Now, about the changes in our market, customer and consumer behavior, post and pre-meeting communication, also virtual meeting tools when you are meeting with your clients virtually. What caused these changes? Well due to Covid-19 pandemic, the economy is kind of in a struggling mood, but there are some temporary and permanent changes that we see. For example; we have panic buys, people are going and shopping like crazy, that panic was pretty much temporary but we see something permanent there when it comes to consuming. People started to work remotely and they are in front of their computer; they were in front of the computer in their offices but right now they are in front of their cameras, so that is important, that makes something a little different. People become open to put themselves in front of their cameras right now. If you just go there and try to purchase a webcam, you will see you have to wait a couple of days just to get the delivery. We believe that it is permanent because it changed the way people go there and shop. That new technique is going to stay with us. So that is why you definitely need to implement an in-person camera type of virtual appointment system to your business before your competition starts implementing it.
Tips For Virtual Meeting
Before Covid-19 customers purchased Kitchen and Bath projects through paid ads, referrals, social media and so on. Then you had a roundtable meeting to talk about the design details, the budgeting, project timeline and some details. Then you proceed with the confirmation, and get a contract either in your showroom or your office. What is changing here? During and after Covid-19, the virtual meetings are getting a lot of popularity. Of course, it didn’t replace the roundtable meeting, we still need that roundtable meetings but virtual meetings are safe. In many of the states, showrooms are closed down and even if they are open, it is appointment only with social distancing measures. What I actually want to mention here is that I have attended many of the virtual meetings my clients had and I have never seen one sale on Zoom or anywhere else virtually. Virtual meetings will replace phone calls eventually but it will not substitute a roundtable meeting to get a contract confirmation. Nevertheless, it has to be a solid presentation of your company, of your services, of your design services, your portfolio and your showroom. Do not forget, when you meet people on camera, you start your conversation really strong; you have to take advantage of that.
Let’s jump into the best practices for your virtual meetings. Out of experience, first off, you have to be simple; you have to ask simple and talk simple. This is very critical; because you don’t have the flexibility to show samples like you have during in-person meetings. What we try to achieve here is that the meeting should be “kindergarten level” due to its limitations and restrictions. Just because let’s say, during the video conference, you don’t have to ask anyone to go there and measure their ceiling height, as a designer I can tell you the difference between a 30 inch cabinet and 42 inch cabinet; you do not need to complicate the meeting by asking refrigerator or appliances measurements. If you definitely need some sort of measurement, wall measurement or window to the wall measurement, you have to send them a simple measurement kit in advance. This will help you to continue the process after the virtual meeting as well.
Secondly, evaluation is the key to pricing. You need to know what type of cabinet to go for, you don’t have any idea of your customer’s income level, you offer some sort of high-end cabinetry there and you may lose the sale; just because you are really high-end while others are giving a lower quote. If you just offer cheap cabinets, you may not meet the quality that customers are looking for. You have to evaluate them, you need to ask for their address information but you have to do that before the meeting, you have to do that with a confirmation. When they book a meeting on your calendar or when they just send you an email or a contact form; in your response, you have to tell them they are confirmed and tell us your address, they are not going to put their address on a public form, on your public website. Obviously, they will be less likely to fill out that contact form, if you are asking address information directly. It may even cause you to lose a couple leads to ask those private questions. You have to ask those questions in your response after the lead has made the first contact. And it is always good to keep your quote amount as low as possible. There may be a possibility that this person also gets quotes from your competitors. Thus, you would not want to increase the price with the custom cabinets or any other fancy stuff such as corbels, drawer pantries, lazy susan and so on. You can upgrade in the next meeting; if you attract enough attention, there will be another meeting either virtual or in-person which shows some sort of commitment from your lead. Just try to be simple, do not overkill the design, do not overkill the quoting and pricing, keep it as low as possible, avoiding all the fancy stuff and always consider upgrading the next meeting. Looking from another perspective, if you go overboard with your design for a cold lead, it is probably going to be a waste of your valuable time and efforts.
As you always do, you have to position yourself as a person that is easy to work with; because different people may have a hard time talking in front of the camera. When you ask simple questions, you just prove that you are an easygoing person; if you ask hard questions such as ceiling height, appliances or refrigerator, it is a necessity that you send them a detailed measurement kit in advance. But if you are just talking to this person on a cell phone or they are just showing you the cabinets at that moment, just prove that you are an easygoing person, you are not going to give them a lot of hard questions to answer. Lastly, try to schedule your in-person appointments as soon as possible, after sending the quote; because you don’t want to make this hot lead a colder one. So try to follow-up with those people, as much as you can.
Tools for Hot Lead Follow Up
When it comes to the tools you need, firstly, you need an appointment scheduler, you need to trigger an auto-email when your lead books an appointment. If it’s 9 pm, they go to your website, they are attracted by it and they want to meet tomorrow in the afternoon. With an appointment scheduler widget, they would be able to book for tomorrow and they need to receive a confirmation right away. But you also need some sort of control on your calendar, if you are not working tomorrow in the afternoon, evening or morning. You have to block those places, when people click on your appointment widget, they need to see the places that you are available for them, not full availability just slots that you are available. For the appointment scheduler you can download Calendly. Calendly is a tool that gives you a common scheduler or we have a tool that we have created for Kitchen & Bath and Countertop businesses, for our industry: Super Susan. The name comes from lazy susan but ours works 7/24, I just want to emphasize here, Super Susan can help you to do that as well. Secondly, you need a video conferencing tool. We tested most of them, like Zoom, GoToMeeting, FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts, or WhatsApp. What we saw is that Zoom is the best one we have experienced; because I use WhatsApp and FaceTime to talk to my family members or for personal matters; but what you want is to implement your emails, with a direct link for your customers to click and connect in an easy way. Zoom is the best solution for that, GoToMeeting is the second alternative solution that you can work; but I believe that we are pretty much doing everything with Zoom, it is really effective,it is really easy, and gives you the best tool, we are not affiliated with Zoom, just emphasizing our personal experience. You can download Zoom on your cell phones and also get the desktop app. I believe that your virtual meeting has to be on your mobile phone, not on your desktop, because if you are in your showroom, you would want to appeal your products, show them some options and so on. If you are a designer you can do it on your computer, but just in case, make sure that you have both apps for the desktop and cell phone, I am sure that is going to work well for you too.
