3 Critical Stats from the 2020 State of Remodeler Marketing Report

Every year, my company Builder Funnel surveys remodelers from all over the United States and Canada to uncover the biggest challenges, obstacles and goals for the upcoming year.

This year, we partnered with Remodeler’s Advantage to promote the survey and put together the report. You can download the full report here.

That being said, I wanted to highlight 3 critical stats that stood out to me so that you can make 2021 a killer year for your remodeling business.

 

40% of Remodelers Do NOT Feel Their Marketing Strategy is Effective

Yikes. Almost half of remodelers don’t think their marketing is working. That’s pretty scary. I was being interviewed today, and a question came up that I think provides some context as to why this is.

Most remodelers aren’t consistent with their marketing efforts. They blog 4 times and then stop…and then suddenly 3 years go by and when a prospect visits the site, they see the last post is from 2017. Not a good look.

Or maybe they decide to advertise in a local magazine. So they place 1 ad and nothing happens…so they stop.

Marketing requires an element of consistency for it to actually take hold and start to produce. Most remodelers just don’t stick with the strategy long enough.

This also leads to another reason why…

 

54% of Remodelers Do Not Calculate ROI or Don’t Know How

If you aren’t able to calculate the ROI on your marketing, you probably don’t think any of your marketing is effective.

I see this a lot.

Remodeler: “I’ve been doing Google Ads for a while now, but it’s not really working.”

Me: “Oh, really? Why not?”

Remodeler: “I’m just not getting enough leads, and the leads that do come in aren’t high quality.”

Me: “Interesting. How many leads did you get last month and how much did you spend?”

Remodeler: “I’m not exactly sure how many leads I got, but we’re spending $500/month on Google Ads.”

Me: “Okay, if you don’t know how many leads you got, do you know if you’ve closed any projects?”

Remodeler: “I’m not really sure.”

This is a very common exchange that takes place on my calls with remodelers. If you don’t know how many leads and customers you’re getting from a certain channel, you can’t possibly know if it’s working or not.

Today’s modern remodelers are putting in the tracking software and tools to be able to measure their marketing so that they can improve over time. It allows you to kill off any bad marketing channels and double down on channels that are effective.

The key takeaway from this stat is to make sure you put some marketing analytics and tracking tools in place heading into 2021.

 

41% of Remodelers are STILL not Blogging

Blogging has proven itself as one of the most powerful content marketing tools for attracting your ideal prospects through Google search.

If you’re not blogging or not blogging consistently, make the commitment to making 2021 the year you stick to it.

Blogging allows you to answer prospect questions they are typing into Google.

  • How much does a kitchen remodel cost in Atlanta?
  • How long does it take to add an addition in Seattle?
  • What are the current kitchen design trends in Austin?

The list of topics and questions goes on and on. By writing really great, informative blog posts on these topics, you’ll not only start to attract your idea prospects, but you’ll start building trust and credibility before the sales call because you’re becoming their trusted advisor by educating them about the process and how everything works and what to expect.

The other fantastic thing about blogging is that it acts more like an investment than an expense. Our company has been blogging for a decade, and we get traffic to our website each and every month to blog posts we wrote years ago. Those posts get indexed in Google and continue to pay dividends each and every month.

 

Wrapping Up

Each year, we uncover some really interesting insights through the report, and this blog just scratched the surface. Download the full report so that you’re primed and ready for 2021.

