual, which we’re talking about now. And then they have the standard. “I’m fine. Come on, I’m wearing a mask. The salesperson’s fine.” But then they have the kind of hybrid where it’s literally like, “I’ll sit out on the front porch. You kind of be in the entryway and I’ll stay outside. And we’ll kind of communicate almost like there’s space between us.” But especially on exterior work, then they kind of follow behind and they’re eight or 10 feet behind and you’re walking and you’re talking. And so it’s more of a “Hey, we’re going to create some boundaries that we’re both comfortable in, and I could still do it in person. It’s just not going to be at the kitchen table.” Right? And so all of those things we’ve seen and we’ve seen them be successful.
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