Pivot – To turn or rotate, like a hinge.
Pivot, this is what most of us in the new home building industry have had to do this year. From online sales presentations to virtual conferences and training, we have all needed to pivot in how we conduct business. In fact, this pivoting has led the way to a virtual ‘new normal’ for many businesses and industries.
The world of video mystery shopping is no different. With more and more sales associates being required to conduct sales presentations online, we were flooded with requests from clients to evaluate their sales team’s virtual selling skills. In response, recorded virtual mystery shops were created!
Rolling out this new type of shop was not without its challenges. Considerable time was spent identifying and testing various screen recording programs to ensure they were easy for shoppers to use and reliably captured Zoom, Skype, and Teams calls. We also had prospective virtual shoppers submit sample videos so we could be sure they were comfortable with the new technology and still come across as realistic prospects.
For both sales associates and our mystery shoppers, the transition from onsite to online sales appointments, demanded flexibility and a willingness to try new things. With sales associates, the overall skill set, selling/closing techniques, and presentation delivery is very different when conducted in a virtual world. For example, body language, tone of voice, and eye contact are critical communication factors. In addition, model and home site demonstration take on a whole new twist when selling virtually. When we created the recorded virtual shop, it was to give sales managers real insight as to what was happening during these virtual encounters.
After reviewing their team’s shop videos and scorecard results, sales managers have been able to identify specific opportunities for improvement and personalize the training for their sales associates. For example, in many of our initial shops, sales managers learned that their sales associates weren’t always making an effort to build rapport with their virtual prospects. Knowing this, they were able to give their sales associates tips to help them break the ice online.
Overall, you have to be responsive and resilient, regardless of your business. As a mystery shopping company, our way of conducting business has changed and we have adapted to meet the needs of our clients and continue to work with them to create solutions to their challenges.
About the author…
Ben Marks became owner and president of Melinda Brody & Company in 2016, upon the retirement of the company’s founder, Melinda Brody. Ben is proud to carry on the tradition of excellence and customer service since the new home mystery shopping company was established in 1986. With more than two decades of working with sales and marketing teams, residential contractors, and design groups, Ben’s experience and expertise is particularly suited to helping home builders evaluate and train their sales associates.