Have You Adapted Your Marketing Yet? Part II

The Remodeling Industry Was Behind…but Catching Up Now (continued from part I) Being involved in the digital marketing industry as well as the technology industry, we’ve been implementing several things for years that would have helped a lot of remodelers when the pandemic hit. That being said, this kicked the industry forward in a good way. What were those things? Virtual Events Many remodeling companies attend home shows, participate in Remodeled Home Tours, seminars, and similar events.  These are fantastic events, but with the landscape changing, the door is opened for more virtual events. These can be webinars instead of seminars, virtual walk-throughs instead of in-person and other creative events and video ideas. Virtual events are not “new”, but they are more “new” to this industry, so remodelers that are more tech savvy or jumped quickly to converting their physical events to digital events started seeing quick results. The end homeowner is primed and ready to join these events.  They are extremely comfortable with Zoom and video conferencing now, and they enjoy the convenience aspect as well. Action Steps:
  • Host your first webinar even if no one shows up:
    • Create a presentation deck on a high value topic to your audience
    • Practice your presentation
    • Put up a registration page for the webinar and promote it
    • Record the webinar so you can use it as an evergreen lead conversion funnel forever
Video Marketing Video has been growing exponentially online for the last decade, but the importance of using video in your digital marketing just jumped in a big way.  The less you’re meeting prospects in person means you need other ways to build rapport, credibility, and trust. Creating video content where your prospects can see your face, your team’s faces, and get to know you before they ever meet you increases the likelihood they will buy from you.  Anytime you can increase their comfort level with you and allow them to lower their guard, the better. A strong video marketing strategy will make your virtuals sales calls go smoother because they will be seeing a familiar face. Action Steps:
  • Start shooting video on the job site and posting it to social media
  • Brainstorm 3-5 videos you want every single prospect to watch before reaching out (about your process, your team, etc.)
    • Script out those videos
    • Hire someone to come shoot for a half day or have a team member film you
    • Edit the videos and post them to your website and social media
Digital Marketing I often get pushback from remodelers.  “I don’t think people looking to do $300K design-build projects use Google to find the company they want to work with.” This just isn’t true anymore. Maybe it was five or ten years ago, but it isn’t today.  We see our clients routinely closing $100K – $700K projects from internet leads, and we also see $1M+ projects closed, just not at the same frequency. Digital marketing is only going to get more and more important as we move ahead.  If you’re not looking at your website as your primary marketing tool and primary lead generation tool, you’ll eventually become obsolete.  As our younger generations get older and become your target market, you’ll be looking at an audience where all they know is Google and social media. Right now, we’re in a blended environment where you can still survive on word of mouth and referral leads, but you won’t thrive moving forward. Action Steps:
  • Take a hard look at your website. (and not just the design, which is what it looks like)
    • What percentage of your lead flow is it producing?
    • How many customers does it generate for you each month, quarter or year?
  • Invest in content, SEO and lead conversion strategies.

Moving Forward

If you’re overwhelmed with where to start, look at the action items I laid out in this article and pick one section to start working on. Take it step by step and start chipping away. It takes time, but it’s well worth the effort and investment.

And if you’re looking to fast track things a bit more, I recommend you join our VIP list for Builder Funnel Academy which is our comprehensive digital marketing training platform for remodeling companies. The doors will be opening soon, so make sure to join the VIP list to stay in the loop and learn more.

Have You Adapted Your Marketing Yet?

Earlier this year, we all got hit with a big shock to our world. The global pandemic had impacts on our personal lives, our businesses, and just about everything in between.

It feels like you can’t even go 24 hours without someone talking about COVID-19. See, even I just brought it up.

But we’re not going to focus on that. Today, I want to walk you through an interesting trend I’m seeing.

I’m in the fortunate position to have a more global perspective as to how this year has impacted remodeling companies. My company works with over 100 remodelers throughout the U.S. and Canada, so I can spot trends, common challenges, and opportunities.

In this article, I’m going to share six things I’ve learned or confirmed since the pandemic hit.

Content is Still King

When everything started happening in March, the world froze for a minute. Sales conversations screeched to a halt and leads dropped. But when everyone started to normalize a little bit (within about 30-45 days), I noticed a HUGE upswing in leads across the country for our clients.

As I dug deeper to try to figure out why, I realized that this pandemic was playing right into the hands of companies that had been invested in content marketing, their websites, and SEO.

Word of mouth and referral leads dried up and online activity spiked even more than usual.

Here’s an example. Things were moving along fairly steady and then leads spiked in May and have held strong at those new levels.

Here’s another example below where leads have doubled since March and continue to rise.

And another where leads have just about doubled.  These are some big increases!

I’m only sharing these to show you that we’re seeing this trend across the board, not just a one-off scenario.  All of these companies have invested in a strategic content and SEO plan.  

Content marketing and SEO matches the way people shop and buy today.  Homeowners do their own research.  Your potential customers want to come to the first sales call armed with information.  We all do this anytime we’re buying something.

So, why not implement a marketing strategy that matches the way people buy?

You can get started down this path by answering common questions you hear in the sales process.  

For example:

  • Prospect asks you: “How much will this cost?”  This question translates into blog titles (CONTENT AND SEO):
    • How much does a kitchen remodel cost in San Diego?
    • How much does a home addition cost in San Diego?
    • How much does a bathroom remodel cost in San Diego?

I made the assumption that you’re in San Diego, but just use your primary market area.

  • Prospect asks you: “How long will it take?”  This translates into blog titles (CONTENT AND SEO):
    • How long does a kitchen remodel take in San Diego?
    • How long does a home addition take in San Diego?
    • How long does a bathroom remodel take in San Diego?

I think you’re starting to get the idea.  Write down the top 5-10 questions you hear in the sales process.  Those are questions your prospects are looking up on Google.  

If you’re the one answering these questions, you’ll start pulling those people into your website.

