COVID-19 news and updates change quickly and frequently. Some of the information in this article may soon be out of date. We will do our best to keep details updated during this challenging time. The article below reflects information as of April 27, 2020.
As a nation, we continue to adapt to the restrictions and uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic. At Modernize, we continue to speak with our contractors across the country to learn more about the challenges and opportunities presented during this global crisis. Through our evolving discussions, we have been able to identify a large common theme shared across contractors and trades: Keep your pipeline strong.
One of our industry-leading partners wisely compared their pipeline to a laboratory, and by conducting “experiments” they are able to discover new successes. Now is the time to stay curious and reach new customers— not close up shop or focus on installation only. Consider where your pipeline is today, and how you can maintain and propel your business into the summer months.
This is the time to be agile and inventive.
This unique time in history can allow you to test innovative ideas. Consider a new time frame for following up with leads. Did you previously call leads twice in a week? Now, try three times in seven days.
Consider texting a homeowner to see if they are available for a virtual appointment. In a 2019 homeowner survey, more than 50 percent of homeowners said they would prefer to communicate with their contractor via text message.
Use this time to experiment in your communication cadences and sales processes. Be prepared to pivot and adjust your tactics as you engage with more homeowners. Be sure to document each of your different processes, and afterward analyze the results with your marketing and sales teams. You will likely be surprised with new results during this unprecedented time.
Mix up your marketing.
During this strange time, test new marketing tactics to increase your pipeline. Homeowners are home and are spending a great deal of time on their devices. As we all begin to rely more heavily on social media, video, and the Internet for news, work, and entertainment, begin to experiment on ways to use these channels for your marketing outreach.
Here are some considerations when exploring digital marketing:
Develop a SEO strategy.
Now is the time to consider your search engine optimization strategy. As more homeowners turn to the Internet for their projects, it’s important to have your business be easily “findable.” Begin thinking about your website, and terms a homeowner may be searching for when looking for your services. After you identify your top keywords, complete an audit of your site. Moz.com offers a great introduction to SEO for all industries.
SEO is a big endeavor, but it pays off exponentially. Best of all, great organic optimization is free!
Connect with more homeowners on social media.
At the end of March, Facebook reported the highest traffic the platform has experienced— a direct result of COVID-19. If your business is not active on social media, now is a great time to begin building your following.
In our 2019 homeowner survey, we learned up to 12 percent of homeowners use social media to research their projects and vet contractors. To increase sales opportunities, it’s important to be present on platforms where homeowners are looking for information, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even YouTube.
Be sure to highlight your local offerings in your bio, and share your new safety protocols. Begin posting on a regular cadence, and then begin testing how frequently you should post to engage with the highest number of homeowners. Share before and after photos of successful projects. Encourage your happy homeowners to leave reviews. Engage with your followers to experience great results. Forbes shares more timeless tips for getting your business started on social media.
Experiment with your remarketing strategy.
Through our conversations with our contractors, we’ve learned many businesses are finding new value in old leads. At a minimum, now cold leads deserve an email. You should also consider a call campaign.
The home improvement industry is one of the few industries posed to see growth during COVID-19. Homeowners are focused on making their homes safe and comfortable during this pandemic. It is a perfect time to revisit conversations about their home improvement project. Collect your old leads and begin reaching out to them to gauge their interest. Consider a script for phone calls, and creating an email template for ease.
If this sounds daunting, consider a lead outreach platform. Hatch is a trusted Modernize partner, and can help you communicate with homeowners. There are many tools available for contractors that can manage processes, test new methods, and keep your pipeline strong.
Tune-up your sales process.
With so many safety restrictions in place, virtual sales have become essential for businesses. Taking time to re-evaluate each part of your sales process now will help you find new areas to focus on. This will be even more important for adapting to homeowner expectations after COVID-19.
Use this time to cut unnecessary expenses, and increase your pipeline and sales. Consider time and money previously spent on logistics and time management. During these current conditions, investing in virtual software and tools can pay dividends. For example, without needing to drive to and from appointments, contractors are able to fit three to four more virtual appointments in per day. From challenges come new opportunities.
Here are other virtual sales experiments to test and consider:
New communication for a new “normal.”
Examine your messaging and methods. Test strategies using multiple platforms as touchpoints. As we mentioned above, text messaging, email, and social media all play an important role in homeowner communication. Leverage all three to engage homeowners.
Adjust your sales scripts to focus on COVID concerns.
Homeowners are concerned about safety precautions as they inquire about home improvement projects. Test different scripts and talk tracks of how you are prepared to keep them, as well as your staff, safe.
For example, in one example, ask a homeowner if they have concerns about their project during this uncertain time. Listen attentively, and then respond with your processes and procedures. Then, test another script. Begin by sharing your safety precautions and updated timelines before the homeowner voices their concerns. Compare how these conversations perform and adjust accordingly.
Consider changing your call cadence.
Virtual calls and meetings are now an essential part of our lives. Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts allow us to connect easily and this new territory allows for new opportunities. Consider varying your call cadences to see which returns the highest results.
For example, which performs better for your company:
- One or two virtual appointments with a homeowner?
- Emailing the proposal or presenting it during a second appointment?
Set expectations with your sales team as you experiment. Let them know conversations may change based on homeowner expectations. Make sure they document their conversations so teams can compare and discuss data. Use these results to improve scripts and your success rate.
Continuing to keep your sales pipeline strong is the ultimate goal. Experimenting with new techniques and tools within this challenging environment will allow you to connect with homeowners in surprising ways. Modernize continues to successfully connect our partners to homeowners interested in starting a home improvement project. Connect with us today to learn more about the homeowner demand in your local area.