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Goodbye In-Home Sales? Why Contractors are Making the Move to Virtual Selling

In-home sales have been the go-to method for many contractors over the years, but it’s time to say “goodbye” to that tradition and make the switch to virtual selling. With today’s technology and improved communication platforms, contractors are able to connect with prospective customers quickly and easily before hopping in a truck. Not only does this eliminate long drives, transportation costs, and extra travel time associated with meeting clients in person; but it allows you as a contractor to reach out to a wider customer base. If you're not already onboarding your business into the digital age of virtual sales, let us take a look at why making the move should be at the top of your 2023 priority list.

Why the Traditional In-Home Sales Process is Coming to an End

There are three reasons we see. First, the introduction of Amazon, Carvana, and other e-commerce giants, created a now universal customer experience for buyers to research and purchase products online. The COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated the shift.

Second, baby boomers are retiring and younger consumers grew up with the convenience of shopping from their homes on their own time. There's rarely resistance to buying online anymore - just look at Carvana and Carmax. People are willing to make a $30,000 purchase without talking to a human or test driving the car.

Third, the home improvement market exploded during the pandemic, resulting in a lack of supply for the demand. Contractors were drowning in leads, unable to sort out which were worthwhile. While homeowners were desperate for a reliable company to help them with their project. Virtual sales resolves those pain points for both parties.

In the age of Amazon and other online retailers, the in-home sales process simply cannot compete as the sole strategy. As more and more consumers embrace the digital age, companies will need to shift their sales strategies accordingly.

Something to note: We do not recommend all contractors to completely abandon in-home sales. There may be a point in your sales process where meeting in person is essential, like finalizing the contract. We believe that you should know the lead is right for you before spending time and resources chasing it down, which is where virtual sales is incredibly beneficial. We also believe virtual selling and virtual estimating are different... we'll get to that in another blog down the road.

An industry partner of ours Breakthrough Academy released a Contractor Revolution podcast called "How to get $6.6M of sales out of one salesperson" that focuses on the power of virtual sales. If you're looking to learn more, we recommend watching it here.

Benefits of Making the Switch to Virtual Selling for Contractors

Time Savings

Virtual selling eliminates travel barriers, allowing contractors to connect with potential clients in their territories (or from all over the world for some of our customers) without ever leaving their office.

The reason we built Groundwork is because we realized there’s very little time spent actually selling for contractor's. They drive there... drive back... build scope... and that's after the four outbound calls you made to reach the customer in the first place. Virtual sales can be an essential tool for optimizing a sales flow because contractors can qualify a lead before getting in a truck.

Contractor Reputation Crisis

Home improvement contractors have a reputation crisis. Homeowners have become accustomed to bad communication, missed appointments, and old-school methods.

Modern virtual selling tools provide a seamless customer experience for customers, elevating contractors from the competition. With automated messages, a customer can receive an instant response to engage further with your company no matter if your on a ladder or with your family.

Meet customers where they are: On their phone

If you can buy a car, toilet paper, and a ride to the airport on your phone, you'd likely expect to be able to purchase a home improvement project too. Information is at everyone's fingertips, and prospects are looking for that information and a fast response. If you're not offering that, you risk being "old school" or behind on the times. You can build trust fast with a smooth virtual selling process, making you stand out from the competition and building trust.

Tips for Getting Started with Virtual Sales

The good news is, making the switch isn't a resource heavy process. It's a perspective and process change. For those new to the virtual sales game, it can be daunting to navigate this world and figure out how to be successful. Luckily, there are some simple tips to get started with virtual sales that can help you feel confident and prepared.

Find the right tools for you

In today's digital age, every industry is requires software to stay competitive, and the contracting business is no exception. Post-pandemic, there are several tools available built specifically for contractors. With the right software, contractors can schedule meetings, send estimates, and keep customers informed at every stage of the process.

If you're wondering where to start, feel free to look at our partners page for companies in the contracting industry that we recommend. There's also affordable and user-friendly cross-industry tools like Zoom, Calendly, and MailChimp that you can automate using Zapier. Groundwork is built to be the go-to virtual selling tool for contractors. We've studied sales in the trades for years and strive to develop features to convert leads faster and build trust through virtual-to-person connection.

With so many options available, it's important to find the right virtual selling software to meet the unique needs of your business. If you'd like a free consultation from our team to assist in developing your tech stack, click here.

Include your team on the process change

Depending on how you conducted sales in the past, transitioning to virtual selling may be a significant change. When implementing a change in the workplace, it's essential to involve your team in the process. Not only will this create a sense of buy-in and ownership, but it'll also ensure that the change is successful. By including your team, you can tap into their knowledge and expertise, identify potential roadblocks, and address any concerns that they may have.

Strategize on if you should estimate virtually or in person

When it comes to estimating a project, there are two options: estimating virtually or in person. Both options have their pros and cons, so it's essential to strategize which one is best suited for your situation.

On the one hand, estimating virtually has its advantages, as it saves time and money, and is convenient. Depending on your craft, can simply recieve video footage or pictures and have a rough estimate in no time. However, some may argue that estimating in person is more reliable as it allows for a better understanding of the project's scope and complexity. It also allows for better communication with the client and ensures that everyone is on the same page.

Ultimately, the decision on whether to estimate virtually or in person depends on the project's nature and your personal preference. So take some time to consider what works best for you and your team before making a final decision.

Ensure you're building trust virtually

In today's digital age, it's important to build trust virtually with clients and colleagues. One effective way to do this is by sending personalized messages and videos. Since you'll have more time at your desk, you can use it to craft a message specific to the recipient. We call this virtual-to-personal connection, and it can go a long way in establishing a connection and showing that you value their time and attention.

Videos can be an even more powerful tool, as they allow for facial expressions and tone of voice to be conveyed, adding a personal touch that can't be achieved with written communication alone. Our video response feature in Groundwork is one of the most highly used tools by customers because customers respond well.

Virtual Sales - The Future of Selling

The traditional in-home sales process is rapidly making its way out, to be replaced by the benefits of virtual selling. Implementing these changes will come with some challenges but you can get started on the process by finding the right tools for your business, including those explicitly built for contractors, bringing your team into play, strategizing if you should estimate virtually or in person, and sending personalized messages and videos to build trust virtually. Although the process of transforming your business may seem intimidating, it has so many potential rewards that make it a beneficial endeavor worth pursuing.

Still wondering if virtual selling is right for you? Try our free ROI calculator today!

Jeff Wraley

Founder + CEO of Groundwork

Jeff is an expert on technology in the trades. In his career, he has spent time in commercial and residential contracting, small business consulting, and technology. He is a champion for innovation and is passionate about building technology to help contractors run better businesses. He has an Engineering degree from Purdue University and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Richmond. He is also the Founder and CEO of Groundwork, a video-based sales system for landscaping contractors and other residential trade businesses.

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