The Remodeling Industry Was Behind…but Catching Up Now

Being involved in the digital marketing industry as well as the technology industry, we’ve been implementing several things for years that would have helped a lot of remodelers when the pandemic hit. That being said, this kicked the industry forward in a good way.

What were those things?

Virtual Selling
Here at Builder Funnel we’ve been virtual selling for a decade. From about 2010-2012 it was mainly by phone only and the occasional use of screen share, but then we made the transition to using video tools like GoToMeeting (and now Zoom).

A lot of remodelers moved quickly to adopt Zoom, but there was a learning curve, and we’re still seeing that learning curve in process. The companies that push the hardest down this path will be the ones that succeed because that’s what your prospects are looking for as well. They want convenience and safety is a concern.

You can accomplish a good amount of your sales process via video and screen share, and it will actually save you a ton of travel time. This will enable you to take more meetings and fill your sales pipeline faster.

Action Steps:

  • Get all your sales people trained on video technology.
  • Create a presentation or set of tabs you can pull up on a call and practice using screen share.
  • Invest in a solid webcam, lighting, and microphone.
  • Practice with a team member.

Moving Forward

If you’re overwhelmed with where to start, look at the action items I laid out in this article and pick one section to start working on. Take it step by step and start chipping away. It takes time, but it’s well worth the effort and investment.

And if you’re looking to fast track things a bit more, I recommend you join our VIP list for Builder Funnel Academy which is our comprehensive digital marketing training platform for remodeling companies. The doors will be opening soon, so make sure to join the VIP list to stay in the loop and learn more.

4 Remodeler Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2020

Are you ready to get real about the marketing mistakes your remodeling business made this year? One of the best ways to grow is to learn from your mistakes and vow to do better in the future. We surveyed remodelers from across the U.S. and Canada in Builder Funnel’s inaugural State of Remodeler Marketing Report and uncovered some mistakes remodelers were making and how to fix them to grow sales and boost your marketing in 2020. 

Remodeler Marketing Priorities

In 2019, the majority of remodelers surveyed prioritized converting leads to customers. However, almost half of those remodelers said their biggest marketing challenge was generating traffic and leads. While converting leads to customers is an important aspect of any business, remodelers struggled to obtain leads in 2019, and also didn’t make converting leads to customers a goal.

In 2020, focus your marketing efforts on the areas that generate leads and close sales. For many of the remodelers we work with, lead generation often come from premium content offers such as design guides or cost reports. Once you have a lead in your database, you can keep in contact and nurture them to the purchase phase by providing additional information, building trust, and helping lead them through their remodeling journey.

ROI & Analytics

In 2019, more than half of remodelers surveyed couldn’t calculate their marketing return on investment (ROI) or didn’t know which form of marketing gave them a higher ROI. This is causing remodelers to lose out on money and leads by not monitoring the ROI of their marketing efforts. If a tactic isn’t working, it’s important to change it to perform better or remove it from the marketing set, reallocating that part of the budget and time to an area that is doing well.

In 2020, invest in your marketing and your business by installing marketing analytics software. Once you can see the data, check the numbers weekly to see if anything needs to be tweaked. Take deeper dives monthly to see what’s working for your business and what’s not. By implementing these suggestions, your remodeling company will start to generate leads and customers more efficiently.

Remodeler Marketing Content & Strategy

In 2019, remodelers said that growing SEO and organic presence was a top priority. It’s  commonplace for consumers to take to the internet to do 90 percent of their research and decision making. However, this becomes a mistake when remodelers don’t take the extra step to boost their websites. Almost half of remodelers said their company never blogs, which is an important traffic driver and website booster.

In 2020, continue to focus your efforts on SEO and organic presence, but also consider more content creation for your website. We generally see content-heavy websites perform better in terms of website visits and leads, because with more options drawing people to your website, there are more opportunities for your content to be seen and for visitors to convert. Add blogs, videos, FAQs, process explainers, timelines, and any other pieces of content users would find helpful.

Sales & Leads

In 2019, more than half of remodelers said qualifying leads was their top sales challenge. It’s understandable that this is a challenge, especially while television shows on HGTV make remodeling seem like a fun, easy, and cheap process. Qualifying leads doesn’t have to be a long process or even a difficult one.

In 2020, let your leads self-qualify. Knowledge is power and your prospective customers want to learn more about the process before they begin. Why waste your own time by disqualifying leads after they’ve already reached out? Educate your consumers on the points that will help them self-qualify before they even get to you. Give consumers a range of what they can expect to pay for a remodel. Tell them the types of projects you complete. Show them what your timeline for remodeling projects typically is. All of this information can be given on your website — and ultimately saves time for you and for your prospect.

