The coronavirus pandemic is hurting all of your clients, which means it’s also hurting you. Parts of the world and U.S. are faring better than others, leading to some areas reopening once shuttered industries and services.
Now the conversation shifts from how to survive a global pandemic and the economic effects to how to recover and rebuild your revenue, according to AV experts who gave their thoughts during an InfoComm 2020 Connected session.
Empathy, patience and communication
Many customers just aren’t able to pay for AV projects right now, so figure out how your company can work with them and find a solution that works for everyone.
Taking that a step further, just call to check in on your clients, says Victoria Ferrari, senior design consultant at Conference Technologies. Adjusting to working from home can be difficult to those that aren’t used to it, so use that as a talking point.
“You’ve got to take it to the next level,” Ferrari says. “I’m calling people just to see how they are.”
Most conversations you’re having with clients aren’t in person due to social distancing guidelines. That has opened the door for virtual formats like videoconferencing to replace those lost personal connections.
Audio alone won’t cut it, says Joe Dunbar, senior account executive at Diversified.
“People have been receptive (to video calls), which is great,” Dunbar says. “I’ve been doing a lot of video calls with a lot of people. I’ve been trying to push people into video calls that maybe weren’t comfortable with it. And I’m finding that that is really helping engagement instead of leaving it in audio in an audio-only situation.”
Sell business continuity solutions with staying power
The world quickly became familiar with unified communication and collaboration tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, and users became aware of just how important videoconferencing and communication can be to ensure business continuity.
“I’ve always felt that what we do helps businesses’ continuity and helps them be more productive,” Ferrari says. “For me, it makes the world go round a little bit and now we are even that much more imperative.”
Those kind of solutions are great for the short term to help keep businesses operational, but integrators should also look towards the future and figure out how conference rooms and huddle rooms can be used going forward, Dunbar says.
“How do we get them back in the office and how do we intermix them and how do we help them work together for those who decide to stay home and that sort of thing,” Dunbar says.
The value is not just the hardware and software, but rather your company and expertise in communication technologies, Dunbar says.
“It’s not the hardware – it’s the whole package, for sure,” Dunbar says.
Balance discounts and devaluing by building trust
You should work with your client to find a payment solution that works for everyone, but don’t devalue the project, Dunbar says.
“It might be about having an honest conversation with your customer about just what their situation is and what their expectations are,” Dunbar says. “You may find out in that conversation that another solution may do the trick that might fit their budget a little better.”
Or, the conversation can educate a customer about what’s available and what it would take to get what they’re looking for.
Before the conversation gets too deep into details, you should work to build trust with that customer, Dunbar says.
“Personally, early on in relationships – especially if that’s the kind of situation they’re in – it’s all about building trust and value for one another,” Dunbar says. “Coming in at a nice, fair point is a healthy way to do that.”