When cases of COVID-19 spiked in March and much of the country began taking serious precautions, such as implementing social distancing protocol and lockdowns, we all had to adapt the way we did business. While navigating storm repairs, remodeling and homebuilding projects in these circumstances was a challenge, it also provided an opportunity for contractors and suppliers alike to show our customers just how nimble and tech savvy the industry has become.
We’ve learned a lot in the last few months – and that new knowledge has the power to help all of us beyond the pandemic. In fact, here are three timely lessons that will also help us emerge from COVID-19 even stronger than before.
1. Digital Sales Tools Have Taught Us How to Be More Flexible
Social distancing has changed the way contractors interact with customers and suppliers, estimate jobs and manage projects. Not only did many meetings go virtual, but other steps of the sales process did too. Luckily, roofing technology and digital tools exist to help make that process easier.
- Contractor meetings moved online, through teleconferencing services like Zoom, Teams and Skype.
- Since meeting with homeowners to go over product samples wasn’t always an option, virtual rendering software like ABC Supply’s Pictureit has been a great way to show homeowners what their house would look like with different siding, roofing or other building materials.
- In trying to minimize the number of visits to a homeowner’s property, creating estimates became virtual, too. With tools like Eagleview, which is integrated with ABC Supply’s products and pricing through ABC Connect, contractors could view an aerial image of a home and generate a quote for roofing or siding jobs.
While roofing technology could never replace the value of an in-person experience, it has given us the ability to be more flexible in the future. For example, you now have the skills to create the estimate for your next roofing job from your office rather than driving to the homeowner’s property when your schedule is tight.
2. Uncertain Circumstances Have Caused Us to Be Better Communicators
This is a relationship business, and many contractors — and suppliers and homeowners — have always enjoyed doing business in person. However, in the last eight months, we’ve learned how to stay connected and communicate in other ways. In addition to relying on phone calls and emails more, we’ve also started using teleconferencing to hold meetings with customers.
As anyone who has participated in a virtual meeting can attest, talking online is not the same as an in-person meeting. It’s certainly more challenging to form a connection with your customers through a screen. We learned to treat virtual meetings like professional ones, making time for small talk and expressing gratitude, knowing that everyone is going through so much this year. Overall, the experience has helped us hone our relationship building skills.
The uncertainty around COVID-19 and continuously changing rules and regulations have also helped us all to become more proactive communicators. Homeowners have more questions now about safety protocols, timelines and financing. Communicating this information before they ask about it — and having an answer at the ready when they do —builds trust with homeowners. This is a valuable skill and one that we’ll all continue to use even after COVID-19.
3. Roofing Technology Has Helped Us Be Nimble Business Owners
It’s not just the sales process that has caused us to become more tech savvy. It seems that new technologies can be applied to just about every step in a job, including ordering materials. When many suppliers closed their showrooms to help curb the spread of COVID-19 earlier this year, online tools like myABCsupply became essential to the building materials purchasing process. With myABCsupply, you can:
- Order materials 24/7 from your computer or mobile device
- Access your order details and retrieve delivery photos
- Check the status of upcoming deliveries
- View statements and pay invoices
- Download account activity directly into your existing accounting software
- Add team members to your account to help share the work
Reliance on technology has shown contractors how you can do more while on the go. Many tech tools have also created more opportunities to collaborate with your team. This has undoubtedly changed the way you do business and will allow you to continue being more flexible and collaborative in the future.
While COVID-19 has presented unimaginable challenges to many roofing contractors’ businesses, there are opportunities to learn from the experience of navigating the “new normal” it created. If we apply the skills learned to our businesses in the future, we will come out of this experience stronger than ever.
To learn more about roofing technology that can help you run your business, visit the ABC Supply blog.