Creating Your 2020 Marketing Plan

We all make mistakes, but true failure comes when we don’t learn from our mistakes and instead continue to make the same ones. If your remodeling business is making any of these mistakes, consider the points above and work on a better system for 2020. For more stats and takeaways your business can use in the coming year, download the full 2019 State of Remodeler Marketing Report.

Find Email Annoying? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t

A lot of remodelers I speak with say they’re annoyed by email, and hesitate to send it to their prospects or clients so they don’t get annoyed too.

I’m pushing back on this.

Email is only annoying when it’s not relevant (helpful, entertaining, interesting). I’d argue that all marketing is that way — not just email!

So, if you’re not doing email because it bugs you, or if you are sending email but doubt its effectiveness, read on! If a video’s more your style, there’s a link at the end.

Email is Direct and Personal

Email is still one of the best ways to get directly in front of your audience. Everyone checks their email, and nearly 25% of people open emails within an hour of receiving them.

It’s also extremely personal. You can personalize your subject line, your introduction, and you can even customize other pieces of information you might already know about your prospect such as last name, phone number, or even the type of remodeling project they are interested in.

You’re Not Annoying if You’re Helpful

I don’t know about you, but depending on who sends them, there are some emails I open every single time and read all the way through. But there are some that I delete right away. Why?

Those email senders have trained me to do so. If an email has content I like, I’ll read it all. I’ll click every link. I’ll spend time with it. I’ll enjoy it.

If the email has content that’s irrelevant to me — my life or my work — I delete it. I may not even take the time to unsubscribe, just delete it and move on with my day.

Every email you send is training your audience to open your next email or to delete your next email. You’re training them how to respond.

So I encourage you to think about the really good emails you get. Let’s send more email like that!

Send Lots of Email

If you’re sending great email, you can’t send enough of it. Each email that genuinely gets opened and read is another touch point for your brand. And if your content is really great, your audience will love it. They’ll also come to know, like, and trust you — which is essential in marketing and sales.

At our company, we send one to two emails a week. Not all of it resonates with everyone, but we strive to make each email helpful, educational, or entertaining. I know we’re on the right track when I get a call from someone who says they’ve been getting our emails for a while and they finally decided to reach out.

The same will happen for you if you’re consistent, and you add value.

How to Get Started

“But, Spencer … I don’t know what to write about!”

The easiest way to get started is to answer questions. People that have never remodeled before (even people who have), have lots of questions.  LOTS!

  • How much will this cost? (you can give rough ranges)
  • What does the design process look like?
  • How long will it take to remodel my home?
  • I’ve heard remodeling horror stories — how will you help me avoid that?

The list goes on and on. And if someone is researching remodeling their home, and you’re answering their questions, then you’re building trust. This is how you’ll beat a lot of your competitors. They may not even contact your competitors because you’ve been helping them every step of the way.

Want help with your emails?  Book a quick 15 minute call with me — let’s chat!

And here’s the link to the video I promised!

4 Reasons Why Instagram is a Powerful Marketing Tool for Remodelers

You’ve discovered Instagram among the barrage of evolving and emerging social media platforms. FINALLY – a platform that you understand. Pictures, a caption, and maybe even a few related hashtags. Easy!

Instagram’s simplicity is part of what draws users to it. It’s minimalist and streamlined – and it’s in everyone’s pocket. And whether you’re willing to admit it or not, that’s a good place to be in the 21st century.

As simplified as Instagram may seem compared to other social media platforms, it still has a few tricks up its sleeves. Here are a few of our recommended tactics to maximize Instagram as a social media marketing, selling, and recruiting tool.

1. Brand Awareness and Consideration

Imagine your Sales Funnel.

At the top, users are mostly still becoming acquainted with your brand. They’re learning about your remodeling service offerings, discovering helpful resources you have, and comparing you to other remodeling companies in the area.

Here is where Instagram can come into play as a major factor for remodelers. Not only does it showcase that you are a modern company keeping up with trends, but it also showcases that you take pride in your completed projects.

When considering a remodeling company, homeowners want the assurance that their home remodeling project will be “Instagram-worthy” as well.

Sharing pictures on Instagram of your completed projects, your team on the jobsite, happy clients loving their new spaces, and any other imagery that boosts your brand will set you apart. Instagram shines for remodeling companies in the consideration phase.


  

2. Hiring and Recruiting for Your Brand

Are you hiring?

Instagram is a remarkable recruiting tool for remodelers. Like showcasing your brand to homeowners in the consideration phase, Instagram is perfect for showcasing how great it is to work at your remodeling company! From smiling selfies to stunning projects, your Instagram can show off your craftsmanship, expertise, and awesome team.

