Not All Remodeling Leads Are Created Equal
All contractors want leads. Without leads there wouldn’t be any customers to do business with. Some contractors are happy just to get leads and they give little thought to the quality of the lead. Other contractors want specific leads and create criteria they will use for qualifying the value of those leads. If as a contractor you want to sell more projects and don’t want to waste valuable leads you might want to consider where your prospects are in their buying process before you try to close the sale. Attempting to close the sale too early can kill the value of a lead all together; at least for your business.
A name and a phone number do not represent a lead
It’s important to consider how you and your business will define a lead. This subject came up recently at a Remodeler’s event I participated at earlier this year at the Marvin Windows and Doors Training Center up in Warroad MN. From the discussion that followed we all came to the conclusion that most contractors who do no marketing at all consider a lead to be anyone who calls their businesses looking to get work done. On the other hand those remodelers who were doing proactive marketing were adamant that a qualified lead was what they were after. To these remodelers, and I agree 100%, a qualified lead was a lead that qualifies to do business with a company based on that company’s pre-established target customer and product or service offering.
There are many ways to qualify the value of a lead and whether or not your business wants to work with a certain prospect. In a previous blog post I shared a list of 25 questions contractors can use for prequalifying prospects. As the market picks up and leads increase you won’t want to be wasting time chasing poor quality leads. Use those questions, and any others that make sense for you, to help focus your efforts on the right leads.
Consider the importance of timing
One thing many contractors neglect to consider is where their prospect is in their buying process. Here are three ways to think about this:
- Some prospects are just getting started thinking about what to do. They aren’t ready to commit to any specific product or choose a contractor to work with yet.
- Some prospects have already started their research. They may be clear about what they want to accomplish and the things they need to consider, but may not yet have chosen the right products for them or even know where to start looking to find them. They too may not yet be ready to chose a contractor and make a commitment to buy.
- On the other hand some prospects have done their research, done their due diligence picking out products and are ready to interview contractors for the purpose of moving forward and getting their project under contract.
Knowing where your prospect is in their buying cycle can often make the difference between closing the sale and alienating the prospect.
Close the sale or nurture the lead?
Consider that if you try to close a prospect that is still in steps one or two above they will not likely buy anything from you, at least at that time. How could they? They still don’t have enough info to make a confident decision. If you try to close them you might just alienate them. Depending on your approach, if you make them feel bad because they wouldn’t make a decision and or that they wouldn't buy from you, they may never buy from you. But, on the other hand, if you know they are not ready to buy, rather than attempt to close them see if you can help them move their process along so they can do the due diligence required to confidently make a decision and sign a contract. Helping them through this process is what is often referred to as lead nurturing.
Practice Catch and Release
According to GE Capital Research consumers spend 38-115 days researching before making a major purchase. If your qualified prospects are not yet ready to buy, respect their process and consider your approach with them. Give them the time they need when they need it. By this I mean give them time to do their research. And, at the same time consider offering them some guidance to help move them along and to show that you can be a trusted adviser for them. When they are ready to decide on products and need help with that part of their process again be ready with help and guidance, but don’t try to close them yet. Remember, if they told you they were still trying to decide what products to use how could they make a buying commitment? Trying to close them may seem disrespectful to them. Instead offer them guidance and let them know you would love to work with them when they are ready to choose their contractor. The idea here is that if you practice catch and release, and your prospects can swim off unharmed, they will likely remain in your pond and may decide to jump on your hook when they are ready to bite!