Combatting Low Lead Volume
A few of us here at Isaiah Industries have been on the road and have seen how incredibly busy you are firsthand. After a lingering winter resulted in a sputtering start to the year, many of you have now been hit with spring storms, making you even busier! If you are in an area that has recently experienced severe weather, you might want to revisit this issue of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report on selling the wind resistance of metal roofing.
In our conversations this week, we heard that lead volume has been low compared to past springs. The companies we visited have worked through their home show leads from earlier in the year and are now reliant on other marketing efforts which are not pulling as expected. The long winter could be to blame – homeowners did not start thinking about their home improvement projects until later than usual – so we are left searching for how to generate the number of leads we need. There is no magic bullet or brilliant new idea, unfortunately. We must continue to invest in our websites and evaluate where to best spend available marketing dollars, but here are a few cheap ideas you can hopefully implement immediately to help fill your pipeline.
Referrals – I am sure you have an incentive program for past customers who bring you referrals. The problem is, homeowners forget and their primary motivation for bringing you referrals is because they like you and want to help you, not the $100 incentive. If they have not heard from you in a couple of years, the “like you and want to help you” motivation begins to wear off. It can be rekindled though if you check in with your past customers: stop by while you are in the area, call to make sure their roof is still performing well, send them a birthday card, etc. It reminds them of why they like you and gives you the chance to ask if anyone has commented on their roof lately. If the job is a little older, maybe you offer them an incentive to put a “10 years old and still looks new!” sign in their yard for a month or two this summer. Now is the time of year their friends, family, and neighbors are thinking about roofing, so now is the opportunity for referrals.
Radius Marketing – I am always surprised how few companies farm the neighborhoods in which they have worked. Homes in a neighborhood will often all be reroofed within a couple of years and most neighborhoods are demographically homogenous; so, if there is one homeowner thinking of reroofing with metal, there are likely more. Working a neighborhood for additional leads often requires more effort than money. For example, the salesperson should be required to knock the doors of at least the few closest houses during installation. Many successful companies will incentivize their installers for leads they generate; teach them how to best engage the neighbor who stops to gawk at the beautiful metal roof while walking their dog. The success of direct mail can be hit or miss, but we have seen it be most effective when used as radius marketing. There are printers who will manage the mailing for you, all you must do is give them the address and parameters, or the USPS’ Every Door Direct Mail program is a very cost effective method, just requiring a little more effort from you.
Old Leads – When busy, many companies save time by not following up on leads as they should. There is less urgency during busy seasons, and so many other responsibilities to be fulfilled, but the effect will be felt when things slow down, the backlog dwindles, and the pipeline is dry. The most successful organizations never stop chasing a lead regardless of how busy they are and are able to generate 10% of their business from leads more than a year old – 10%! Do not give up on your home show leads that failed to turn into an appointment, there is a good chance they will in a few months. Call your leads from last fall, as many did not make a roofing decision prior to winter. We know metal roofing consumers are researchers; they take their time making a decision. When finally ready, they will usually sign with the company they have had contact with most recently. Build systems in your organization to continue reaching out to old leads, cultivating them for future business. If you do not have a call center, consider hiring someone part time to call your database of leads. Develop a monthly E-Newsletter to establish yourself as the metal roofing company of choice. You pay dearly for your leads. Converting them at a higher percentage – in whatever timeframe – will dramatically increase the stability and profitability of your organization.
Again, these are simple principles we see missed – tried-and-true methods that generate leads at a low cost if you are willing to make the effort. All of us at Isaiah Industries are here to help if we can. Our in-house marketing team has developed print pieces – flyers, mailers, door hangers, etc. – and content that our dealers have found successful. Please reach out to me if you think we might be able to help.
As always, thank you for participating in this conversation and do not hesitate to let us know how we could be serving you.
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
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