If you’re actively seeking job applications, you could even include your “Contact Us” page as the link in your profile. You could post an image encouraging curious individuals to send you a Direct Message and hear from people directly through Instagram as well.


  

3. Storytelling with Video, Imagery, and Stories

Instagram is constantly updating its platform to optimize its ability to tell stories.

Now, rather than only posting single images, you can upload multiple images and videos to your Instagram. This allows you to post mini albums of completed remodeling projects by room, provide a walk through with one of your teammates, or even a quick video kicking off a social media promotion or competition.
The options are nearly limitless.

Instagram now also offers an element of its profile that is similar to Snapchat. You can take pictures on the spot, add text or other fun effects, and add them to your story very quickly and easily. This aims to add ongoing stories and daily updates, for example, which may not be finished products that you want loaded on your permanent Instagram profile. These images or videos only last for 24 hours before they disappear.

Another benefit of the time constraint is that it urges your followers to check in on you daily so they don’t miss an update, keeping you top of mind if you participate in this Stories option.

Storytelling is still an important aspect of Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing. People feel connected with stories they can relate to, aspire to, and appreciate.


  

4. Communication and Direct Messaging with Instagram

Instagram now offers direct messaging through its platform.

Previously, users would have to leave comments on images to contact a brand or company. Now, if a user browsing your gallery of beautiful remodeling pictures is interested, they can send you a message immediately through their Instagram profile.

With one less hurdle to keep in contact with users and brands, Instagram improved its user experience both for browsers and brands.

The only down side to direct messaging? Instagram has become yet another platform that you have to check constantly to make sure you’re not letting any leads slip between the cracks!

Instagram Marketing for those New to the Platform

If you’re new to Instagram and aren’t sure how to set up your profile, do hashtag research, and other optimization basics, check out this helpful video we put together.

What are your initial thoughts on Instagram for your business?

The Critical Lead Tracking Step That Most Remodelers Are Missing

If you are a part of Remodeler’s Advantage Roundtables or have been a part of Remodeler’s University for a while, you know the importance of lead tracking. Where are you getting the most leads? The best leads? (the leads that translate to design and construction agreements).

Most remodelers are doing the basics, and are at least tracking the following categories of leads (or something similar):

  • Word of Mouth/Referrals
  • Signage
  • Direct Mail/Print
  • Internet/Website
  • Events/Shows
  • Paid Media
  • Other

This is a great start, but there is a huge gaping hole in one of these large lead buckets: Internet/Website.

If you’re doing a good job marketing online, your website should be producing 20%-40% of your leads which is a big chunk of your overall lead flow. If you don’t have more insight into where those leads are actually coming from (SEO, PPC, Social Media, etc.), you are going to be throwing a lot of money out the door.

Let me explain.

Google Analytics Isn’t Enough

Most of you probably have Google Analytics set up, which is great. That’s the standard when it comes to website analytics, but today that’s not enough. Google Analytics does a great job of telling you where your traffic is coming from, but it doesn’t “close the loop.” Where are our leads actually coming from? Remember… It’s not just about visitors.

Let’s take a look at a quick example:
If someone finds you on Houzz, then clicks through to your website, and finally, that individual fills out your Contact Us form, what will Google Analytics tell you? It will tell you that you received 1 visitor from a Referral Website (Houzz.com). That’s helpful, but it’s not the whole picture.

Capturing Part of the Equation

Because this person filled out a form, you call them to see if they are a good fit to work with you. As a part of your Lead Intake Process, you ask how they found you. They say they found your website. Chances are good that they don’t remember they clicked through from Houzz (or any other website for that matter).

So, now you have 2 pieces of information that are sort of helpful, but they are giving you false information (or at least not the full picture). The true picture is that you got a lead from your website, but they arrived there from Houzz. The picture you have is that you got 1 lead from your website. Separately, you know you got a visitor from Houzz, but you don’t know who that visitor is.

We need to connect the dots. Why, you ask?

Because many of your online sources require either time, money or both. Using our current example, Houzz has a free version and a paid version. If you’re paying for Houzz, don’t you want to know how many leads it’s producing for you? Grouping all Internet leads together doesn’t do your marketing budget justice.

How to Close the Loop

So, how can we close the loop on our marketing efforts and get some more visibility into what’s happening on our website? It requires some extra tracking, but it’s not rocket science.

Here’s what it can look like if you’re tracking your website correctly.

  • Column 1 shows Visitors to your website for various traffic sources.
  • Column 2 shows Contacts (Leads). These are people that have filled out a form on the website.
  • Column 3 shows Customers. These are leads that have actually paid for services and done a project with you.

