So here is our agenda: we are going to talk about how to navigate during the pandemic. We will also see how K&B businesses are responding to this special period and we are going to talk about how to prepare for the aftermath. We are going to talk about possible opportunities; I know, it is really weird to say opportunities right now, I know that. But I am going to show you a proof; there is an example to show you an opportunity you can go after during this time. And we are going to talk about government funding & relief funds that have been announced by companies.
COVID Effect on K&B Business
I want to show you how our industry is responding with a survey that has been conducted by KBB. It is the official publication of NKBA. During the pandemic the biggest hit was on Retailers by 7.6%, followed by Designers and Building & Construction by 7.4% and lastly, Manufacturers by 6.8%. This hit was bigger for K&B industry; because people might need an emergency service for plumbing- they might have a problem that needs to be fixed right away- but for K&B that is not the case and you may even have to close/empty your showroom for a disturbing period of time. However, we have a solution for that which we will be addressing shortly. You do not need to hold off financially until the day people will feel comfortable.
We are going to talk about what to do during a panic. For the preparation side, we have to keep our businesses going. We have key members on our team, if you have a sales team; they are very important to you; they are your strikers. In the operational side, your human resources, your delivery guy- if you deliver your products- . Think about the ability of this delivery guy who can fix the problem on the spot when they have a delivery problem. Try to keep these people on board. You are the business owner. If you do not have an emergency fund, that’s ok. But if you have a little bit of emergency fund, try to keep these people on board during a slow-down. Because you do not want to destroy the beautiful thing that you built in time, in just two- three months. You will see these people trying to find some other temporary jobs. Do not let this happen and try to be with these people.
And your supply chains, vendors; I am talking about showrooms who are selling mostly Chinese cabinets. Those Chinese cabinet makers and also, countertop providers are really affected by the Tariff starting in September 2019. Right now it is an additional effect, impact on those people. We need to domesticate our product launch after emergency periods. You may add Made in USA cabinet makers or countertop companies to your supply chain to make the impact lighter in the aftermath. Some of the cabinet makers are in a really bad situation; they are closing their stores.
Online Marketing Strategy During COVID-19
Let’s talk about marketing and sales together. We are going to talk about your competition, your budget. Your strategy has to be different from before a pandemic. You need to change your strategy and the way you look at your online marketing. Let’s imagine a funnel; first you have to create awareness and create interest. People decide to take action.
Let’s say we have 100 people landed on your website, they click on your ad or see you in the maps section. For example, you paid 10 dollars a click just as a round number. In total, you paid 1000 dollars to bring these people to your website. Half of them will just disappear. They are just going to say that’s not what they are looking for. You will end up with 50 people for the next stage of the funnel. The rest will start browsing on your website, trying to see what you offer. And at the end, a portion of them, let’s say 8 people, will say “Let’s call them” or “Let’s fill this form out”. They show some sort of interest. At that moment, you have to tell these people to come to your showroom or office which can be hard during a pandemic. Another option is to tell them to meet you online which is the trend right now. Then, when one of a 100 is convinced, you got yourself a 40.000 dollars contract at the end of the day. Fortunately, during emergency times costs per click is ridiculously low which is a great opportunity for you. It may even be cheaper than printing out flyers. Another fortunate situation is that people tend to be more productive during these times. When they spend long periods of time at home, they might easily consider having a remodel. They may not be ‘ready to buy’ customers but they created a bubble of clicks. Just because your competition is not there, your clicks are very cheap. More demand, less competitors and there we go! So, your website and your blog are very important. Another great idea is to put yourself in front of the camera and shoot yourself some DIY videos. You can just give a quick webinar on remodeling 101. People who are just considering remodeling their bathroom or kitchen will sign up and you will get those people on your database so that you can easily target those people afterwards. People can surely come to your website and visit your blogs; but what really effective is your own self. When you show yourself, as they are thinking about their renovation project, all of the sudden they remember your face. They remember you and your training. That is for the 50 people.
Start Of Virtual Meeting Era
Now, for the people who decided to take action, they might call you to book an appointment. But you are not there, you are in self-quarantine. That is why you need a virtual widget in place such as whatsapp, skype, zoom and facetime. Those are the winners of hard periods. Everybody is on zoom. People are going to be open to have conversations on virtual platforms. That needs to be added to our digital marketing campaigns. Virtual conversation is a good starter; I am not telling you to sell anything. That is not realistic. But once they start the conversation, you get their information and you create a one-on-one relation. We sell relationships, before selling kitchen cabinets or countertops.
On zoom, ask people to show their current kitchen, record that video chat and then, send your measurement kit to these people. You can train them on how to get measurements. When they are ready to buy, of course, they might want a round table meeting. The 40.000 dollars contract will not come to you on zoom. Think about the time you are investing online and plan what you are going to do after these people will meet you in your showroom.
Customers still need your services. At some point, you will have people giving you a call with a need.
You need to have an appointment system. Because these people might need a quick action after they book an appointment. That’s when the appointment system comes into place. You need an email to be sent to your future customers as soon as they book their meetings. By having an automated system, you will have them in your database and they will get reminders as the appointment approaches.
During these emergency times, reasons you will not get a call is because the customers don’t think you are open or they are concerned that it is not safe. If you are open, you have to announce that on your website or at least on your social media channels. If they feel that you are not safe as you go for measurements or not safe in the showroom, there are going to be some problems. You need to have a messaging strategy. For example “Our team is trained to keep you and your family safe.” and “Sanitizing everything and taking extra precautions.”