Although most homeowners are not excited to sit across the kitchen table from a home improvement salesperson, that is the way they’ve always done things. Any home improvement contractor who believes a homeowner DREAMS of sitting across from a sales person being sold a new roof, bathroom remodel or new windows is sorely mistaken. Even if your project is a necessity, spending money on big ticket home improvements projects by a stranger who just won't leave their home without a signature is something of a nightmare for homeowners, but just the way we’ve always been taught to sell. Now, with new social distancing recommendations, if you do happen to make it to the kitchen table, one sneeze or cough and you’ve probably just cost yourself that job.
Reality is that customers also buy many other big ticket items virtually as well. The automotive industry is a great example. With companies like Carvana, a customer buys a $20,000, $30,000, $40,000+ vehicle WITHOUT A TEST DRIVE. Still not a believer? Carvana’s annual revenue last year (2019) was $3.940B—a 101.48% YoY increase from 2018, so this is becoming a social norm.
This shift is happening in other industries as well. Telehealth is one of the biggest growth areas for utilizing technology to do something that was traditionally an in-person only activity. And it is sure taking off! By 2025, it is projected to exceed $64.1 billion in the U.S. (Global Market Insights). So what about adoption rates of telemedicine? Do consumers really like this way of receiving medical care? Nearly 9 in 10 Americans over 40 would be comfortable using at least one type of telemedicine for themselves or a loved one - just as likely as those 18 to 39 years old (debunking the myth that older generations aren't as comfortable with telemedicine technology (Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research). If a doctor can diagnose over the phone, you can diagnose a house.
Several years ago, some of the largest home security companies in the country, including SimpliSafe, moved away from the in-home sales model and embraced virtual and phone sales completely. They’ve grown exponentially ever since they made that decision. SimpliSafe alone tripled in size in four years, reaching a net worth of over $1 billion in 2018. The company then expanded internationally, launching new products and establishing integration partnerships.
Consumers also enjoy virtual or digital buying in many other areas of their life. Customers order their groceries online and pick them up curbside or get them delivered to their home. People are now accustomed to reserving a table for a restaurant online with apps like OpenTable, or ordering a ride with Uber or Lyft to take you wherever you want to go.
HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: RESULTS FROM EARLY ADOPTER - CONSUMER SURVEYS
One Click Contractor performed a survey of hundreds of consumers at the end of a virtual sales presentation regarding this particular myth. The result? 96% of the customers actually preferred the virtual sales process OVER an in-home selling experience (even before the COVID-19 pandemic).
In our opinion, it won’t be long before most homeowners will ONLY buy home improvement services virtually. There are many reasons for this, it simplifies their purchase path as well as makes it a quicker, and easier sale for you.
Homeowners today are very uneasy about having a stranger in their home. With the fears surrounding the current world-wide pandemic, homeowners won’t be welcoming contractors with open arms into their homes anytime soon (if ever). They do, however, understand it's challenging for them to get that dream kitchen or windows replaced without setting foot in their home.
As contractors, we must adapt and embrace the new digital environment, in order for our businesses to grow and thrive. That involves learning tips and techniques to virtual selling.