 

And if you want to drill in and see where those referrals are coming from, you can:

 

Above, you can see Houzz has generated 1,022 visits and 65 contacts (leads). We can also close the loop and see we’ve generated 2 new customers from Houzz.

By putting the tracking system in place, we can measure various online paid media channels we use (Google Pay Per Click, Facebook Advertising, Paid Houzz, Home Advisor, Angie’s List, etc.). When those annual contract renewals come up, it’s much easier to make the decision to continue or stop.

No more flying blind!

Next Steps

If you haven’t checked out our Perfect Internet Marketing System for Remodeler’s Cheat Sheet yet, that would be a great next step. It walks you through:

  • The Tools You Need and Recommended Options
  • Estimated Costs for the Technology
  • The Skills Needed to Implement a Full Digital Marketing Strategy

And if you really want to get into the weeds on this stuff, check out the full post I wrote for PowerTips over here.

Refill your coffee first – it’s a meaty post!

Are you closing the loop on your marketing efforts? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

Do You Have a Good Sales System?

Most remodelers I talk to don’t have a sales system. They have parts of one. You might be reading this thinking, “I have a sales process. I have a system.” I encourage you to read this post and look at your own system to see where there might be some holes. The worst thing our business can have is a leaky sales funnel.

So where do we start? A good sales system starts with marketing.

Here are the components that make up a solid sales system:

1. Marketing
You may be thinking, “why is marketing part of my sales system?” Here’s why. What’s the goal of your sales system? It’s to bring in more revenue. Who and what handles new revenue? Often, we think it’s sales. But, it’s marketing and sales. The two go hand in hand. They both need each other, and they both are responsible for new revenue. I like to think of these departments as the Revenue Department. Everyone in these departments is accountable to new revenue (even if marketing and sales are the same person in your company).

2. Definition of a Sales Qualified Lead
In order for marketing to be successful in helping sales close enough deals, you need to have a clear definition of a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). This gives marketing a clear goal. It also ensures that goal aligns with bringing in new revenue. At the end of the day, there a ton of “vanity metrics” out there:

  • Facebook Likes
  • Re-Tweets
  • Page Views
  • Clicks
  • Email Open Rates

Don’t get me wrong, lots of vanity metrics can help show you if you’re on the right track or tending one way or another. BUT, at the end of the day, as a sales person, do I care about how many people viewed my website? No, but I do care how many leads are generated that I can follow up with.

I know what you’re thinking. “What’s a good definition of a Sales Qualified Lead?” There isn’t one right answer here, but I’ll provide you with an example.

Example Sales Qualified Lead for Remodelers: a lead where we have obtained First Name, Last Name, Email, and Phone Number. The lead is in our serviceable area geographically, and the lead at least meets a minimum budget of $30,000.

Your definition could, and should, vary. And the definition should be agreed upon by both the head of marketing and the head of sales. To make this concrete, write down your definition and have the different parties sign off on it. Along with agreeing to a definition, sales needs to agree to some terms as well, which I’ll address below in point number 5.

3. A Clearly Defined Sales Process
Now that we’ve got our SQL definition, let’s talk about your sales process. Most remodelers have this established (or at least have a general idea of the process). Here’s what we find works well, but you may have some slight variations.

  • Phone Pre-Qualification
  • On Site Consultation
  • Design Agreement Sent
  • Design Phase
  • Construction Agreement Sent
  • Closed Won
  • Closed Lost

It’s imperative to have this outlined so that you can put your potential deals into each bucket and use this to forecast. Here’s an example deal pipeline.

If you want to get a visual pipeline like this, you need to get a CRM that’s easy to use and low cost. CRM isn’t only for big companies anymore. Even if you’re a one-man band, you should use a CRM to track your deals.

As a side note, my company Builder Funnel is giving back to the remodeling industry this month. If you send me an email at spowell@builderfunnel.com before July 31st, 2017, we’ll get you set up with a completely free cloud based CRM and set up deal stages to give you a pipeline like the one above.

4. Critical Follow Up Steps (these occur between each phase in your sales process)
Now this is the piece most remodelers are missing. You’ve got your process (phone pre-qualification, appointment, etc.). But you don’t have follow up steps outlined or a plan for getting people “unstuck”.

For example, let’s say you talk to someone on the phone, and they are qualified, but you aren’t able to set the on site consultation. They need to check with their spouse’s calendar first. What’s your follow up plan if they don’t reach back out in a day or so? Are you going to call every few days? Email? Who’s responsible for that follow up?

