Some home improvement industry advisors will say every lead is a potential sale, but that’s simply not true for most replacement contractors.
While it’s not an exact science and will vary from one company to the next, I’d encourage you to assess your chances of selling to prospects by using a “rule of thirds."
One-third of your leads are likely to buy from you with little to medium sales effort. Repeats, referrals, and others who already know and trust you fall into this category. You won’t sell them all, but you’ll close the majority of them.
Another third of your leads are difficult to sell for a number of reasons—competition, budget, product preference, etc.—but there is a chance. Your sales team earns every penny of their commissions on leads like these.
And the final third of your leads are “dead” before your consultant ever engages with them. In other words, they’re never going to buy from you because they’re not a fit for what you offer. If you can find ways to qualify, or disengage from, this group of leads before wasting a salesperson's time, your company can spend its collective energy on converting more of the difficult-to-sell prospects.
Here are some tips on how to qualify leads before scheduling appointments with bad prospects:
1. Dig Deeper to Find the True Scope of the Project
It’s not enough to ask one or two questions about a prospect’s project before moving on to something else. You can’t assume that the average homeowner understands your home improvement lingo.
I’ve sent sales consultants out on appointments with people who told our appointment setters that they wanted to have eight windows replaced, but when the consultant showed up they learned it was only eight pieces of glass that the homeowner wanted to have replaced. And we didn’t offer glass replacement.
We could have done a better job of assessing the project with a couple of follow-up questions. Instead, we wasted a valuable sales appointment slot—worth thousands of dollars—on a project that wasn’t a fit for our company.
...you know the types of difficult customers who suck all of the life—and profit—out of your business.
2. Ask Prospects if They’ve Received Other Home Improvement Quotes
Sometimes your company is the first a prospect has called. But they may also be calling you because they’ve had a bad experience with another contractor. Asking a potential lead if they’ve already received other quotes often opens them up to tell you about what they liked or disliked about others.
A common complaint you’ll hear from a prospect is that they’ve received a number of quotes and the price is way too high for them. They may reveal the prices they’ve been given or at least identify which of your competitors they’ve seen.
If you offer premium products at a high price point in your market, and the customer is complaining about the prices of your low-cost competitors, politely let them know you won’t be a fit for them because your value and prices are even higher. They’ll appreciate you not wasting their time. And your sales team will appreciate you not sending them on a lead with little to no chance of closing it.
3. Disengage with Know-It-All Customers
You know your business better than anyone else does. And you know the types of difficult customers who suck all of the life—and profit—out of your business. Their negativity is contagious, so get rid of them before they infect your entire team.
While replacement contractors must adapt to new customer demands, you’re not required to engage with individuals who think they know more about your products, processes, and prices than you do. The customers who aren’t willing to give you even a little of their time to answer important questions about their project aren’t worth any of your sales team’s time.
Let these types of customers know that you won’t be a fit for them. Be direct and tell them that your company isn’t willing to cut corners on processes that have been proven to yield satisfied customers.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of reasons to disengage with prospects, but hopefully, it offers a starting point for you to begin to identify and dismiss the types of leads who aren’t worth your team’s time and energy.