Before I get into the specifics of turning leads into customers I will share a quick story. Our first few months in business we signed up dozens of contractors into our network. There was a remodeling contractor we signed up in Bergen County, NJ. He was constantly complaining about how bad our leads were. It was surprising to me especially since no other contractor was saying that. In fact, just the opposite. Almost every other contractor we signed up was saying how great our leads were. So I asked him, “what exactly is so bad about the leads you’re getting from us? Are the phone numbers wrong? Are they too far outside the area where you work?” His answer shocked me. He said, “most of them never called me back”. I replied, “how many times did you call them?” and he said, “once”. I couldn’t believe it. If you think you’re going to buy a lead, call someone once, leave a message and expect for them to call you back or for you to get their business you are kidding yourself.
I had another contractor tell me once that he emailed the lead but they never wrote back. I couldn’t believe it. He never even bothered to call the leads and then he wanted a refund for the leads he purchased. This is when I decided I needed to write a blog post on lead nurturing, sales and how to turn leads into customers.
The bottom line is that most home improvement contractors have little sales experience. It’s a shame because sales is a big part of being in business for yourself or running a small business. There’s an entire industry built around learning how to sell; books, videos, classes and more but most home improvement contractors learn as they go and that’s a problem. By mastering a few techniques around lead nurturing and sales you can close more sales, get more referrals and grow your business. Here goes:
Step 1: Get Very Comfortable Making & Returning Sales Calls
As soon as you receive a lead from us you have to call the lead back. The sooner the better. If the person does not answer leave a detailed voice mail. If the home owner does answer proceed to introduce who you are, why you’re calling and how you’re the right person for their home improvement project. Here is sample voice mail.
“Hi Mary, this is John from ABC Remodeling. I’m responding to a request for more information that you submitted on CompetingContractors.com. It looks like you’re planning to remodel your kitchen. I specialize in kitchen remodeling and I’ve been working in the New Haven Connecticut area for nearly 10 years. I would be happy to discuss your remodeling project further with you at anytime. Please give me a call back at 555-555-5555. I also have some references that I can share with you. I look forward to speaking with you.”
Step 2: Email New Leads at the End of Every Day
In addition to returning calls you should be emailing new leads every night. In your email you should state that you called them earlier and left a voice mail. Reiterate why you’re emailing them and why you’re the right contractor for their home improvement project. In this email you should attach references, link to online reviews and attach pictures of similar projects you have completed. End your email with a strong close urging them to please call you back as soon as possible to discuss further or to schedule a time for an in person visit so you can meet in person and provide an estimate.
Step 3: Call Again to Follow Up
People are very busy. If you don’t hear back from a lead by the end of the next day you should be calling again either that night or the next morning. Anything could have happened. Maybe the baby started crying when you called the first time. Maybe they were in the middle of watching their favorite show or cooking dinner or a million other things. The bottom line is that people are busy. You must follow up by continuing to call. Remember, this person took the time to fill out an online inquiry and provided their phone number and email address so that a qualified contractor near them would contact them. These leads are highly qualified so treat them like they’re about to be your next customer and they very likely will be.
Step 4: Call Again
That’s it. Keep calling every other day at this point.
Step 5: Mail them a flyer or your business card.
At the end of every 2 weeks or month you should be compiling all the leads that you were unable to make contact with and mail them your business card. The lead has their physical address so this is easy to do. Include a short letter or note saying, “Hi Mary, I tried calling you a few times but never heard back. If you’re still looking to remodel your kitchen please contact me. I would be happy to discuss your project with you.”
Step 6: Create a Prospect Spreadsheet
If after several attempts to contact a lead you haven’t heard back from the home owner then it’s fair to say they either changed their mind, hired someone else, or decided to wait. Whatever the case may be you should hold on to their contact information. I always recommended creating a simple Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with the information from all the leads. During the holidays mail all your leads and customers a holiday card. In addition, maybe 1-2 times per year you should mail them a post-card offering $100 off their next home improvement project, etc. Maintaining contact is the key.
Lead nurturing is a powerful way to turn leads into future customers. By following the steps above you can establish a very high degree of awareness and recognition for you, your business and services with the leads you receive from us. In doing so you will increase the amount of leads that become customers.