Written by Ari Greenbaum, co-founder of conXpros
Every home improvement or home service contractor desires to convert their leads at a higher rate. In this article, I will highlight 3 proven strategies that will move the meter and result in more closed jobs and a better return on investment (ROI). The first 2 strategies will focus on the response time to leads or time to market, and the third concept is designed to help improve your closing of what others may have deemed “dead” or “stale” leads.
Contact your leads IMMEDIATELY!!
I have dedicated many previous articles to the topic of the need for speed in contacting leads. In those articles, I shared some of the reasons behind why contacting leads (either shared or exclusive) within minutes of receiving them is so important. In this post, I will focus purely on the mechanics of how to do this critical step at the highest and most effective level. We work with a large variety of home improvement pros here at conXpros. Often, I inquire with our successful clients for the techniques and strategies they use to succeed with leads. Although most of our clients are successful, there are a select group who absolutely kill it with lead generation, not just with our service. It is the feedback that this select group ALL use that is the basis for the strategies I will share in this article.
As a contractor, you want to maximize your ability to open dialogue with the homeowner. To accomplish this, you should use BOTH phone calls AND text messaging. Literally, as soon as a lead is received, dial the phone number provided. This approach will already put you in contact with more of the leads you purchase. The top performing companies take the initial contact point to an extreme level by incorporating text messaging into their process. They either manually send a text in conjunction with the initial call or have a resource that automates the text messaging for them. I have heard from a growing percentage of contractors, that they reverse the order and text BEFORE they make the call. They share that the reason behind this is to get your name and company in front of the homeowner before calling to increase the chances of connecting on the call. Additionally, they suggest that often the homeowner will immediately return their text and open dialogue through texting, which may be more comfortable for them based on many factors (especially when they are not in a place that is conducive to a phone call).
Here is the 2 approaches used in summary:
- Receive the lead, call immediately, if no answer send manual text
- Receive the lead, text immediately (manual or automated), call if no immediate text response
By incorporating this initial approach to every lead, you will make more contact, resulting in more business!
Holding yourself (or others) accountable to a minimum response time
Many lead generation companies will assign a tracking number to each phone number provided in a lead. They do this for the purpose of collecting data and helping contractors get better at contacting leads. I have seen many reports of the reality of what home improvement pros actually DO, which is often a stark contrast to what the same contractors think they do. I recently shared an article focused on self-awareness, and this second strategy is directly related to that concept. By taking the time to track yourself or the individuals in your company tasked with contacting your leads, you will quickly see what improvements can be made. This awareness will lead to an improved first contact time frame, higher contact rates, and more closed jobs.
The strategy is simple; create the tracking and accountability to guide you to better results. This can be done on a lead by lead basis or using averages for a period of time (such as daily or weekly). If possible, my suggestion is to track lead by lead for maximum transparency and actionable data. The things you should be monitoring, and notating are the following:
- Lead receipt time (the exact minute the lead was first delivered to you)
- First contact point type (either text or email)
- First contact time (the exact minute that the first call or text was sent)
- Result (contacted or not, appointment booked, etc.)
As you can see, this is not a complicated data set, but it does require accuracy and honesty in your reporting. Typically, when a contractor begins this exercise, they are shocked by the reality of how long goes by after receiving a lead and actually making the first attempted contact. The goal here should be to incrementally improve the response time until it is down to less than 1 minute on a consistent basis. Small and consistent improvement over a period of time will result in big gains. I have found that very few companies cannot improve on this part of their process when they run the numbers. Typically, you will notice the “Result” column on your spreadsheet getting more frequently notated as “contacted” or “appointment set”. Both notations will increase the smile on your face and your bank account.
Squeeze everything you can out of EVERY lead
Most home improvement pros put old or non-closed leads in their rear-view mirror & move on to the next opportunity. The third strategy offered in this article will suggest that you should never forget about the lead, rather maximize everything you can. After all, you did pay for the lead. So why would you want to simply throw it away because it was not resulting in an immediate job? I suggest creating a process to rehash or re-engage with cold or “dead” leads. Many of our clients use this practice and find that they gain “extra” business in opportunities that other contractors would find worthless. Once you have moved past the selling opportunity with a lead and have either not closed the job or have not heard back from the homeowner, you should move these leads to the “re-engagement list”. The intention in this approach should be focused on re-opening dialogue and starting a conversation.
You can use a combination of email and text to accomplish this goal. Here is a sample approach you can deploy:
Step 1 – Text Message (keep it personal & encourage a response with a simple question)
Sample text: Hi [Contact First Name], this is [Your First Name] with [Your Company Name]. We recently met about your [Project Type] & I never heard back on your decision. I would love to get some feedback and see how I can help you with your project.
Step 2 (3 days after step 1) – Text Message (looking for a simple answer to your previous text/question))
Sample text: Have you decided about what you want to do with your [Project Type]?
Step 3 (2 days after step 2) – Email (use clear & direct subject line, personalize, address the lack of response to your text messages)
Sample email: Subject Line: [Project Type] estimate for [Contact First Name]
Hi [Contact First Name], we discussed your project and provided you with an estimate a few weeks ago but I never heard back on your decision. I have also reached out a couple times over text recently. Is [Phone Number Text Was Sent To] still a good number for you?
This sequence can be done manually with some basic templates you create and fill in the specific details for each one. However, there are many automation tools especially for sequencing like this. There are many software solutions to help you simplify this process with varying price points and features. Find the one that best meets your needs and budget, but the key is to make sure that the platform you choose has the capability to send both text and email to your contacts. The additional benefit of finding a CRM software solution is that you also get reporting and data tracking that would be incredibly challenging to do manually. This strategy will not make massive moves to the meter but will help re-engage with customers you may have in the past forgotten about, yet now have the opportunity to gain their business. Every additional sale and project helps the bottom line! In summary, use the dual approach of calling and texting for every lead, be accountable to your process and make the changes to improve as needed, and leave no lead behind. By making these strategies your standard practice, you will join the elite ranks of the home improvement pros that crush it with lead generation and love the simplicity it brings to the acquisition of new clients.