April 1st, 2020
Everything Has Changed
Since we last visited, what hasn’t changed? Our businesses and our lives have been affected in ways that most of us never imagined.
While many of our dealer partners report business as usual, of course many have been plagued by cancelled appointments and installs that are an inescapable part of the social distancing and shelter in place orders that we’ve seen around the country.
Add on top of that confusion surrounding the different messages regarding what is meant by “essential businesses,” especially relating to the businesses that we are in, and it’s easy to become discouraged.
But today’s message isn’t one of despair; it’s about doing what we always have done—figuring out how to deal with a new reality and moving forward.
While we know the pandemic itself and the restrictions surrounding it will, at some point, work themselves out, there will no doubt be some long-lasting effects.
I read a story this weekend, , Social Distancing Can’t Last Forever. Here’s What Should Happen Next. One of the points made was, “It’s important to recognize that it could be months until it’s safe to lift social distancing restrictions…”
Many of our dealer partners have responded to this new reality by introducing virtual presentations. Here’s what you need for a remote presentation:
- Online remote presentation tool;
- Ability to remotely measure;
- Presentation that can be used in the tool;
- Marketing surrounding the fact that you’ll do remote presentations; and
- Homeowners willing and able to receive virtual presentations.
A year or so ago, we collaborated with a software provider that provided an in-home, digital soup-to-nuts experience for dealers and their sales teams to use. While there were several of these on the market, we chose this one because it had an integrated remote presentation tool baked into the software.
Zoom is the main choice for dealers wanting to get into remote selling quickly. It would be safe to say that Zoom is one of a few companies that have benefitted greatly from the pandemic, as their shares have doubled year over year. Zoom is also homeowner-friendly, as it doesn’t require a software download if they are just accepting a meeting link.
Although Zoom is fairly easy to use, there is a definite learning curve. Also, your sales folks need practice to become proficient at switching screens, as we’ll discuss momentarily.
Remote measuring has seen some real expansion as satellite technology has expanded. Products like Hover and EagleView have grown in popularity as technology has moved beyond the ability to just measure roofs.
Most window companies don’t use a salesperson’s window measurements for ordering purposes, so a free tool, like Windowmaker Measure app for iPhones, may be acceptable in this scenario.
As always, unless you’re selling the bottom-of-the-line, leave-a-price-on-a-business-card window products, a presentation is key—maybe even more so in remote scenarios.
If you are going the Zoom route, as mentioned before, it’s imperative that you become an expert in switching screens. Doing so will help you use any digital presentation tools that you already have, demoing the actual product, and most importantly to work towards as much eye contact as you possibly can (because yes, you still can). Building perceived value is just as important, but more challenging in a remote presentation.
Anecdotally, we’ve heard of dealers slowing down, or dropping their marketing efforts altogether during this period of business uncertainty. Obviously, as a marketing guy, that’s a little scary for me.
Just because you offer virtual presentations doesn’t mean potential buyers know that you do. There are some free or low-cost things that you can do to spread the word.
Think about adding some content on your site about how you are handling the virus with your employees and the way they go about their jobs.
Many dealers have their webmasters put a small banner at the top of their websites that can direct visitors to this type of information, as well as maybe a landing page offering remote presentations with a form for the homeowner to fill out.
Other dealers are using their social media accounts to get the word out, and even changing the wording on pay-per-click ads to reflect the new norm.
I believe the ability to remotely present has had a place for a while, as some part or our businesses, like rehash, or testing the waters on lower risk means for expanding geography. There is no doubt that the next wave of buyers, the Millennial group especially, will have a certain percentage that will actually prefer virtual selling (with or without a pandemic).
The aftermath of COVID-19 will no doubt lead to more of this. Instead of asking, “Is there a reason to do this online?” we’ll be asking, “Is there any good reason to do this in person?”
It’s time to get really good at remote presentations.