May 6th, 2020
The ‘Sort of’ New Normal
In my last article, we talked about remote presenting/selling, and how some elements of that approach might survive much longer than current “stay at home” orders.
First, let me ensure you understand something: I don’t think remote selling ever replaces face to face, especially if you offer high-end products. I started in this business as an in-home, one-call closer and I understand the importance of looking my prospect in the eye.
But there can be no doubt that this pandemic has left an indelible mark. I believe between the lingering effects of social distancing and the rise of the millennial home improvement purchaser, ignoring the virtual selling trend is perilous.
If you buy into the idea that remote selling will hang around in some form, then the trust component is even more important than it always has been.
People buy things from people they like and … trust. You’ve heard it a million times. Unfortunately, one of the inherent struggles of doing what we do remotely is that it makes trust hard to earn. Homeowners can’t look into your eyes and truly size you up. Here are a couple of things that could help.
Educate: Evidence abounds that folks are spending a ton of time online. Review your digital presence. Your goal is to be the “go to” for every question that a homeowner could ask about doors and windows. The more educational material you offer a homeowner/prospect, the longer they stay engaged. The longer they stay engaged, the more trust you earn. Selling never happens during the research phase but creating enough trust by educating does lead to opportunities.
Pre-Position: Once you get the opportunity (the appointment), consider a pre-positioning communication. To build trust, things to include would be anything that communicates how doing business with your company is less risky than your competitors. Also, a short bio on the sales rep that will be doing the demo can be very helpful. Include not only qualifications, but also personal interests that humanize them.
Create the Expectation and Follow-Through: For homeowners, there’s even a higher level of anxiety about having someone in their homes. Don’t just tell them you’ll do a remote presentation, tell them exactly what that looks like. Don’t just tell them how the install will go, talk them through each and every step. Tell them exactly what will happen, then do exactly what you say and watch the trust meter skyrocket.
Help Them Understand Installation: Speaking of installation, selling is great, but the installation is where the money changes hands. How can you make your homeowner feel comfortable with this part of the process? One of our dealer-partners now uses the same process for installation that they use for lead abatement installs and the sales team carries pictures as well. Homeowners are comforted about the time and effort that goes into the process of protecting them and their homes.
Don’t Try to Sell Them Everything: One of the tough things to do remotely is to offer and sell options. It’s really easy to rattle off all the options that you offer and then hope something sticks, but it’s also a trust-killer. A much more effective method includes knowing what things might help a homeowner customize their projects ahead of time. You might consider adding another piece to your pre-positioning information. Get the customer involved by creating a questionnaire that has questions tying into an option you already offer. For example, a question like “Who cleans the outside of your existing windows?” might elicit a response that could alert you to ensure you talk about self-cleaning glass during your virtual visit.
It Takes Two: I trained and grew up in the world of one-call closing. Without the platform to display a physical product and communicate a salesperson’s true passion about their product being the right one for the customer, closing on the first visit is extremely difficult in remote selling situations. I’ve had some hard-core one-call close folks tell me they recognize the potential damage to trust levels that can occur as a result of pushing too hard remotely. A two-call situation does afford you an opportunity to capture the information necessary in a first visit, in order to do a masterful virtual presentation on the second, amping up trust and increasing your potential to close.
All this talk about managing your digital presence reminds me of where we were headed before all this happened. We’ll start back down the highway to home improvement digital marketing success on our next visit.