Siegal: New Hope in a Time of Great Change

authors Scott Siegal | October 14, 2020

Less than a year ago seems forever as COVID-19 entered the U.S. and the world, and life changed dramatically. Existing paradigms for shopping, buying, traveling and enjoying recreation no longer apply in this new world. Whether we are ready for it or not, our lives have changed. It’s a new world, a new reality with new rules.

Shopping malls are closing. Local businesses and restaurants are on the rocks. Yet at the same time, Jeff Bezos of Amazon has become the richest man in the world. Apple computer, once almost a bankrupt computer manufacturer, has become the world’s first $2 trillion company during the last few months.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, home improvement products were usually sold to consumers at their home. You had a captive audience with several hours of their uninterrupted attention. Today, buying products virtually online is the new normal, even for construction projects.

Many consumers would prefer to do business with you online exclusively. At Maggio Roofing (the roofing company I own), we’ve been selling online since the COVID-19 crisis began, and we’ve become quite good at it.

However, selling in a virtual environment isn’t like selling in a consumer’s home. We have to engage the consumer much faster, uncover their pain, show them Maggio is the right solution, and get to the bottom line all within about 45 minutes—or the consumer tunes us out.

In today’s virtual world, consumers are distracted. You must clearly understand why your products and services are the right choice for this consumer, and you only have a few moments to convey your message clearly before they lose interest and tune you out.

Many contractors hesitate to invest precious cash on training new salespeople. They prefer to “see if this new person works out” first. I get it. In the old days, training was incredibly expensive, and this thought process kind of made sense.

However, in this new normal, that old-school thinking will cause many contracting companies to lose sales to their competition, to go bankrupt, and to close their doors forever.

You can’t afford to waste qualified leads on untrained salespeople in today’s virtual market. Yet in our industry, salespeople turnover is an unfortunate reality. Many contractors have dramatically lost sales and are hemorrhaging cash in today’s uncertain economy.

The ones who will survive and thrive must master financial excellence in their companies and keep their people trained with the latest cutting-edge technology, especially their salespeople.

The problem has always been training takes time, and training is expensive. Taking someone out of the field and sending them away for training consumes at least a week of their time. The travel, hotel and tuition costs can be a hefty investment.

Worst of all, research shows most people forget about 85 percent to 93 percent of what they learn in a week-long training session within just a few days. So, traditional training is very expensive and not super effective.

Sharing Best Practices

My passion is sharing best practices with fellow contractors. I enjoy giving them a competitive edge and helping them grow. That is why at CCN (Certified Contractors Network), the network of contractors that I lead, we’ve created a radically new virtual approach to training.

We’ve found that training is incredibly effective when conducted online, so we’ve moved it beyond the realm of sales staff and are now offering it to staff involved in administration, finance and marketing as well.

Every member of our network and their entire team uses it to stay up to date with the latest best practices. They share ideas with peers at other companies and receive tune-ups without you having to spend a single dollar on travel, hotel and food.

Since we began beta-testing virtual training several months ago, we’ve found that salespeople are retaining more of the information they are presented, even more sophisticated concepts that involve holding margins.

Marketing team members are finding the increased access to training is keeping them sharper. For example, they are learning to keep the focus on a unique value proposition. The fast-changing landscape for online leads requires more frequent updates today.

Virtual training on our platform and from other sources will only grow in importance as you keep your marketing team sharp and striving for lower-cost leads. Virtual training can be extremely effective for your production staff.

They need ways to uncover how to identify bottlenecks and streamline projects from start to finish. They need to stay abreast of ways to increase your company’s production capacity without exploding your payroll. With virtual training, even personal professionalism tips such as time management can be part of a continual stream of education that impacts your bottom line.

We all have a choice. Either we change with the times or risk being thrown on the dust heap of history by clinging to the past. Change is terrifying. Change is uncomfortable. Change is inevitable. We had little choice how and when this change came. How we react to it, what we do about it, and how it impacts our lives going forward is all in our hands. QR

Scott Siegal is the owner of Maggio Roofing in Washington, D.C., and also owns the Certified Contractors Network. You can learn more about CCN by going to the website contractors.net.

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