The virtual tools companies adopted to maintain business continuity during the coronavirus are here to stay. Even as states lift restrictions and businesses resume normal operations, “this is not going away,” said Jenna Schwartz, digital producer with ONeil Interactive, during a presentation during the International Builders’ Show in February, referring to virtual tools. “Buyers will be expecting these forever.”
Schwartz, alongside three other panelists, offered tips for evaluating websites, measuring content and some favorite online tools to boost business.
Schwartz posed asking the following questions when evaluating your website: Is someone available and accessible to answer questions? Is it easy to get in touch with an online sales counselor and is that accessibility featured prominently throughout the site?
She also recommended live chat for shoppers looking for a quick answer. ChatBots also may be able to answer such questions and assist website visitors in the search process.
Megan English, ONeil Interactive, recommended positioning photo galleries as design inspiration. “People are used to Pinterest, Instagram and Houzz to find what they like and identify style,” she said. “Try to give a similar experience on your website. You need a memory point to stand out.”
The panel agreed the single best line item to invest in is good photography.
Virtual selling tools
In addition to Schwartz and English, John Allen, Brown Haven Homes, and Sheena Ramos, Abrazo Homes, offered a list of effective virtual selling tools.
- Video calls such as through apps like FaceTime, Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
- Online payment estimators, which can be an effective method for pre-qualifying buyers.
- DocuSign integrated into the sales process to get signatures electronically.
- Scheduling apps, such as Calendly. Many of these applications can be embedded into a website or standalone so customers can self-schedule online.
- Interactive design tools such as colorizers or room designers to keep the buyer on the site longer and keep them engaged with more pages.
- Online payments, such as Stripe, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Paypal, etc.
- Integration with your CRM, such as Lasso, HubSpot or Salesforce, which gives sales metrics for buyers and lead data.
Distress, Eustress and the Growth Mindset
Most daily behaviors are habit-based. Out of the approximately 92,000 thoughts a human has every day, about 74,000 are repeat thoughts, according to panelists during the “Rethinking your Sales and Marketing Strategies” session during IBS Connect in February. “You’re on autopilot,” they said. Leaving autopilot, however, is key to truly growing.
Chad Sanschagrin, founder, Cannonball Moments, said being in a state of eustress, or a state of discomfort to get better and grow, is good. “It creates new neuropathways to new behaviors,” he said. “It’s really difficult and uncomfortable, but it’s not painful. Today’s eustress leads to tomorrow’s comfort zone.”
Distress, conversely, is bad stress that causes high anxiety levels and generally spurs people to run back to their comfort zone. “There’s no growth in the distress zone,” he said. He recommends blocking off about five to 10 percent of available time per day to concentrate on growth.
Ask yourself the right questions around certain goals to put yourself in eustress and enter the growth mindset, Sanschagrin says:
- Does this new goal I have require me to become a better, upgraded version of myself? What does that better version look like?
- Do I have to add new habits and new actions to my toolbox?
- Does this goal inspire me more than it scares me?
“We spend a lot of time looking for inspiration from others rather than being inspired by the person we’re capable of becoming,” he says. “You are capable of becoming any version of you that you want; you’re capable of upgrading yourself every day. You must be strategic.”