Written by Ari Greenbaum, co-founder of conXpros
We are all familiar with the statement “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. This concept has been around for a long time; the first known use was by Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, who included the phrase in her book ‘Molly Bawn’ written in 1878. Essentially it is saying that beauty is subjective. The same concept can be applied to home improvement contractor leads; the value of a home improvement lead is in the eye of the beholder. Just like with beauty, the value of a lead is also subjective.
Having been in the lead generation business for as many years as I have, there are many ways that home improvement and home service pros interpret the value of a lead. There is one commonality amongst the spectrum of views; to have a value the lead must result in doing work for that client. First of all, this is incorrect. Every lead has a value even when it does not result in a closed job. No home improvement pro converts 100% of the appointments they go on or clients they provide estimates to. Closing or conversion ratios vary amongst each contractor or salesperson. Without the opportunities that make the pool for the won jobs, there would be no wins. Following this line of thought, every lead that presents an opportunity has a basic value. The value I want to focus on in this article is how each home improvement pro values each won or closed job. This is where the views or interpretations will vary.
The majority of home improvement contractors look at what is simply in front of their face; how much revenue I generated and how much profit I made from this job. I am not here to suggest that this in anything other than valuable. However, there is SO MUCH MORE that this lead and job presents as value to the contractor. If we are not aware of these values, it is unlikely we are going to capitalize or maximize the opportunity.
For a short period in my life, I was in the roof replacement business. I was taught valuable lessons by my mentor at the time. He had over 20 years in the roofing business and built a successful and very profitable company. He was attempting to break into the highly competitive Metro Atlanta replacement roofing market. Besides the basics of how to sell a roof and work with insurance adjusters to benefit the client, the most valuable lessons were how to maximize every opportunity. Some of the concepts included the basics such as making sure I branded my vehicle with the company information, placed a lawn sign in each yard of a job we were doing, and providing exceptional customer care to the client. He also shared the secret sauce that truly created his success; when doing a job, knock on every door in the neighborhood and use the current project as an “in” to gain additional clients in the same area. Even the doors that did not answer, I left a note (not just a door hanger) with my business card letting them know why I was knocking in the first place. He also taught me how to effectively ask for referrals from those clients for both the immediate term as well as the future. These lessons were HUGE!!
Some contractors reading this article may already do some or all of these things I just shared. However, the question remains; do they see the value beyond the job itself? There are many things that offer value, but only in the eyes of the beholder. Let’s focus on some additional values to consider and perhaps change the view of those only looking at the lead or job itself.
In the neighborhood value
If we were not having the opportunity to be at the client’s home for this project, we would never have the opportunity to have our branded vehicle sitting in the driveway or curbside for hours or days for all of the community to see and know your company name. Not every type of home improvement pro can place a yard sign for the type of work they do (example: electrical or plumbing contractors), but those industries that can, this is a similar value to the vehicle in the driveway. I shared the concept of introducing yourself to the neighbors yourself already and using the job you are doing as an “in”. There is powerful social proof when you are working on a neighbor’s home! Any additional job secured because of being in the location is added value that could only have happened because of the lead.
The most common answer home improvement pros will give you when asked for their top source of new clients… word of mouth. If you are not actively asking for referrals, you must start immediately. If you do quality work and treat your clients correctly, why wouldn’t they refer you to others? All you need to do is ask. Every additional client gained from this job provide exponential value, as you can apply every additional value we are discussing to each of these new clients as well! As we all know, no source of business close anywhere close to the rate that referrals do. They are as close to a slam dunk as you can get. Yet again, none of these fantastic opportunities would exist if it were not for that initial lead and job.
This value does not apply to all industries, but often is the most overlooked one by home improvement pros that use lead generation services to generate their new customers. I have witnessed many pros only focus on the one-time work performed because of a lead. They refuse to see the big or long-term opportunity. For example, a pest control company that wins a job to help a homeowner solve a rodent problem. There is a HUGE opportunity to convert these homeowners from a single job to a repeat customer with seasonal scheduled pest control services. Even if they are doing this, often the pest control pro only sees the value from the lead as the initial job closed, when in reality there is now a new long-term client that continues to generate revenue. Even if the homeowner is not converted to a scheduled customer, providing you left a fantastic impression, who do you think they are going to call when they encounter their next pest control issue? This does not typically apply to trades such as roofing, siding, or similar, as these projects should result in no need for a roofer or siding pro in the near or distant future. However, the majority of trades can capitalize on the repeat customer and should know the lifetime value (LTV) every client presents. This lifetime value would not exist without the lead that got your foot in the door.
Social proof value
Reviews, reviews, they are the thing for you! If you do not have satisfied and happy clients, you cannot get reviews. If you do not have a pipeline to new clients, you cannot have satisfied and happy clients. If you do not have leads to create opportunities, you cannot have new clients. In 2020, social proof is as relevant as ever. Asking your customers for reviews provides you the platform to build the trust many homeowners need to hire a home improvement contractor. Every lead that converts into a customer is an opportunity to accumulate another review for your company, which will equate to an increase in future clients.
As a home improvement or home services pro, it is time to realize the value your leads actually present to you. There is so much more at stake and to gain with every lead you purchase. Each lead is an opportunity to win a new client, but more importantly all of the additional value beyond the closed job it brings. As I shared in the beginning of this article, value is in the eye of the beholder. The key is to make sure your eyes are open to the potential!