Want to turn more leads into appointments? More appointments into sales? You may not be able to have it both ways.
Whether you know it or not, there’s a tug of war going on in your company right now. And the folks who set your appointments are right in the middle.
On one side is your marketing team. That includes your homeshow reps, SFI teams, canvassers and the like. They work feverishly to generate connections with homeowners interested in what you sell. You pay many for each appointment they produce, and as far as these folks are concerned, every lead they generate should turn into an appointment. And they naturally want to be paid for all of them.
On the other side are your sales reps. They hate it when the marketing team “wastes their time.” What they want is appointments they can close at an incredibly high rate, and for big dollars. That is, easy lay-ups with homeowners who answer the door with open checkbooks. Have you heard that before?
And right in the middle are the individuals you’ve tasked with setting appointments.
Think about it. The marketing team tells them “Pssst, all the leads we pass you are great. You’ll set appointments with all of them. And the sales reps will close all of those. It’s so easy even a school kid could do it.”
Of course, your sales reps have a different point of view. “The appointments you set for me stink,” they tell your appointment setters. “They’re either one-leggers or the homeowners are deep in debt. Or they’re on the shady side of town that I wouldn’t drive through with my doors locked. It’s only because of your lousy appointments that my close rates are down.
Who’s right? Neither. Fact is, your company can easily generate leads that set as appointments at 95 – 100%. However, your sales reps will close only a tiny fraction of those.
On the other hand, your company can set appointments that actually close at 95 – 100%. But so few of them make it through the filter that you won’t generate enough revenue to keep your lights on.
As I sat at Dave Yoho’s Home Improvement Summit a few weeks ago, I heard a number of questions about defining what a qualified appointment is, and is not.
To be honest, I don’t care how you define a qualified appointment. It’s your business and your company. You should define “qualified appointment” such that your company operates at the right combination of marketing costs, sales volume and ultimately profits. Success in home improvement is a matter of adjusting these dials to produce the results you want at the end of the day.
But key to this is defining clearly for everybody in your company exactly what a “qualified appointment” is. You need to be 100% sure that everyone in your company is working under (and is compensated by) the same definition of qualified appointment. The definition of a qualified appointment is what connects your company’s lead generation process with your sales reps. It is essential everybody is on the same page.
Unfortunately, what I see far too often in home improvement companies is that their definition for qualified appointments that varies…with each appointment. How does this happen? Easy. The sales team complains to your appointment setters about appointment quality, and suddenly your appointment setters subtly raise the bar. They begin screening out more and more leads…leads generated, of course, by your marketing team.
Guess what? Your marketing team then complains to your appointment setters. And suddenly the appointment-setting center is setting every homeowner with a pulse.
And so, your company’s definition of a “qualified appointment” swings back and forth, like the pendulum on a clock.
The most successful home improvement companies have an unwavering commitment to standardized lead qualification and appointment setting. They have brought to bear a process that transcends both their marketing team and their sales reps. The criteria they apply to all of their leads are well-documented and set in stone. Everyone in the company knows what the criteria are. And that there are no exceptions.
It won’t stop the arguments. No salesperson loves every lead. But setting and maintaining clear standards gives you a baseline by which to judge, and then manage, all facets of your company.
Don’t let a tug of war throw your company of track.