What is Exactly Changing in Kitchen & Bath Industry?
Let’s discuss the best practices for your virtual meetings. First, you have to be simple; you have to ask simple questions and communicate clearly. This is critical because you don’t have the flexibility to show samples like you would during in-person meetings. You should strive to achieve a meeting that is “kindergarten level” due to the limitations and restrictions of online meetings. For example, during the video conference, you don’t have to ask anyone to go and measure their ceiling height. As a designer, I can tell you the difference between a 30-inch cabinet and a 42-inch cabinet; you do not need to complicate the meeting by asking for refrigerator or appliance measurements. If you definitely need some sort of measurement, you should send the client a simple measurement kit in advance. This will help you after the virtual meeting as well.
Secondly, evaluation is the key to pricing. If you don’t have an idea of your customer’s income level and you offer some sort of high-end cabinetry you may lose the sale. This is because you could be offering really high-end estimates while others are giving lower quotes. However, if you just offer really cheap cabinets, you may not meet the quality standards that your customers looking for. You have to evaluate them.
How do you evaluate them? You need to ask for their address information and when they book a meeting on your system, on your calendar, or just send you an email or a contact form, you have to tell them they are confirmed and ask for their address. They are not going to put their address on a public form on your website. You can ask those private, detailed questions when someone comes in and try to get an appointment. It is always good to keep your quote amount as low as possible.
Purchasing Kitchen & Bath Projects Before COVID-19
How did your customers purchase kitchen and bath projects before COVID? You create a lead, whether that by word of mouth, organic, paid ads, or even via social media. Next, you have a roundtable meeting, right? You sit down and talk about the design details, the budgeting, and project timeline, then you proceed with signing a contract. Typically, this happens at your showroom or office.
When we offer these virtual meetings to our clients, we worked with our clients really closely for a couple of weeks.
- If the showroom is open, it is often by appointment only.
- In some states, they were open with social distancing measures and everything in place, of course.
- Virtual meetings are becoming really popular, but they shouldn’t replace roundtable meetings.
- We still need those roundtable meetings.
Even after COVID, we will need to sell virtually. It will replace regular phone calls at some point, so it has to be a really good presentation of your company’s design services, your portfolio, and your showroom. As such, we will now talk in detail about what we need to do to achieve this, however, be mindful that virtual meetings can not replace the roundtable meeting. It is a powerful addition to our process because when you meet people virtually, you start your conversation strongly.
Tools You Need To Succeed
You need some tools to succeed with these new business practices. For example, you need an appointment scheduler first to trigger an automatic notification when they book their appointment. So, if it’s 9 pm, they can go look at your website and they really love it and want to meet the following afternoon, they would be able to book that. You’d then receive a confirmation right away. You will need some sort of control of your calendar; if you are not working during certain times, you need to have the ability to block those out so when people click on your appointment widget, they need to see only the time slots you are available. Calendly is a tool that you can download that gives you a common scheduler or we have a tool that we created specifically for the kitchen and bath remodeling industry called Super Susan. The name is a whimsical take on the lazy susan kitchen device but the app works 24/7. To emphasize this, we named the app “Super Susan”.
You also need a video conferencing tool, and there are many to choose from. We have tested most of them:
- Google Hangouts
After testing, we found that Zoom is the best one. When you implement your emails with direct links for your customers to click and connect easily, Zoom is the best solution. GoToMeeting is an alternative solution that can work but I believe that Zoom gives you the best toolset. I believe that attending virtual meetings is simplest on your mobile phone because you can turn on the app and connect with your customers from your showroom floor. If you are a designer, you can do it on your computer but make sure that you have the app on your desktop and cell phone.
Email and texting automation is mission-critical. Calendly can do that with its pro tools. Super Susan does this as well. After the initial meeting, you need to follow up by sending a quote. You either need to send emails manually or have automatic scheduling. Google can give you some sort of an automatic process by which you can schedule emails. You need some sort of email sequencing, which we will be discussing how to implement below.
Email & Text Sequencing Prior To The Initial Consultation
Here is an example of email and text sequences:
Let’s say today is Thursday. If a potential client booked something today they get email and text notifications immediately right away. You can confirm the appointment but a fraction of the leads were lost this way. With two-way confirmation, the best practice is to make sure that you are not offering time slots when you’re not available. If they book something for tomorrow, you can adjust the lead time if you don’t want any short-notice meetings. If you ensure that you are available and if they book correctly, the automated email system will send the confirmation right away without any type of confirmation needed from you.
You are not done there though. If you just send the text message here you shouldn’t send another text message, go with an email instead. The day before your scheduled meeting, send the client a quick email reminder. Then, five minutes before your meeting, send your Zoom link. Zoom will give you a link that is directly connected to your virtual meeting room. When you sign in you will go directly into your room. Your client will connect directly with you and they will see you on camera. From there, you can conduct the meeting. Again, if you ask them to connect using their cell phone instead of their laptop, you have the flexibility to ask your clients to go to their kitchens and show the kitchen on camera.
Email & Text Sequencing After The Initial Consultation
After the initial consultation, you should send a text message and email two days later with your quote. Send out reminders every two days for the first eight days. This sequence will cover approximately 75% of the most important parts of your follow up process. If you want to continue after this, you will need to do this manually. However, I do not recommend this because it will greatly increase your workload unless you have the process automated. This is why we are using Super Susan. Super Susan sends emails to these people until they respond, ”Yes, let’s go ahead…”. It is also important to send those email sequences and text messages after the meeting, just to keep the conversation going. You don’t need to just let people go after giving them their quote; you need to follow up with those people.
Additional Tools and Cost
Some features of email marketing platforms like MailChimp or Constant Contact, like SMS marketing tools, are going to cost around $100 per month on top of standard pricing. Wufoo Forms has useful forms like its type me form and email me form, but they are going to charge you around $50 per month in order to use their fancy, good-looking forms. Calendly is going to charge you another $20-$25 per month. Pipeline management is really good and a vitally important tool. As you can see here, every time that we drag and drop a person, that triggers another email automation to them. If they do not come to the meeting we just drag the person to this section, and he/she will start getting targeted emails. When you confirm a project, you can send a thank you email; if you request a review we just drag that customer here and we ask them to complete Google, Facebook, and/or Yelp reviews from that customer, with regularly scheduled reminders to do so.
We can do lead generation with ads through Google, Facebook, or other social media platforms and also organically with your SEO. With good SEO practices, we created Super Susan because we needed a tool to handle those leads and communicate in a better way. We recently created a $99 version of our app. If you are interested, you can email us for more information and schedule a strategy session to find the best toolset for the needs of your company. Desktop and CRM pipeline management is something that could benefit you if you are receiving many leads and you need those leads to be very well scheduled on your calendar.