Leads In The Fall
It is my pleasure to announce the dates of the first annual Metal Roofing Summit presented by the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report! We are gathering the leading residential metal roofing companies from across North America to our headquarters in Piqua, OH for two and a half days of training, networking, and sharing of best practices.
The Summit will be held March 13 – 15, 2017, and we will focus on planning for the future of our industry as we navigate an ever changing marketplace and world. We will be joined by Brian Smith of Dave Yoho Associates to discuss in-home sales in the new economy and Susan Graim, a leading marketing expert and consultant, to help us review our branding, identity, and lead generation. You will not want to miss this spectacular event! Please mark your calendars and visit the website for more details.
Recently, we have heard from a few dealers and other friends in the industry that leads have been slow so far this fall. We usually see a slight dip in the fall of election years, so we must get creative and find ways to compensate for standard methods underperforming. Unfortunately, by the time we see a fall dip, it is usually much too late to develop a new television commercial, ad campaign, or other traditional marketing effort. By the time you buy the space, develop the materials, and get them in front of consumers, snow has begun to fall and most homeowners have decided to wait till spring.
If you are currently in need of leads, rather than sending more money to your marketing vendors, I would encourage you to first consider what we call “sweat marketing” – marketing that requires more time than money and a willingness to roll up your sleeves.
The most successful home improvement companies build systems so 30 – 40% of their business comes from sweat marketing methods. Dave Yoho refers to these as ARC: add-ons, referrals, and canvass. The most valuable asset in your business is your past customers – homeowners who saw the value in your solutions and who you hopefully left ecstatic once their project was completed. By leveraging your ability to resell your past customers (add-ons) or those within their circle of influence (referrals), you can multiply your business without multiplying your marketing costs. And, these methods can be used anytime for immediate success – even in the fall!
Though it might be inexpensive, sweat marketing takes hard work and discipline, so few companies ever maximize its potential. You must convince sales people to visit projects during installation and knock the doors of surrounding houses. You must reallocate some marketing dollars to staying in front of past customers rather than creating new ones. You must closely track the numbers of salespeople and hold them accountable to their targets for self-generated leads.
f you are going to implement a self-generated requirement for your salespeople, it is critical to design their compensation package accordingly. They deserve more money on self-generated sales because you didn’t have to spend your marketing dollars, but it must not look like you are only implementing a self-generated program to cut their commission overall. In organizations with established self-generated programs, salespeople make an additional 2 – 4% on leads they generate.
Below are some sweat marketing methods companies are using to immediately generate quality leads. This is certainly not a complete list and some ideas might not work for every company, but I encourage you to consider the opportunity to grow your business through sweat marketing, whether this fall or in the future.
Train your salespeople to knock the five closest doors to every appointment – the two houses on each side and the closest three across the street – especially after making a sale. The best time to get a sale is right after you just made one!
Develop an inspection program for past customers. Whether it is complimentary or a service package they purchase at the time of the sale, visit their project once a year and provide an inspection and, if necessary, minor routine maintenance. It costs very little, but gives you the opportunity to ask for referrals, let them know of current specials on other products, and you show your face in the neighborhood.
Mail or knock the neighborhood during installation to make neighbors aware of your project. In any given neighborhood, most of the homes were all built about the same time. If you are working on one home’s roof, windows, or siding, there is a good chance the neighbors will soon be considering the same project.
Reach out to past customers and offer a giftcard if they will display your yard sign for a month or two. If the roof was finished a few years ago, make a special sign promoting that “after three years, the roof still looks brand new!”
Require salespeople to visit the project during installation. They should have a great relationship with those homeowners if they closed the deal. Visiting during install gives salespeople the opportunity to ask for referrals and sell add-ons to the project.
Create a formal referral program that provides significant incentive for past customers. Most companies are spending anywhere from $1000 – $3000 on marketing per sale, so it is a steal if a past customer brings you a sale and you only owe them $500.
Time and time again, we see that one of the ways the most successful home improvement companies separate themselves from the competition is how they utilize sweat marketing and the power of their past customer list. If you would like any additional details on the ideas above or to discuss how our marketing department might help you implement these programs, please do not hesitate to contact me via email or either of the phone numbers below.
As always, thank you for participating in this conversation, and please let me know of any ways we could be serving you. Remember to mark your calendars for the Metal Roofing Summit!
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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