Written by Ari Greenbaum, co-founder of conXpros
Bob Dylan said it perfectly “the times, they are a changin”. He penned those famous lyrics way back in the early 1960’s, yet they could not be more appropriate than here in 2021. The world is a different place than it was even a year ago. Masks, social distancing, and hand sanitizer are the new norm. Even our television shows create new content with these changes. The political and social issues are increasingly inflammatory. Live performances are more commonly streamed than attended. The list goes on. In theory, we can look back at any section of time from our history, and we can likely build a similar list for any period (albeit a bit less tumultuous than the present). What has the world taught us throughout history? Unless you can adapt, eventually you become extinct. This concept has existed throughout the history of the world, whether in the animal world or human. Charles Darwin called it “survival of the fittest”. To be the “fittest” requires the ability to effectively adapt.
I have shared articles in the past with similar concepts to what I plan to share here. I assure you it is not due to a lack of topics to talk about, rather it stresses the importance for home improvement and home service companies to adapt to achieve success in 2021. At conXpros, we currently work with just over 2000 home improvement pros across 30+ categories. Many of our clients are rock stars. What I mean is that they have already implemented the changes and achieve tremendous success as a result. These rock star clients are also awesome because they teach us so many valuable things that can be shared with others and help them also experience the same level of success. Just like there are so many of the rock star clients, there are so many on the other side of the spectrum; business owners and pros, that do very little adaptation to stay on top of their game and allow their company to thrive. Sure, you can find a level of success without the ideas and concepts I will share, but this article is intended for those that aspire for their company to grow and thrive. So, what can you do that you may not be doing already? Here are some ideas that come directly from the rock star clients mentioned above:
Master the process
Before understanding the “process” of how to succeed with today’s consumer, we must first understand who the customer is. Most homeowners get connected to a home improvement or home service company in one of two ways in 2021; either word of mouth or online (search, ads, or listing/review sites). The word-of-mouth homeowners do not require an intensive process, like the ones finding your company online. However, the online consumer is looking for the easiest way to get connected to receive the help they need. They do not want to do the “chasing”, rather they want to be pursued. This is a complete reversal from consumers 10 or more years ago. Times have changes, you must adapt to remain current. Having a dedicated process from the moment a homeowner inquiry reaches you through the closing of the deal is essential. I shared an article titled HOW TO WIN WITH HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR LEAD GENERATION: A COMPREHENSIVE FORMULA FOR SUCCESS WITH ANY HOME IMPROVEMENT LEAD GENERATION COMPANY back in February of last year. This is a tested & proven formula to maximize your results with online leads. Essentially, be fast, be persistent, be confident, & be a problem solver. This is what the rock stars mentioned above do.
The world talks with their thumbs
I am not the nimblest guy with my thumbs and I always admire the mastery that todays youth have with talking through text. They seem as though it is second nature. It is not just the youth that have moved to the impersonal communication method of text, rather a growing percentage of your clientele have made the transition. If you are not already utilizing text as a resource to communicate with your potential clients, you are missing out on opportunities that will go to your competitors. Beyond the new preferred way to communicate, often a homeowner is not in a position or place to field a phone call. However, as we all can admit, rarely are we in a situation that we cannot and do not respond to a text. This tool has been a game changer for so many contractors, especially those utilizing lead generation as part of their customer acquisition model. If you are looking for some data and evidence supporting the power of texting, check out this article I shared in September 2020. I all but guarantee you come away with a new perspective and appreciation for the value of text and how it will elevate your business to a higher level.
In addition to adapting to modern consumerism, there are other tools & ideas that will improve your game. We live in a world of mobile devices and electronic everything. Have you improved your estimating process yet? Today’s homeowner expects a certain level of professionalism, and in today’s world, that includes how we present an estimate. The idea is that you open more opportunities to win jobs by being capable of catering to a larger percentage of potential clients. Even the old school homeowner will not object or find anything to turn them off from this style of estimate, but you will gain so many more of those that would be turned off by a handwritten carbon copy estimate.
In the past, getting loans or funding for larger home improvement projects was not so simple. Perhaps a refinancing of a mortgage to free up capital, or a home equity loan. Otherwise, deals were made in cash. The availability and easy to connect to a multitude of lenders presents a fantastic solution for you to help your clients achieve their goals. Most successful home improvement companies offer a variety of financing options to their clients. Fortunately, it is relatively simple to get set up with these lenders and allow you to present options to your clients. I personally made 90% of my deals when working in the Roofing, HVAC, and Window Replacement businesses with financing. Funny part is, even those homeowners that could stroke the check on the spot also preferred financing options (especially the same as cash offers). Bottom line, you create more opportunity for you to work with a client that if you did not offer it. There is nothing to lose yet so much to gain.
Perhaps incorporating all of these ideas as well as others is not realistic for you. Even improving and adapting with one or some of them will benefit you tremendously, that I guarantee. I know this from my own personal experiences as well as the fantastic insights those rock stars are gracious enough to share. Not everyone can be a rock star, but we can all make music. How much music you make will likely be determined by your ability to adapt and cater to the clientele you are serving. Here’s to a successful 2021 and many more afterwards.