I’ve already discussed the best way to reach the leads and if you missed that, click here. In a nutshell, homeowners are expecting to hear from you so call them within seconds of receiving the leads. If they don’t answer, wait 5 minutes and try again. If still no answer, try again about 10 minutes later. It’s key to call three times within the first 30 minutes of getting them. If you follow the call process outlined in my previous post, you’ll reach most of the leads and be well on your way to closing jobs.
MAKE THE BEST CALL
At this point, you’re probably an expert at reaching the leads, but how do things go once you’ve got the homeowner on the line? Getting the leads on the phone is only the first step to being successful and you’d be surprised how many job opportunities have been squandered because that first conversation went poorly. So let’s examine how to that first conversation should go.
Consider this scenario: You’re standing in the middle of the kitchen you’re remodeling. You’re drilling, one of your workers is running a table saw, and the other is hammering nails into drywall. It’s loud! Suddenly, you feel something vibrating in your hip pocket. You pause your drilling long enough to fish your phone out and see that you just got a lead. There’s a homeowner nearby who needs a deck built. You know how important it is to call right away, so you tap the number, and hope the homeowner answers. He does! What follows is a yelled conversation where nobody can hear each other. “HELLO? IS THIS BILL? NO, NOT PHIL, BILL!”
I’m guessing you’re seeing where I’m going with this. Would you hire a contractor for your project after a call like that? Of course not!
Making a great first impression will be the difference between whether or not you’re awarded the opportunity to set an appointment. A potential customer should never have to compete with background noise or the guy at the Burger King Drive-Thru who’s trying to take your order. Realize that many homeowners feel lost and unsure about where to even begin the process of finding a contractor they can trust and their first encounter with you is crucial.
Before hitting that call button, make sure you’re in an environment that’s conducive for a civilized conversation. Many contractors will go out to their trucks and call from there. It’s really quiet in a closed vehicle and there aren’t many other distractions. You’ll be able to focus on the call and the homeowner will appreciate not having to strain to hear you without having to fight for your attention.
Okay, so you’re in a nice quiet spot and you’re ready to talk. When the homeowner answers, introduce yourself and your company.
- Ask the homeowner how they heard about you.
- Ask how old the house is and how long they’ve owned it. If they rent or lease it’s okay if they’re authorized to get work done.
- Ask if they are the sole homeowner or if they have a spouse. Make sure the time you set will work for both spouses. (More on that later.)
- Ask what they’re looking for. For instance, if it’s a remodel, ask how long they have been thinking about it. If it’s a roof, ask what problems they’ve been having.
All these questions will help you determine how you’re going to approach the project. You may even decide the job isn’t a good fit for your company. If that’s the case, don’t just tell the homeowner you’re not interested and hang up. If the homeowner remembers how informative and polite you were during the call, you’ll be considered the next time he or one of his neighbors has a project.
WHY YOU? SELL YOURSELF!
If you’ve gotten to this point, sell yourself a little bit. Take the time to tell the homeowner something good about yourself and your company. Talk about how long you’ve been around and about some of the projects you’ve done. If you have a website, refer them to it and the photos there. Let them learn more about you while you have them on the phone. It will give the homeowner a reason to be excited to see you and will make them comfortable about you coming out to their home. You can also let the homeowner know of any special deals you’re offering.
Now it’s time to set the appointment. Our most successful contractors never ask for the appointment. If you ask a yes or no question, there’s a 50% chance you’ll hear no. Always give two options. Morning or afternoon? Afternoon or evening? When given two options, it’s human nature to choose one. If you build enough value in yourself and your company, they’ll want to keep the appointment.
I mentioned above that both spouses should be there. Admittedly, it may be difficult to find the best time for everyone and if the homeowners give you a hard time about them both being there, just explain, "We’re talking about one of your biggest investments here. The last thing that we want is to show you something that makes perfect sense, then have to came back and explain everything to your wife. I am sure you can appreciate that.”
Give the homeowner an idea of what to expect to happen during the appointment: “I’ll be on time. I’ll introduce myself to you and your spouse. It will take 30 minutes or so for me to do the inspection and take measurements. Afterwards, I’ll come inside and sit down with you both. I’ll discuss the inspection and show you samples of materials and pictures of similar jobs we’ve done like yours. I’ll go over a detailed bid sheet which will contain an itemized price list of the materials, the labor, and the total cost of the job. We’ll go over it line-by-line and I’ll show you what it will all cost. I’ll answer any questions you may have and make sure you’re clear on everything.”
Let the homeowner know that there’s no cost for the visit and, of course, there are no obligations, but to please keep in mind that you’re MAKING A SPECIAL TRIP to see them. It’s okay to tell them that all you’re asking for is that they’re both home at the time of the appointment and that they give you enough time to make your presentation.
If the appointment’s been set and the homeowner calls to cancel, say, “I’m sorry to hear you can’t make the appointment. I do have openings in my schedule for tomorrow...would the morning or evening work best for you?” The same goes if you arrive for the appointment at the scheduled time and the homeowner is nowhere in sight. Give them a call and politely reschedule. It’s frustrating when someone cancels on you, but always act professionally. Earning their business depends on it!
Up next: Close, close, close!
About the author: Paul Munn has been a valuable member of the Networx team for many years and is now a Senior Account Manager. His expertise and professionalism has made him a fan-favorite among our clients who are always better informed after talking to him.