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The X Factor: Episode 1 – Qualifying leads

January 1, 2022

Summary: qualifying leads

Ari Greenbaum interviews Marc Wermuth from Dewitt Home Services, as they talk about why qualifying leads is so important in sales and what steps you can take to ensure you are generating the highest quality leads.

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Ari: All right, well, welcome to The X Factor, Home Pros sales podcast. This is a podcast about all things sales to help Home Improvement pros generate high-quality leads, and more importantly close more deals. Now I am your host, Ari Greenbaum, and in this podcast will talk about different tactics, tips, and resources to help you grow your business while interviewing sales experts and people in the field, as well as in the industry to give you their thoughts as well. Just first, a little housekeeping, if you could rate us on Apple Podcasts, if you’re not familiar already, that’s that little purple icon, give us a five-star rating, leave a review, let us know if you’re enjoying the podcast! We’d love your feedback. 

So I appreciate you tuning in today as we get into an episode. I have a fantastic guest with me I’m super excited about. His name is Mark Wermuth from DeWitt Home Services up in Michigan. He also happens to be not only our guest but also a client of conXpros. I appreciate Mark taking the time out of his busy schedule to join us. But I do know that he’s found success, not just with our service, but for many, many years succeeding with leads of all different varieties. And I’ll let Mark tell you a little bit more about himself some more. Take it away. Tell us a little about yourself.

Mark: Well, I’ve been in the home improvement business since 1987. I’ve been with like four or five different companies since then. And then I was with the company for like nine years till last year. And then we decided to go out on our own. And we actually opened up DeWitt. We took over the name too. It’s been in business for like 42 years, but we took over the name back in like May. So it’s been like six months. We know the importance of leads and marketing. And I mean, in the six months, we’ve almost done $2 million worth of business. So it’s not like, we don’t know what we’re doing. It’s just you have to get the right leads to be able to sell them. And then you have to do the most important thing is to get the leads and to get the sale. But then the most important thing is to install it. Without installing it, it doesn’t make a difference how many. I mean, basically, you could take the worst window and have the best installer and it’ll work better than the best window with the worst installer.

Ari: And you primarily focus with your company to widths on exterior renovations and windows.

Mark: We do, we do. We do windows, siding, roofing, gutters, gutter protection, installation, bathrooms, kitchens, beyond.
Well, we’re doing well rounded, diversified. qualifying leads

Ari: That’s fantastic. So, you know, I know you mentioned, you have a long background working with others before, you know getting into this as a business owner yourself. So obviously, you have a ton of experience going into this as far as leads and you know, clients and converting them into, you know, exactly customers for yourself.

Mark: Right, the most important thing is when you get the leads is to make sure the person owns the house because a lot of people tell you, they own the house, and then you find out they don’t and it’s a waste of your time. Because most of the leads that we get, like 90% of them are financed. And if they finance, the homeowner has to finance it.

Ari: I mean, that’s a topic for another podcast, but financing, obviously is a tool you use 90% of is a big number. So obviously that is an important factor, which really is a good segue into the whole conversation about qualifying leads because you get a lead. That’s fantastic. But as he said, If you don’t do things the right way and approach it in a certain process, are you going to get the results you want and often you’re wasting a lot of time and energy. So you know, I mean outside of like asking you about homeownership What are like the primary questions, if you had to put like the top three together outside of homeownership that you’d like to ask people in terms of qualifying a prospect?

Mark: To see how long they’ve been when they’re actually want to do this. See if they’re like a fly-by-night person or just gathering estimates. They’re just kicking tires or they’re ready to do it or they had other estimates. Basically just trying to find as much information as you can. So when you go into the house to try to sell them, you have everything to your advantage. qualifying leads

Ari: So you mentioned like certain things that would be a would turn red flags or things that you’re looking out for they would clue you in. So what is it that is throwing up those red flags you mentioned? Are they just you know, kicking tires, are they serious? They’re ready to pull a trigger, so to speak. qualifying leads

Mark: So I mean when you talk to somebody and they say they got 22 estimates I mean you only need to get two to four estimates realistically. And I mean, and basically, you’re going to buy the person that you like. So if you like the salesman, just because he’s the first person there, you can buy if you like the person. And it’s like, people that that do 20 estimates are just looking for the lowest price, and we’re not going to be the lowest price, we’re not going to be the highest price, we’re going to be right in the middle.

Ari: So if I’m hearing you correctly, and that’s one of the big red flags, anything more than the typical, maybe even four to five estimates, if someone’s stretching it, but anything more than that is a red flag in your mind. And the person isn’t going to be able to make a decision. And you want it basically, you got to get all the decision-makers there. 

