Prospecting Tips for Growing Your Business in the Age of the Coronavirus

By Satta Sarmah Hightower 04-02-2020
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The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed how we live, work, and interact. Social distancing is now the norm, which means businesses must find new ways to engage customers.

However, you can still nurture leads and hold consultations while following recommended distancing practices. You just have to be creative in your approach, and use technology to connect with customers.

Here are four tips for engaging customers and driving sales in the age of social distancing.

Share Your COVID-19 Policy with Customers

You've likely already built relationships with some homeowners and other prospective customers. Now, you need to inform these prospects about how your business will continue to operate and deliver great customer service during the pandemic.

One of the biggest advantages of roofing is that it doesn't actually require direct physical contact with homeowners. You can easily do a roof evaluation or install new shingles while remaining outside the home.

Many people are worried about potential exposure to the virus, so explain to customers how you will adjust your practices to follow social distancing guidelines and adopt remote communications technology to eliminate face-to-face interactions. Clearly communicating your plans to adapt in these uncertain times will put their minds at ease and encourage them to continue the working relationship they began with you before this public health crisis.

Create a Technology Game Plan

You'll also need to create a technology strategy for how your company will interact with customers going forward. Communicating by phone, text, email and video conferencing can help you maintain customer relationships. You may already use remote communication, modeling and assessment tools, but if you don't, here are some technologies that can help:Zoom: A video conferencing and webinar tool that offers free, 40-minute group meetings for up to 100 people. Pro, business, and enterprise plans are also available if you want to hold meetings with no time limit.

  • Google Hangouts: If you and many of your customers already use Gmail, try Google's free video conferencing service, Google Hangouts. With desktop and mobile app versions, you can use Google Hangouts to communicate with customers even while you're out in the field.
  • CompanyCam: Though this photo app was made to help you better coordinate with your crew, it also can be invaluable for sharing information with customers. You can use it to create a project timeline, share photos, and to do initial evaluations for project proposals.
  • Digital roof reports: Using aerial imagery, GAF QuickMeasure can generate a roof report for a single-family home in less than an hour. GAF e360 allows you to convert smartphone photos into interactive 3D models. And EagleView can also deliver needed measurements for area, pitch, length of ridges, hips, valleys, rakes, eaves, and more. Any of these can help you generate accurate roofing estimates.

Implement Your Strategy

Whether you're engaging a current customer or a prospect, you can use the technologies previously mentioned in several ways:

  • Appointment scheduling: Schedule and confirm appointments with customers by phone or by text based on your customers' preferences.
  • On-site visits: Call when you're on the job site and go over each customer's needs assessment via phone, or use the Zoom app to chat virtually. Overcommunicating with customers during these times can reassure them that you're making their job a priority.
  • Roof Evaluation: Use CompanyCam to perform roof evaluations and send a link to homeowners with captioned photos you've captured so they can better understand what repairs are required.

Close the Deal

After you've completed your evaluation, you can use remote communication and digital contract management tools to seal the deal.

Invite the customer to a Zoom or Google Hangouts call to go over your evaluation and provide details on pricing. If your customer isn't comfortable with Zoom, you also could email them a PDF with product and materials options, or share photos from the project timeline you've created. You can then call them on the phone to go over these details and answer any questions.

Once there's an agreement on pricing and scope of work, send customers a contract to electronically sign. You can use DocuSign, which has a desktop and mobile app, or another e-signature program to complete the process. Once all the necessary signatures have been collected, you'll both be sent a copy of the contract for your records.

Keep Business Moving Forward

The COVID-19 pandemic means your business will have to change how it engages customers. But thanks to technology, making these changes doesn't have to challenge your working relationships. If you're a GAF factory-certified contractor, you can find some great tools and resources in the Contractor Zone to get you started.

Even if you can't sit down at a customer's kitchen table, you can still communicate through phone calls, texts, email, and video conferencing. Social distancing is challenging for customers and contractors alike, but making some meaningful changes can help your business deliver a positive customer experience.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Satta Sarmah Hightower is a freelance writer who covers business, healthcare and technology topics for a wide range of brands and publications. A former journalist, Satta holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Boston University and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School.
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