Or, let’s say you go through the on site consultation, and they want you to work up a design agreement. However, once you’re ready to set up a meeting to review the agreement, they disappear. They go completely MIA. What’s your follow up procedure? How often will you call/email and who will do that? When do you declare the deal “dead” and move it to Closed Lost?

I don’t even want to know how much revenue goes away due to poor follow up between deal stages. Yikes!

5. Sales and Marketing Communication
Ahhh, sales vs. marketing. The age-old battle. Where do we begin?

Earlier, we talked about defining an SQL, which is critical. But part of that agreement needs to be how often, when, and how sales will follow up with leads to qualify them for budget.

For example, let’s say a lead fills out a form on your website and marketing is able to capture First Name, Last Name, Email, and Phone. This is pretty common. It’s now up to sales to follow up so that we can qualify or disqualify based on budget and location. Remember our example definition?

Example Sales Qualified Lead for Remodelers: a lead where we have obtained First Name, Last Name, Email, and Phone Number. The lead is in our serviceable area geographically, and the lead at least meets a minimum budget of $30,000.

Sales needs to agree to something like this:

  • Sales will follow up with website leads within 5 minutes when possible, and no later than 30 minutes.
  • The first point of follow up will be by phone, and if no response leave a voicemail along with a follow up email.
  • If no response within 24 hours, make another follow up call, voicemail and send an email.
  • If no response, make 4 more follow up calls, voicemails and emails over the next 10 days.
  • If no response, sales notifies marketing that the lead never surfaced so they can be placed in an email nurturing campaign or marketing lead re-activation campaign.

Does this feel excessive to you? It’s not. People are lazy, and they get busy. Persistent follow up will generate you a few more Closed Won deals every year. It’s worth the effort. Need helping creating your own service level agreement (SLA)? Here’s a template that will guide you through the process.

6. Sales to Production Hand Off Process
Sales doesn’t end with the signed construction agreement. It’s important to have a documented Sales to Production Hand Off Process. This allows for a smooth transition from signed agreement into production, but it also allows for proper expectations to be set as well as introductions to the appropriate team members.

If the transition into production isn’t smooth, you may get some people feeling buyer’s remorse which is the last thing you want, especially when you know how important referrals and positive reviews are for your future marketing efforts.

The more you look at this process, the more you can see marketing, sales and service connect. Marketing generates leads, sales follows up with leads and closes deals, service creates a happy customer, and that customer will in turn be a huge marketing asset to you whether that’s a referral, an online review, or a video testimonial.

Wrapping Up
So, I started this post asking if you had a sales system? My guess is that you have part of a sales system. Working through all six of these steps isn’t easy, and it does take time. But, if you take bite sized chunks and start putting pieces in place, you’ll adding more revenue to your top line in no time!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post and how your sales system looks. Leave a comment below!

3 Quick Marketing Wins for Remodelers

Many remodelers don’t start thinking about marketing until the revenue pipeline is looking slim .  This can be a tough spot to find yourself in.

As far as a larger marketing strategy is concerned, that’s the topic of another blog post.  But for today, I wanted to give you three quick marketing tactics you can use to get some extra revenue and projects flowing your way.  This won’t carry you forever, but it can help give your business a shot in the arm!

1. Referral Email Campaign

The referral email campaign is awesome. It’s a great way to connect with past clients and tap into their networks.  Chances are, if you liked the project you did with a past client, they know more people in the same neighborhood with similar home values and incomes.

I recommend using this email script with any past clients.  Feel free to use it as-is or modify it to fit your tone and style.  Oh, and if you just watched our webinar on mastering your CRM, this would make a great template so that you can save time!


 Subject Line: I need your help.

 Dear NAME,

As you know, I am the owner of a growing remodeling business. As I look to expand my business this year, I’m reaching out to people that I trust within my network to help me generate more business.

Much like how I helped you with your remodeling project, it’s my goal to help as many homeowners as I can to create the home they’ve always dreamed of. Are there one or two people you know that could use my help? If so, can you please send me their contact information?

I know how scarce time can be, so thank you in advance for your time and referrals. As your remodeler, I’d be extremely grateful. And of course, as your friend, they’d get the royal treatment.

All the best,

Spencer


2. Projects Completed in Last 6-12 Months

This is a quick little email you can send to clients that you recently finished projects for.  By sending this email, you increase the chances of having them ask you to do more work.  Sometimes it just takes being top of mind to get the business.

Again, you’re free to use it as-is or modified to suit.


Subject Line: Your recent remodeling project

NAME,

Thanks again for choosing us for your remodeling project – it was great working with you, and we had a blast working in your home!

We make it a habit to connect with our clients 6-12 months after a project to make sure that you are still 100% satisfied and don’t have any questions about on-going maintenance.