Mark: So basically, if you go into a house, and and and they’re a married couple, you want both people there, and they’re not there, we won’t go out. I mean, so you’re that strong about it. If you don’t have both parties, there are at least telling you, they’ll be there, then we’re going to set the appointment for when both parties are going to be there that on the house. And sometimes in you have to I mean, people these days are good at lying and getting around it. Because they’ve had other people that have come out there. And when they come out, and you if you’re married, and it’s a kitchen or bathroom job, you’re not gonna say yes, without talking to your wife. Right? So we just reset it. People don’t like that. But that’s the way we do it.

Ari: Yeah, I hear you. I’ve been on your side of the coin in my past. So I do understand the value of it. And I’ve ran leads working for other companies. And I know how challenging it is to even attempt to close a deal with someone when both parties and make those decisions are not there. So I feel exactly what you’re saying and understand that 100% And that’s a unicorn, the one that makes the decision without the spouse around which unicorns don’t support a business that is for sure. Are there other red flags, you look forward like things that would obviously disqualify someone, but for the most part, you’re lower on the totem pole? 

Mark: If somebody says the word insurance, we’ll back away from it, because 95%-98% are gonna want three bids. And after the three bids, they’re gonna take the lowest bid. And even then 95% of the time, you’re not going to get picked anyway. So

Ari: Interesting. That’s the first time I’ve heard that. qualifying leads

Mark: And then you get these people that there’s like these grant programs now that they’re getting through, like the state, when we hear the word state we get. They’re not, they’re not. They don’t care. And I mean, that you’re not going to get the money, you’re wasting your time, we went through somebody last year, we signed them up, and the city told them, they were going to get their money. And several months later, the city sent them a letter that they’re not getting their money. So we just don’t even waste their time with grants. 

Ari: So you use qualifying to screen people out and make sure your time is being spent in the best way. So those are the negatives like the Eliminator, so to speak, you know, so what would be the things that are your favorite questions to gauge their need and interest? I mean, obviously, how many bids are getting mentioned is a good one. But outside of that, what other things would help you to see their real prospects and when you get your blood flowing to go out and meet
on people call up? 

Mark: They’ll see our signs, they’ll, they’ll talk to other people, they’ll see people out there. I mean, those are our favorite leads, of course, I mean, so do ask certain questions, though, when you get a lead and say for from offshore from any of the providers you work with, or any sources that you know, you know, you could ask and you’re going to be able to get a gauge a good, good indication of are these guys serious talk to somebody on the phone, you can somehow hear by their tone of voice. It’s just gut. I mean, there’s really nothing that there’s not some secret question that you asked this, you have the right info.

Ari: Exactly. So from what I’m hearing from you, a lot of it comes from experience is a big part of it. Because gut instinct is one thing, but that is based on the experience of what your guts tell you. So that is a big part of it. So part of the puzzle is getting that experience through trial and error. And like you said, running those leads that really don’t go anywhere to learn your lesson the hard way. Do you do anything to research or learn anything about them looking them up in any way? Homeownership or anything like that? You know, before you go out to a call or to a meeting?

Mark: Nope, nope. Because you the bottom line is we’ve done that before. And you prejudge people and you just never know. qualifying leads

Ari: I can tell you countless stories where I rolled up to a home myself to sell windows to, and I walked out with a deal when I never thought what would happen and there’s homes I rolled up to where I thought I’d be coming out with the big old deal and got nothing. So I do understand that and I believe bias is a huge factor in people. So I love what you’re sharing, it’s, it’s gonna buy a suit. And that is a very important thing. So what information do you look for, you know, if it’s not, you know, those things, you’re in research and get things that are going to bias you, these are specific information you do look for, you know, in a lead, you know, whether certain neighborhoods, certain ways they put in information, anything like that, that would be an indicator to you that it’s going to be a quality versus not?

Mark: Well, we’ll get some leads from like, sources, and the biggest indicator, like when people go online, they’ll put their name in, if they don’t put their address 90% of the time, it’s never gonna amount to anything. It’s a red flag if somebody doesn’t want to give you all their information; they’re hiding something.

Ari: So that’s an important factor, they’re providing not just an address, but a legit address, because I know exactly, you know, 123 Main Street, and it would justify an address in a system, that’s got to be a legit address in your locations, makes us but outside of that, I mean, it’s really, as you said, your unbiased, you go into it, you want to qualify them, you want to make sure that they are the right person, or people that they’re qualified to buy.

