It’s only March and it feels like busy season is already upon us! Our sales were up 35% over last year through the end of February and every contractor we talk to is entering Spring with a significant backlog and lots of potential sales in their pipeline.
Feels pretty good, doesn’t it?
I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade but, just because things are good now, doesn’t mean it’s time to let up. In fact, as businesses grow and things increase like overhead, wages, and liability, it becomes increasingly important to keep our noses to the grindstone and continue to work hard in order to ensure continued growth and success.
In this issue of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report, I want to talk about one of the most common pitfalls that I see contractors make. It happens every year. We get busy and the urgency to make more sales doesn’t feel quite so strong as it did when we didn’t have a backlog. As a result, we start to let up a bit in terms of following up on sales leads. I have just three words for this situation:
Don’t Do It!
Everything about being in the contracting business starts with the lead. When we forget about that and pay less attention to leads, things drop off quickly. Let me share a few things about sales leads:
Prospects Are Easily Distracted. Let’s face it. We’ve all done it before. We’ve seen something at a show or read about it on the internet, gotten excited, made an inquiry, and then had our enthusiasm dwindle. It happens rapidly. When a customer makes an inquiry with your company, that is a Buying Signal. They have pain and they have desire. Do not let that lead sit until their pain and desire have both diminished. Inquiries must be followed up professionally and immediately!
Your Response Is Telling. If a prospect makes an inquiry and then doesn’t hear back from you right away – what does that tell them? When this happens, they draw their own conclusions as to how responsive you will be at completing their project or taking care of problems that crop up. It’s critical to be a company that proves your responsiveness right from the beginning and every step along the way.
Your Competitors Are Good. Many prospects will inquire with multiple companies. However, the conversation will often be continued only with the potential vendor who contacts them first. Your competitors are good and fast and they are ready to steal YOUR prospects! Don’t let them!
I will say it again — it is critical that leads be contacted immediately.
Below are a few more things to think about when following up on leads.
Follow Up On Leads In Multiple Ways. Website leads, call-in leads, third-party leads, and even home show leads should receive a prompt email telling them what to expect going forward. If this is personalized from the owner of your company, all the better. And, of course, you’re calling those leads and getting them added to your e-newsletter list as well.
Video Follow-Up. It is very easy to create a quick, personalized video thanking someone for their interest and then posting it privately on Youtube and sending them a link. You want to capture the prospect’s mindshare quickly and this is a way to do that.
Create Anticipation To Sell The Appointment. It’s important to let your prospects know that, when you meet with them at their home, they will receive something that no other contractor will provide. A great way to do this is to stress to them the importance of an attic inspection before they choose a new roof. You want to plant seeds so that they know they could miss something very important if their attic is not inspected – something that only your company offers to them. This is all part of Selling The Appointment – something we’d be happy to discuss with you in greater detail if you wish.
Be Persistent. People get busy. Again, we’ve all done it ourselves. We’ve made inquiries and then gotten too busy to communicate further. Leads showed an interest because they had an interest. Follow up frequently until you connect with them. They did not reach out to you for no reason.
Cultivate Leads. There are several great ways to cultivate leads but one of the most important is a monthly e-newsletter that reaches your pipeline of prospects, past prospects, and past customers. Connecting with folks on a regular basis, and providing useful information to them, will take leads to the next level and bring in referrals.
Soft Leads Are As Important As Hard Leads. Metal Roofing Alliance leads and leads you receive from third parties such as your manufacturer or distributor are equally important to leads you generate on your own. They must be followed up promptly and professionally.
We’re happy you’re busy. That’s great! But, as our parents told us, it’s important to make hay while the sun shines. Now is the time to continue to follow up proactively on every lead that comes into your company.
Please email me or call me at 1-800-543-8938, ext. 201 whenever I can be of service. I’d love to hear about your “best practices” when it comes to lead processing!
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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