As we move into the last months of 2020, we can definitely say that while this year brought about uncertainty, stress and fear, it also pushed companies and individuals alike to adapt and innovate like never before.
White Glove, along with our clients, have been working tirelessly since March to find success with webinars. While no one saw this shift coming, our hosts are proving that they can still grow their business amid a pandemic.
We spoke with Michele Fuller of the Michigan Law Center and Brad Gotto of Fiat Management to gain insight into their experience moving online, how they found success and their plans for the future:
How did you have to adjust your client generation approach amidst COVID-19?
Michele: For the first quarter of 2020, we were still able to do in-person seminars, which were very effective. Through seminars you can earn people’s trust and get to know them, you get that synergy and energy from being in-person. In March, we had to shelter in place and completely pivot. White Glove pivoted too, and they went to a completely virtual model.
Brad: When COVID-19 hit, we didn’t have a choice to not pivot. Not marketing wasn’t an option with the way that we structured our practice. It was just built into our business plan this year. So, it was really a matter of which direction do we go? How do we market now? One of the first phone calls I made was to my Account Executive and I said, “tell me you guys are going to find a way around this.” And you did.
What hesitations did you have, if any, with trying webinars? How were those hesitations put to rest?
Michele: We had a bit of a learning curve with figuring out how to really connect with people in a virtual environment because it really isn’t the same. What we’ve learned is that webinar attendees are a little more flexible with their time when they can just plug in from anywhere. We are also getting a higher participation rate, which we did not expect—I think part of it is the convenience factor. So, I really do appreciate the fact that when we started with webinars we were a bit closed minded, but after giving it a try it ended up being really great. We were still able to connect with those families who really need our help.
Brad: I was nervous about talking to no one. I actually really enjoy being in front of people and get energy from that. I’m very interactive in the workshops that we do. So, I was concerned about not having that interaction. I was scared that I wasn’t going to get anything out of it. After hitting my groove, I found there are a lot of positives to being able to do it from home. The quality of attendees are exactly the same—we were already getting what I would deem above average quality attendees through in-person seminars. The quality of attendees has stayed consistent for us through webinars.
Do you have any tips for those who want to host successful webinars?
Michele: It’s essential that you, your team and whoever is presenting stays engaged. In other words—don’t take that opportunity to check your text messages or emails. It’s also important to be well lit, have a good microphone and good clarity. Be careful of your background when you present, don’t do it from a bedroom—I just don’t think that comes across very professionally. Don’t check out when/if you have a co-presenter. People are watching you, and they’re looking at you to see how you respond. If you’re not engaged with your co-presenter, they’re not going to be either! One thing I do when I’m presenting, is have my camera and my monitors on a stand that is adjustable. I will raise it so that I can stand and present—it helps me bring a little more energy.
Brad: I use the chat box a lot and I force people to type into it—I really won’t move home with the workshop until people respond to me! Another aspect that I think has been very positive is as you can see behind me, I’m at home. At the beginning of the workshops, I joke about the fact that I’m at home and that I’ve got two kids who could bust through the doors behind me at any moment. We just have fun with it—it’s real life! I think it normalizes the host a bit to the virtual crowd.
What are your plans post Covid? Will you continue to do webinars, or are you looking at getting back in the in-person seminar game—or doing both?
Michele: We probably will do a blend of in-person and webinars, but we’ve been really successful with the virtual environment. So, I think we’re just going to continue to do that. If it’s working, don’t mess with it.
Brad: The next thought for us is why do we have to do these in Minnesota? Why can’t I run them in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa or Florida? The content is the content. I’m excited that this forced us into a new opportunity that we probably won’t let go of when things can go back to more of a normal state. Long-term, I love the idea that I’m meeting people who are now trained to meet me virtually.
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