Mark: Right, the bottom line is, if the people say to us that they have bad credit, we’ll ask them what their credit score is. Now we can get if the people own their home free and clear, I can get somebody bought that has a 530 or 540 credit score, which is, and people don’t realize that which is real low. But because there are companies out there that will buy it, short sell, but if you are prejudiced, you’re looking at a house or whatever, what they tell you, you just never get to that point.
So going back a step, you find this out on that qualification call before you ever get out there. Are you asking the folks, you know, are you looking to do this? You know, with financing assistance? Or are you looking to do this, you know, out of pocket cash? Just to get a feel for it. But if they if they say something, I’ll follow it. But I don’t like to press them like, what’s your credit score? Because then they think, like, you’re being racist, or? No, that’s why I said, I would hate for anyone to come out of this. And all of a sudden start posing that question to people on a qualification call if it’s not appropriate. So it’s based on them have said something to you, like, they know they’re gonna want to finance they want
somebody saying that, like, I need to get a roof, but my credits not that good. So when they say that, I’ll go, “Well, what’s your credit score? And then I’ll go, Is your house free and clear?” So I don’t lead into it; I let them tell me and then at that point, you have a pretty robust process. 

Ari: So this is something that you have literally a process for when you contact a lead, that you’re taking people through with minor variance, that is part of your pre-visit/ pre-estimate process. qualifying leads

Mark: Exactly. 

Ari: So I have to assume the answer to this, but I’d rather ask it anyways. Because I know on my side, no matter how qualified someone was, it’s happened to me. But you know, even with the robust process, even with the, you know, a rock-solid history of doing this, have you experienced times or you know, even a single time, or someone that was qualified, yeah, they backed out at the last second, you know, on your way to the appointment or showing up there?

Mark: Yeah. Yeah, they do that.

Ari: So, there’s not able to say the qualifying is the be all end all at the end. We’re still human beings, and there are things that happen, try to reset it at that point. Absolutely. So, you know, bias against them. You do try to reset it and respect the fact that they are humans and things might have come up and benefit of the doubt kind of a situation. 

Mark: Exactly. 

Ari: Awesome. So if I could read correctly, if they’re qualified to begin with, they’re still qualified. We just got to find the better time. Right. Yeah. And I know it’s frustrating for myself as well, you know, meeting with prospects on your way there does not so it’s very easy not to get by as they give you kudos for not allowing the influence of giving benefit of the doubt and setting up another meeting and putting yourself in the driver’s seat. That’s fantastic.

Mark: Exactly.

Ari: So is there anything else that you would share you know, in terms of qualifying a lead you know, again, obviously, How to secure a lead and how to close them and get the deal. Those are topics for other podcasts. But you know, focus your Is there anything else that you would share with others, based on your many, many years of experience, have
anything more to share? 

Mark: I think I’ve said it all.

Ari: I don’t disagree. But I think qualifying leads personally is a very simple process if you have a process, but I think that’s the key that you do. And if someone does have a similar or some type of process that is accomplishing what they’re looking to accomplish, hey, you’re setting yourself up for success. It doesn’t need to be complicated. qualifying leads

Mark: Exactly. 

Ari: Awesome. Well, I appreciate you sharing all this. Because at the end of the day, we’re here to help other folks. And I know you have a tremendous success rate in terms of getting in touch with your leads, qualifying them, and making sure when you’re out on appointments, they are more likely deals you’re going to close, you’re spending your time working smarter, not harder. And it’s something I find a lot of value in sharing with other folks and making sure they get that same success. I really do appreciate it. qualifying leads

Mark: Okay, perfect. 

Ari: So just a couple of things here in closing, besides I want to thank Mark, obviously, for joining us, this is an opportunity here, not just to interview someone that is a sales expert, but also one of our own clients, which is even more exciting for me and knowing that he’s having success, you know, across the board, not just with us, but many of his sources for leads. So again, I do appreciate you taking the time to join us Mark and, you know, being with us. Thank you for listening to the X Factor. It’s a home improvement sales podcast. I hope it does bring you value and helps you take your sales game to the next level. In our next episode, we’ll be talking about being prepared as you go and come into sales calls or sales meetings. So be sure to subscribe so you can catch that episode. Now you as a listener, your action items are to hit that subscribe button to catch the next episode. You can follow us on Instagram or on LinkedIn @conXpros. And if you didn’t catch that, check out our description for all of our social media links at the bottom. If you have questions shoot us an email Again, I really appreciate you tuning in and wish you success.


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