There is no doubt that the radical shift in the way that we are communicating through this current crisis will set the runway for the future ahead. There will be no going back, at least to the ‘old normal’. There will be a ‘new normal’.
Even for those who are resisting the change there will be a point where they too cannot deny that the virtual/online way of connecting can be equally, if not, more effective than meetings in person.
Highly successful global companies have embraced the virtual meeting concept for over a decade and using it highly effectively to reduce travel time, speed up communication, close more business, build trust quicker, and also show they are innovators in this space. One client has estimated that he can save 10 hours a week avoiding the travel that he would once have made for site and client meetings. That’s 400-500 hours a year! What could you do with that extra time?
In the current environment, many people say, “I can’t wait for things to get back to normal so I can go about my business the way I use to.” That comment has you already living in the past. Will face to face, person to person meetings be possible? Absolutely! Yet, it will be seen as almost an out-dated method of conducting business.
As the stories of history have shown us, from the great horse manure crisis in the late 1800’s, when horse and carriage was the only mode of transport. The major challenge during those times, was how each city had to deal with the enormous piles of horse manure on city streets and vacant blocks. No one had a solution. However, a decade later, the motor vehicle was invented, and the manure challenge disappeared. I doubt very few people said, I wish we could turn back to the old horse and carriage lifestyle.
When ATM’s and EFTPOS was introduced in the 80’s, there was resistance and lack of trust in the process, yet today no one would look forward to queuing in line for 10 minutes to withdraw cash for their weekly spending.
When email and mobile phones where introduced, and even purchasing products online, there was initially a lack of trust in the process, and now with a landline, written letter, as well as spending hours in retail shopping centres, a thing of the past for many people.
As a tradie, you now have the opportunity to embrace the variety of ways to connect with clients, customers, suppliers and your team using technology and virtual meetings. Imagine the hours that can be saved, and inefficiencies avoided by reducing travel time, by conducting virtual site meetings, virtual client meetings, supplier meetings and scoping jobs, with all the technology that is available today.
Below are some suggestions on how you can embrace software and technology to be a leader in preparing your business for the virtual way of connecting:
- Turn physical brochures into easy to read PDFs (flip books).
- Create online, digital proposals, allowing customers to read, watch, comment and sign.
- Create diagrams for proposed scope of works.
- Set up your office for powerful and professional virtual meetings.
- Presenting yourself online just as you would be talking to clients in person. That means prompt, polite, punctual and professional.
- Learn how to use your technology so there are no gaps when meeting online. Be up to date in how to present and share your screens- to show plans, ideas and concepts, and have people excited of what is possible.
- Prepare and support your clients on how to effectively use the technology. Lead them through the innovation
- Educate your team on courteous behaviour with the online technology. New skills will have to be developed that was once taught for face to face sales and now be required for online sales and meetings.
I suggest that you embrace the change and use this challenge as an opportunity to set yourself up for the years ahead. Be one of the few that are proactive and on the front foot ready to challenge the status quo, once there is a resemblance of normality back in our lives. You get to choose which way you go, backwards or forwards; however, I recommend that you look back on this time in 2020 as a turning point on the way you run your business, versus wishing to get back to the way it was.
Written by Jon Mailer
CEO of PROTRADE United