Managing Homeshow Leads
Homeshow season has officially begun. Whether a weekend show in a small market, or a major city’s ten-day marathon show, we have heard from multiple dealers that consumer interest is strong. Homeowners are breaking free from winter and starting to plan this year’s projects. A strong sign for 2018!
We have always seen homeshows be a great lead generator for specialty metal roofing. They give homeowners the opportunity to touch and feel the product, something the internet still can’t provide, outside the stress of a salesperson at their home. Of course, there are best practices to ensure the investment is as worthwhile as possible, and any show is a waste if the leads are not followed up on properly. The challenge with shows and events is you may leave with 30 or more leads and it is a race to see which company can capitalize on them first. In this issue of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report, I would like to discuss how we see the most effective companies manage their leads following a successful show.
Too often I see companies wear themselves out working a show and, after it wraps up Sunday afternoon, take a couple of days to rest and regroup. They might show up to the office late Monday morning and focus on all the emails and tasks that stacked up. The problem is, all their competitors left the show with the same leads, and at least one is hungry and desperate. By the time they get around to calling on Tuesday or Wednesday, a competitor has probably already run the appointment and had a chance to close the deal. Any show is only worth your time and money if you can immediately follow up on the leads. If you cannot handle the lead volume, your money is better spent somewhere else. Some CRM systems work well for scheduling appointments right from the show booth, so you only have to worry about confirming the appointment the week after. Regardless of your system, you must start calling leads as soon as possible in order to protect your marketing investment.
How hard to qualify leads is a constant debate, but when working through a significant number, it is in your best interest to ask some simple questions to gauge the quality of the lead and its likelihood to buy. You want to run the best leads within the first week of the show, but if half your appointment schedule is filled with homeowners not at all prepared to spend $35,000+ on a roof, those appointment slots were wasted. Simple questions like “How long do you plan to stay in your home?“ or “We specialize in investment-grade metal roofing, which often costs more initially but our customers save significant money over their time in the home. Does that sound like the solution for you?” can help you gauge the quality of the lead and determine its priority in the appointment schedule.
Experts across the industry agree that any appointment scheduled more than three days out might as well not exist, as its cancel rate increases dramatically. After a homeshow, it is impossible for most companies to run all their appointments within three days, so their pre-positioning and appointment confirmation processes are critical. The companies I have watched do this best are connecting with leads, at minimum, every other day from the time the appointment was set till it is scheduled to be run. Beauty shots and relevant research tools are great things to email ahead of time in order to maintain their interest. Calling and texting the day before to confirm the appointment is a must. Your pre-positioning and confirmation systems can prevent appointments from canceling and decreasing your cost per appointment. We have some great non-product-specific articles and videos that could work well. Please reply if you would like me to send them to you.
Finally, we see most companies give up if they fail to make contact with a lead after one or two phone calls after a show. I heard from a very successful dealer this week that 10% of their business comes from leads they generated over a year prior to the sale – 10%! You must gain proper “lifetime authorization” to avoid Do Not Call laws, and want to do so respectfully to avoid complaints online, but you should never stop pursuing a lead. Even if a homeowner tells you they chose to install an asphalt roof, you know that home is a potential customer 8 – 12 years down the road! With proper follow-up and leveraging the power of a CRM, a homeshow can create business years down the road.
Homeshows are incredibly effective if managed properly, or a waste of time and money if not. I hope you take some time to evaluate your lead management systems to ensure your spring shows are as effective as possible and springboard you to an incredible 2018.
As always, thank you for being here and participating in this conversation. Please do not hesitate to contact me if we can ever be of service.