Let me know how we can help.

Thank you again!

Spencer


3. Review/Facebook Page Promotion Campaign

This campaign won’t get you more work directly, but it can influence how well you rank and show up on Houzz and Facebook where many remodelers like yourself get significant amounts of work.  Don’t hesitate to ask for reviews when you do a good job.


Subject Line: Did we do a good job?

Hey NAME,

I’m reaching out to you for help. In 2017, our company is looking to grow, and we know one of the best ways to do that is to get more people like yourself connected to us.

We’re looking to connect with more people that share similar qualities that you have such as trustworthiness, patience, and an appreciation for high quality.

It would mean the world to me if you could do a couple of things: 

1. Leave a review on Houzz (LINK)

2. Like our Facebook Page (LINK)

Thanks in advance!

Spencer


This tactic here is simple: if you get more people leaving reviews on Houzz, you’ll show up in more searches!  And…if more people like your page, your content will show up in more news feeds.  All good things for attracting more customers.

What do you think?

Which of these 3 quick wins will you try first? Have you tried any in the past? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

How to Use Deal Stages to See a Visual Pipeline of Revenue

Are you currently using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) to track prospects, leads, and customers?  If not, you’re missing out on revenue! (This was me a few years ago).

In just a second I’m going to share the three step process I use to maximize my revenue and stay ahead of potential downturns. But first, here are a few questions you should be asking yourself.

Do you use Excel and Outlook to track leads?

According to findings from HubSpot, “unsuccessful sales teams are two times as likely to use Excel, Outlook, or physical files to store lead and customer data.” (Source)

Do you have a formalized sales process AND a process for using your CRM to match that process? 

Sales processes have a profound effect on a company’s sales and profits. In fact, research shows that firms using formalized processes to streamline sales activity report 30% greater profit than businesses without them.  (Source)

Is your CRM accessible by phone/iPad or at least available in the cloud? 

Sales reps saw productivity increased by 15% when they had mobile access to CRM applications. (Source)

If you’re like I was three years ago, then you aren’t using your CRM to its fullest potential.  I realized we were paying for a CRM, but we weren’t really using it or benefiting from it.  I’ve learned a lot in the last several years, and I want to share with you a simple way to put your leads into a visual pipeline so that you can track leads along with your sales process.

Step 1: Identify Your Deal Stages

What are your deal stages?

Your deal stages match your sales process.  So, for example, your process might look like this:

  1. A lead calls your office;
  2. You run them through some pre-qualification questions over the phone;
  3. If things are looking good, you’ll schedule an in-person meeting at their home;
  4. From there, maybe you do a scope and range or put together a design agreement;
  5. Next, you’ll do the design and put together a construction contract.

If that’s the case, your deal stages might look like this in your CRM:

CRM Deal Stages

Step 2: Add Leads to Your Deal Stages

With your lead stages properly identified, you can now put them into the correct stage. Whether they are just entering the pipeline, or moving successfully through it, you will know exactly where they stand in the lead lifecycle.

Okay, so now that you’ve started adding leads to your pipeline, your Deal Dashboard might look something like this:

Sample Deal Dashboard with stages


Across the top, you see the deal stages.  Across the bottom, you can see the revenue forecast, based on where the deals are in your pipeline.  This makes things like scheduling and hiring much easier!

Step 3: Analyze Your Pipeline

You can also start to see if your pipeline is drying up which means you might want to put some more effort into marketing.

Whenever I look at my deals pipeline, I always like to see more deals in the early stages.  As many as possible.

Why?

Because I know that they trickle down to either “Closed: Won” or “Closed: Lost.”  And as long as I know my close rate I will always know where I stand.

Maybe 20% of your phone pre-screens close to customers.  Maybe it’s only 5%.  Honestly, it doesn’t really matter!  (Well it does, but that’s the topic of another blog post).

My point is, whatever your percentage is, you will always know if you have enough deals in the first stage to move down to Closed: Won.

Look at the example screenshot below. I like pipelines with this sort of ratio going on (well, if we had 1 or 2 more deals in the last 3 phases, that would be super robust!)

Sample of Good Sales Pipeline


If you have a pipeline that isn’t very top heavy, you’re depending too highly on everything in the later stages closing, and you can be certain that there will be a dry spell approaching quickly.


Would You Like a Free CRM Audit?

BuilderFunnel, one of the largest supporters of the Remodelers Advantage community, is offering them free for a limited time.

http://marketing.tmrdirect.com/free-crm-audit-for-home-builders

So what do think?

Are you using Deal Stages right now?  If not, would something like this help your remodeling company? Please share your comments below – I’d love to hear from you!