Email automation and text automation are mission-critical for virtual meetings. Calendly can do that with pro tools, Super Susan does those as well. After the meeting with your customers you need to follow up with those people, after sending the quote, either you have to send manual emails, or you have to schedule manually. Right now Google can give you some sort of a window that you can schedule emails but they all require serious effort when you have a lot of hot leads. You need some sort of an email sequence which you have prepared beforehand for the automation. That is something you need to also implement with the tool as well. Of course, your email sequence is going to differ for before the meeting and after the meeting. Here is our text and email sequences, firstly before the meeting, when a new lead books an appointment from your website, they need to get the email and text notification right away. You may have a chance to get this information, confirm it, then get back to these people but if there is a little friction; we would lose a portion of that sales possibility. Just make sure that you are not offering any slot available for a time you will not be ready. You can adjust the time notice, if you don’t want any short notice meetings; adjust the slots for when you will be available and if they book something send the automation for confirmation right away. When your lead gets the confirmation notification, the lead feels he/she is all set and comfortable. But you are not done there, you need another email just the day before the meeting and the morning of the meeting. Send them a quick reminder to check in. These automations are better without text; because you would not want to bother them too frequently. Of course, there is going to be another email 5 minutes before the meeting with a Zoom link that is directed to your meeting room where you would be waiting for them. For the 5 minutes link automation, I strongly suggest you to do that with text as well, considering they probably will join you from their cell phones. Also, you would have the flexibility to ask your clients to go to their kitchens and show the kitchen on camera so that is a good reason to send text messages. Again, an immediate confirmation email, a reminder the day before, a reminder on the day of, and a login link 5 minutes before.
What happens after?
After you completed the Zoom meeting, send a text message and an email two days after you sent your quote, after four days send an email reminder, after six days send another email reminder. There is always a two-day frequency in between. After eight days you should send a text and an email together, with this sequence you will cover %75 of the most important part of your follow up sequence. If you want to continue, you need to do that manually, I do not recommend you to do that automatically so that you can get more personal. The automation part will make your job a lot easier for when your leads increase; that is why it is important to use such tools like Super Susan. Super Susan sends emails until your lead raises a hand by answering. It is very important to keep the conversation going. You cannot afford to just let people go after giving their quote, you need to follow up with those people.
When it comes to the forms on your website, a lot of times I saw name, last name, phone number, email address, home address and click submit. Unfortunately, you are losing %50, maybe more than %50 of your leads; because you are asking only the personal questions. You have to ask your clients service related questions as well. You cannot do that with WordPress or GoDaddy regular forms, you need a form design tool like Wufoo 21, 11 or the EmailMe form implemented on your website. Super Susan has a designed form which firstly asks what your lead wants to remodel: kitchen, countertop or bathroom. Secondly, we ask what they need: kitchen cabinets, countertops, backsplash, bathroom or handles. Another question asks if your lead is a homeowner, contractor or builder. Of course, a contractor with the mass purchase or even the builders may have a better pricing but %90 of the leads that you are receiving with Google ads or Facebook ads are mostly homeowners. Another question is how you would like to meet which is really important. We have the virtual meeting Zoom, we have the traditional way showroom meeting and home visit is another option. In some places where it is very competitive, some of my clients prefer to do a home visit as soon as they receive the lead. They go to the jobsite to meet the client without asking any hard questions, just to interact with the lead. This is how they structure their business and thankfully, we have some sort of flexibility in Super Susan to react to different business models.
You have to ask your clients whether they want to book on Zoom or in showroom, or they want a home visit if you offer, or if you are a designer you can use an office meeting instead of a showroom meeting. Second question here, well, a very important question is the address information; because that helps us to segment the lead. When people give you this information, you will be able to understand their budget. Of course, if they go with the one wall kitchen that is going to be different then a G-shaped kitchen, so then when you get the address and the address comes from a place that most of the high-income families are living, here we go, you have got a very qualified lead. If you do not have a solid lead generation in place, it may be a little hard for you to reach that qualified client. On the forms, when you see U-shape or G-shape and you get the address, it is a really high qualified client; on the other hand, if it is a one wall kitchen from a place that you believe it is not going to be high-end, then you can pick your cabinetry type, no need to go high-end cabinetry, a low budget type. When it comes to kitchen options for your forms, you do not have to be fancy, just type down one wall galley, L shaped, U shaped, island and etc.
The last question is personal information which you should be asking the full name instead of asking name, last name separately and their email address. Optionally you can ask their number as “send text reminders to”. As you can see this is a soft language to ask for mobile phone numbers. They are more likely to reveal their mobile phone numbers when they feel it is not for a bunch of calls, it is just for reminders to an upcoming meeting.