Twenty years ago, lead nurturing looked like this for most business owners:
- Wait for the phone to ring.
- Call every person to talk about their project and pricing.
- Bring on a new client.
Today, in 2016, the landscape for remodelers is vastly different and much more promising, primarily because we’re no longer at the mercy of the Yellow Pages “luck of the draw” approach. Instead of hoping a potential client will call us about pricing (rather than our competitor on the same page of the phone book), we can start talking to them now while they’re researching.
I know what you’re thinking: Internet leads are worthless!
But in my experience, nothing could be further from the truth, and what I want to offer in this blog are some ideas for how your sales team can start getting more out of all your leads: the ones who fill out a contact form, the ones who call your office and the ones who fill out a premium content form, etc.
Rethink how your sales team responds to leads (both online and offline)
As a best practice, we advocate letting helpfulness lead every interaction a remodeler or salesperson might have. To start off, let’s look at common ways remodelers are contacted and how your team can approach potential clients in the most effective way possible.
When a remodeler receives a phone call, this is a chance to gently pre-qualify a person. In today’s marketing world, where casual consumers will avoid a phone call at all costs, a phone call can be considered a pretty good indicator that a person is serious about your business. On the call, see how much detail the person offers about their project—if they’re using specific language, it’s likely they have been researching for a while and are edging closer to starting a remodeling project. This person is a good candidate for setting an in-person meeting, as well as adding them to your remodeling blog.
However, if the person on the phone seems to be all over the map—one minute talking about kitchens, the next sharing about how bathroom space is an issue—this is an indicator that they likely aren’t ready to buy in the next six weeks. For this person, we recommend adding them to your blog and sending a follow-up email that includes a link to the area of the home they had expressed the most interest in. This way, you keep the lines of communication open, but you also let some of your automated marketing systems nurture this lead while they search for a solution.
Contact Us Form
The “Contact Us” form on your website should be treated the same as a phone call. This form requires intention and has a clear message: “I want to be contacted by someone at your company.” Because it is highly unlikely this person just wants to gab about the latest cabinet design, anyone who fills out a “Contact Us” form should receive a phone call within 2 hours. Honestly, someone should call this person within 5 minutes if possible.
Because the consultation form isn’t quite as “committal” in nature, when it’s filled out, this tells you that someone is interested enough to give you some of their time to discuss a project. The consultation form is a soft, less intrusive way to qualify a person’s interest in your remodeling services. If you use a marketing automation software, you can also see other pages on your website this person has visited and have project-specific resources ready on your call.
Premium Content Form
When we talk about premium content, we’re referring to an ebook that addresses a specific service you offer. This ebook should be helpful, in-depth and targeted to a service—a kitchen remodeling ebook should stand apart from a bathroom remodeling ebook so you know which area of the house they’re interested in remodeling (and the potential price point on the project).
When someone fills out a premium content form, they should automatically be added to an email list that’s specific to that piece of content. We call these automated lead nurturing emails because they’re just that: a way to automatically nurture and support a potential client without your sales team’s time being spent on a lead that isn’t quite ready to buy.
Question to Ask Your Sales Team
Because there are multiple ways for a potential client to contact a remodeling company or express interest in remodeling, it’s important to check in with your sales team to make sure that all leads aren’t being nurtured as if they’re ready to buy. Here are a handful of questions I’d recommend asking your team:
1. What questions are you asking to find out if a lead is three, six or nine months away from making a purchase?
This will help you gauge whether or not your sales team is growing your list of leads and not possibly tossing away a lead just because they’re not ready to buy. Your team should always keep in mind: a client today was a researcher six months ago.
2. What happens to a lead when they’re not ready to buy?
By asking this question, you can find out if and how marketing resources are being used for nurturing leads. There should be a standard follow-up protocol for all leads, whether that is adding them to your blog list, following them on Pinterest or by sending them a follow-up email in three months.
3. How are you using our company website?
There’s often a disconnect between sales and marketing. It’s the oldest story in the book for business. If you’re investing in a website and marketing strategy, it’s important that the sales team sees your website, blogs and ebooks as their greatest assets in a helpfulness-centric sales approach. Make sure the sales team knows if/when you’re adding new and helpful content to the site so they can customize follow-up emails.
4. Do you have the tools you need to employ a helpful (and thus, less aggressive) approach to sales?
Sometimes we forget that ebooks aren’t just used to get a website visitor to fill out a form—they’re also great resources that can be shared to bolster the confidence of a lead. Make sure your sales team has the ebooks or flyers they need to instill confidence in your company as the resource to turn to. (Because if you’re the resource to turn to in the research phase, you’re much more likely to be the resource they turn to in the buying phase.)
To evaluate how your company values a potential client, ask yourself these questions:
- Is our company equipped to support the long-term researching that most remodeling clients perform these days?
- Are we connected and actively engaging with people on social media platforms where potential remodeling clients are spending their time.
- What specifically do we offer on our website that makes all visitors feel welcome and want to stay in touch with our company.
Once you’ve had a chance to think through these three questions, talk with your sales team and please come back to this blog to tell us what you learned. We’d love to hear from you and perhaps even write a follow-up post where we share everyone’s discoveries and feedback.