The old saying is a rising tide raises all ships, but I know a lot of home improvement companies that weren't quick to adapt and saw stalling sales during the pandemic. Some even had to downsize. Fortunately, we've seen nothing but explosive growth.
Here are five sales solutions we’ve implemented to continue to connect with, and close, today’s busy consumers:
1. Simplified Sales Process
Customers are starting to understand what a contractor’s sales process looks like. If you're not evolving and adapting to the modern consumer, then you're going to get left behind.
A lot of companies have sales processes with 10 or more steps. We've reduced ours to five steps.
First, we introduce ourselves and begin to create rapport and trust with the homeowners. Second, we perform a thorough inspection of the products that they want to replace to create a strong need.
Next, we deliver our sales presentation to build a want for our products. The fourth step is where we close the sale by reviewing details about our company, the warranty, the installation, the back-end support, and the price.
Finally, we include a fifth step after the sale, one that I think a lot of companies fall short on. We ask for a Google Review and a Facebook review, snap some “before” photos of their project, take another photo with the customer in front of our job sign, and we try to get a video testimonial before we leave.
We find that those five steps are a lot easier to train than a lengthier process. And that's why we see the 60% closing percentages that we do.
2. A Virtual Sales Department
We have an entire department dedicated to selling jobs virtually. These sales account for 10% of our business. Our closing percentage on virtual appointments is between 35% to 40%, so it’s lower than in-home presentations. But, I’d rather have those closing percentages on 10% of our business, than have zero percent of the business opportunities we’d otherwise pass up.
The companies that are resistant to adapting to changes like this are going to be overtaken by the companies that continue to pursue cutting-edge technologies and processes that enhance efficiency.
If I don't have to have a sales rep drive 60 to 90 minutes between appointments, and I can have them sitting in an office giving presentations on a laptop, then they can run seven to nine appointments per day. Plus, as long as you have an installation solution in place, this can lead to an expansion of your service area from a geographical standpoint.
3. A Virtual Sales Re-Hash Division
We also have an entire re-hash division that operates virtually. We’ve already bought the lead, so why not have somebody perform a follow-up call with unsold leads to find out why they didn’t buy from us?
Our re-hash specialists are incentivized to resurrect leads and convert them into revenue by offering additional discounts. We don’t have to send another rep out when we can handle it all virtually from our office. We’re seeing tremendous results with this approach.
4. Using Financial Lending Partners That Offer Pre-Approvals
If you're using a lending partner and you're not doing in-home financing with approvals right there at the kitchen table, I think you're shooting yourself in the foot. You're always going to have some second or third-chance lenders that you can run in the house, but getting customers pre-qualified and pre-approved for financing right there in the home is going to help you increase your average sales price.
5. Implementing Software Solutions and Tech Tools to Improve Sales
We’ve acted quickly to implement sales tools that help set us apart from competitors before, during, and after a sales call.
A lot of home improvement companies are still fighting over the same Internet leads. So the fastest one to that lead is going to win most often. We use Hatch to automatically text prospects the very second their request comes in so they know to expect a call from our call center. After we set the appointments, our CRM is set up to send appointment reminders.
For sales training, we use an app called Rilla, which allows you to do a virtual ride-along on every sales call. The entire sales presentation is recorded with AI voice recognition technology, so sales managers and business owners can listen to the conversation between the homeowner and the salesperson. Then, we can provide immediate feedback to our sales team and help them improve sooner.
We also use two digital contract products that help our salespeople avoid losing pages of their contracts or forgetting to fill something out at the close of each sale. Our salespeople with Android phones use One Click Contractor and those with Apple phones use Leap.
These are just a few of the many technologies we use to keep up with today’s busy, tech-savvy consumers. If you’re not adapting, you could get left behind.
Ian Foltz began his career in the home improvement industry at the age of 15 as a part-time cold caller for a replacement window company. He is now the Vice President of American Remodeling Enterprises and its sister company Epoxy Floor Experts. Serving much of central Pennsylvania and Maryland, his businesses are projected to surpass $20 million in revenue in 2023.