Posted by Ari Greenbuam, Co-founder of conXpros
Those that regularly read my blog posts already know that my primary mission is to help others succeed. Since founding conXpros, we have had the privilege of working with some amazing clients, many of which share the passion to not only improve their own business, but helping others to succeed as well. Stephen P. of Craftsmen Contractors in Lexington, KY is a prime example of one of these special individuals. Stephen graciously allowed me to interview him regarding his approach and processes with lead generation. In the interview below, he shares some awesome tips and tools that will help any home improvement pro increase their success with their lead generation efforts.
Ari: I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience and knowledge with others. I know that you rely on lead generation as one of your primary sources of new business, how long have you been using lead services to acquire new customers?
Stephen: It is my pleasure, happy to help where I can. I have been using lead generation companies for 6 years personally, and over a decade as a company.
Ari: This interview is not intended to be a plug for conXpros, so I will keep the questions more general. I know you use a number of different companies, what do you feel is most important when using lead services?
Stephen: In my experience, the single best predictor of success is a good accountability system. In regards to lead generators, usually that means the return/credit policies. This is obviously beneficial for my own bottom line, but any lead source that does not include an easy feedback loop for lead quality is not going to be optimized, and as a result growth will be challenging. As a general rule, any lead source that does not accept returns (or caps returns at a certain percentage) should be approached with caution. I feel that this is an indication that the lead provider is more focused on driving their own revenue and margins rather than generating good leads and the success of the client.
Ari: What do you dislike most about lead services or just doesn’t sit well with you (in general)?
Stephen: (jokingly) Paying for the leads. On a more serious note, the biggest problem that we encounter with lead sources is misaligned priorities. I have found that the vast majority of lead sources are run by marketing professionals. Their goal is essentially to sell you demographic information. That’s how they make money. Our goal as contractors, is actually to build stuff. That’s how we make money. These two things are, of course, not at odds, but neither are they completely in line.
Ari: Anyone successful with lead generation as a tool to grow their business must have a process of how they go after each lead. Can you share your personal approach and process you use, from the time you receive a lead and beyond?
Stephen: So, you want the secret sauce? In reality it is not anything secretive & happy to share. My approach is the same with every lead from every source. Within the first minute from when we receive the lead, we use a three-pronged approach; we text, email and call. It sounds excessive, but it works. If the home owner responds to any of these, we answer using their preferred method of communication to schedule an actual phone call. If they don’t respond after the first wave of attempts to contact them, we follow-up twice daily, once calling and leaving a message & once calling without leaving a message. We also send them a text each of these days as well. After 3 days of attempts, we spread the follow-ups to every other day until they have been reached out to 7 more times. We don’t stop there; we then kick it out one more week and try again one last time (this last week follow-up is surprisingly effective).
Ari: Impressive! You clearly take your leads and business seriously. Using this process, on average, what percentage of leads do you make contact with?
Stephen: I can appreciate the question; however, this is actually not a metric that I track diligently. I have found that it fluctuates dramatically depending on the lead source. If you were forcing me to put a number on it, I’d say we’re around 50-60%.
Ari: Makes sense, I know you are numbers driven, so perhaps the better question would be of the leads you speak with, what percentage do you typically get to either provide an estimate or perform the work?
Stephen: Again, this is not a metric that I track as a primary indicator of my success with leads. I focus my metrics on the following; inquiry (lead) to demo, demo to gross sale, and gross sales to net sales. There are sales we cannot do the work for due to financing issues or other circumstances. I could be wrong, but these last 2 questions and answers are more reflections of my answer to your question about my process to new leads.
Ari: I hear you. At the end of the day, you need to speak to people to get the demos and get the demos to get sales. Seeing that your primary focus is getting that initial contact, what tips you can offer that work for you when you are first speaking with a potential customer?
Stephen: Absolutely. Here are my rules: 1) Get both spouses present for the appointment. This is the old-school in-home sales prerogative and it’s really important. 2) Give your rep enough time. 3) Only deal with owners. 4) REHASH EVERYTHING until it feels silly. 5) Never rely on your memory for follow-up. 6) Feel free to break any of these rules for the right opportunity.
Ari: Great stuff! What additional advice would you offer to a fellow business owner regarding lead generation and how to successfully use it as a tool to grow their business?
Stephen: Don’t even start buying leads unless you have a system in place to go after the leads and to track lead performance. Unless it’s a disaster give any new lead source 90 days. You can go with 60 if you are on a tighter budget, but preferably 90.
Ari: Stephen, I truly appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge with me. I am sure that others will find these tips and processes extremely valuable for their own companies. Keep rocking it & have a great day.
This interview was conducted between Ari Greenbaum (conXpros) and Stephen P (Craftsmen Contractors https://craftsmencontractors.com/)