Is Your Telephone The New Retail Point-Of-Sale?
COVID-19 May Be Changing How We Do Business For Years To Come.
By Lyndsey Brooke
If you’re still adjusting to working from your living room or kitchen table instead of your office, you’re not alone. But it looks like this is something we’ll have to start getting used to. Perhaps even the new normal.
With the continued impact of COVID-19 sweeping the globe and our nation, many of our workforce are forced to adapt to a different lifestyle and work routine. As more states continue to order mandated closures of non-essential businesses, employers are forced to make changes in an effort to keep everything running.
For a lot of businesses, these new operations present many challenges. Especially for those traditional brick-and-mortar stores that do most of their sales face-to-face. But now is the time to make some changes and adapt to these new times, as it may be the way of the future.
Product visualizations and closing are different when working remotely. You make have to work harder to make that emotional connection and reading the room is not easy when you can’t see the customer. And providing every possible payment option, including a buy now, pay later alternative is more important when you can’t see those cues.
Luckily we’re also in an age of technology that makes remote working possible for many. Between the Internet and phones, anyone who works in an office should be able to maintain a similar work environment from home.
If your business has been relying primarily on in-person sales, it’s time to make some adjustments. Yes, it may be uncomfortable at first. Yes, it may not be perfect the first time around. But the trick is to get creative and be flexible, and you can get through this.
Video tools, such as Zoom, can prove to be essential. It is as close as you’ll get to a face-to-face sales presentation remotely. Even if you can’t get them to use the video feature, the screen share capability can prove to be valuable. You can show products and service features and even get agreements executed.
So what else can you do to help your business grow during these unprecedented times?
The answer is, give your customers or clients as many choices as possible. But especially when it comes to payment options. People may not feel as comfortable spending money at the moment with so much uncertainty in the future. But if you offer some kind of payment plan or financing option, it’s a game changer.
How many times have you seen commercials that advertise the payments as a low monthly plan, rather than one lump sum up front? Think car sales, car leases, exercise equipment, and so much more. It is obviously much more attractive to see lower costs, even if it is broken into a five or six year payment plan. Consumers don’t want to think about dealing with the whole cost all at once, so a monthly payment plan suddenly sounds manageable.
If you conduct business primarily over the phone, you can still offer a monthly payment plan option, and a customer can easily get set up by submitting an application online. The monthly payments automatically get deducted by ACH from the customer’s account, and transfer directly into the business’s account, so there is no need to worry about chasing anyone down for the payment.
You can also offer the option of financing the entire cost with a loan. While speaking with the customer over the phone, you can direct them to the online loan application. It is simple and gets submitted to multiple lenders at once, and decisions come back immediately. The customer would then choose the loan they prefer, and work with the lender from that point on. The loan funds into the customer’s account within one to three business days. The only thing you would need to do is collect payment information from the customer once the loan funds.
The point is, even if your business exists mostly over the phone, you can still make it work. It’s all about making small adjustments to adapt to this new economic time. As long as your customers or clients have access to the Internet, you’ll even be able to offer alternative payment options as well.
Many businesses are even finding that they can offer services that are now in high demand, even if these services were never offered before. For example, most restaurants are now offering delivery and curbside pick up options to keep staff employed and kitchens open. Perhaps your business can also brainstorm more ways to offer value to the community in a time where it’s needed most. Even if it’s a trial and error process to see what might be profitable, it could end up paying off in the long run. For some businesses, it’s the only way to continue paying the bills.
It’s a strange time with rapid changes to the economy, and the best way to stay above water is to stay ahead of the curve and be prepared. Make sure your customers and clients have alternative options to do business other than face-to-face, as well as additional payment options. If you take both of these things to heart, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to get through this, and maybe even come out on the other side stronger than ever.
Flexxbuy is a U.S. leader in customer financing solutions for businesses. With unique multi-lender platforms, a customer or client only needs to complete one simple online application, which gets sent to multiple lenders simultaneously. Decisions are received immediately. Applying for financing doesn’t result in any hard credit inquiry, which means the customer’s credit score is not affected when they submit an application, so it doesn’t hurt at all to apply. In addition, Flexxbuy offers an in-house guaranteed monthly payment program, which approves 100% of applicants and requires no credit check at all to apply. To learn more about Flexxbuy, click here.
Lyndsey Brooke is the VP of Corporate Development at Flexxbuy, where her duties include strategic partnership development, business strategy and marketing. Lyndsey earned her J.D. from the Shepard Broad College of Law at Nova Southeastern University, and her Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the State University of New York at New Paltz.