I’ve written a lot about how home improvement dealers can produce more value from their Internet leads. Now I’m turning the tables, to suggest how the online lead companies can serve them better.
- Limit the number of times they sell each lead. Home improvement companies really don’t want their leads shared with anyone, let alone their competitors. Yet most lead generation companies sell their leads as many times as they can (2X? 3X? 5X? I’ve even heard as many as 12X).But every time they sell a lead more than once, that lead loses value. A lead sold 6X has a significantly smaller chance of closing than a lead sold only twice. To make their customers happiest, they should deliver leads that have the best possible chance of closing. And that means limiting the number of times they sell their leads.
- Transfer hot sales leads to home improvement dealers as fast as they possibly can. This sounds obvious, but many online lead companies still batch their e-mails for delivery to their dealers only once each day.Appointment set rates improve dramatically the sooner dealers call homeowners back. So I suggest they not add to that delay by batching their leads. Send ‘em early and send ‘em often, I say.
- Keep their ears open to customers’ needs. Far too often, their approach seems to be “I sent you a name, so now it’s all up to you.”Unfortunately, that doesn’t take into consideration all of the odd, weird and wacky things that happen when generating leads online. We once had a lead form filled out by a 9-year-old boy who thought his parents would like a sunroom for Christmas. Funny as it was, it was not a qualified sales lead.The job of lead generation is to connect dealers to homeowners who have a sincere interest in purchasing the products they sell. I suggest that all lead generation companies work individually with each dealer they serve to ensure their programs, over time, are doing just that.
- Phone calls are essential. Home improvement dealers must be able to eventually get all of their leads on the phone to set an in-home appointment. So what could be better than a hot transfer of a call from a qualified homeowner just as they’re first expressing interest?That said, processing and tracking phone calls is tough for many lead generation companies. That’s why they generally offer homeowners just one means to express interest: submission of Web forms.I suggest that lead generation companies should make it easy for homeowners, and make life better for their dealers. If homeowners want to call, lead generation companies should answer the phone.
- Brand their leads. Many lead generation companies forward “unbranded leads”, that is, contacts with homeowners who they’ve not yet introduced to a particular brand.Unfortunately, that puts a tremendous burden on home improvement dealers. In their phone call to the homeowner, those dealers must 1) not only contact the homeowner, but also 2) introduce themselves and the brands that they sell. That’s a lot to cover.I suggest that lead generation companies should brand their sales leads, as part of their lead generation process? They’ll raise the quality of their product, and make both dealers and their prospective customers happier.
I could go on (perhaps I will, in a future blog), but this will have to do for now. I will be in Indianapolis for the big Hanley Wood Remodeling Show this week, and will be posting from there.
Hope to see you in Indy!