It takes work to make the phone ring. It takes even more work
to increase the sales ticket. Customers are looking for a
contractor to do a little work. If you offer three options, do you
find customers usually choose the middle option?
When trying someone new, they may go with a "Low Risk" by
prepaying for services on a "Deal" on a contractor lead generation
service. The deal allows them to set a "budget." It allows them to
try you out before mentioning any additional details. Have you ever
heard anything like this from a prospect: "Hello Contractor, I had
nothing better to do this week, so I filled out your form and
called you on the phone to ask you come to my house and while I act
your tour guide because I am thinking of having some work done."?
Most homeowners have a real need before asking for a stranger
to come to their home. They are looking for any "Affinity" that
makes you a safe choice. This is why people are on the Social Media
sites looking for "A Friend" or "A Friend of a Friend" anything to
get a primary connection; an opinion from someone else before
inviting you into their home.
What They Are Thinking - "Contractor, You Are Here
Because I Need The Following":
Type 1 Project - Immediate: Work That
Must Be Done
Type 2 Project - Soon: Work I Should
Type 3 Project - Future: Work I Want To
You are there looking for an opportunity to meet the right
stable customer who is looking to become a good solid client. You
know you have a client instead of a customer when they ask you
about a Type 2 or Type 3 items on their list. Don't be afraid to
bring out the estimate, change order form, or invoice. In most
cases, they want you to write up the order, and if you do not get
the paperwork started early, they often think you are rejecting
One of your greatest fears is wasting money on a less
than good lead:
I have heard contractors think that on more substantial
projects homeowners are "Just Getting Free Ideas" for someday when
looking for a massive remodel, new deck or patio when the SCOPE of
the project keeps expanding and the budget is shrinking. As a
general rule, those are the exception. Consider charging a design
They may or may not have any real desire for services.
Sometimes a person is committed to collecting three bids when they
already have someone picked out to do the work. They may be looking
for a "temporary friend" to do them a favor or in some cases by the
time you have completed the form they have changed their mind and
no longer want service. This is often the case when one spouse or
partner wants the work done, and the other one doesn't.
Anytime someone who fills out any website form you simply look
at the information with a positive attitude. You are trying to
understand does this person have a real need? Do they have a
"Compelling Reason" a must-have or is it merely a whim, spur of the
moment window shopping?
Your best course of action could be to begin thinking and
planning about how you can adjust the schedule to fit their project
in place — mentally gearing up on how you can provide the best
possible service to that client. That means "A Client" not just "A
Customer"; someone who is in the top 20% of the 80/20 Rule
Marketing Service Leads:
Many Marketing Services assist in fine-tuning, changing, or
updating your existing website to increase your search engine
optimization (SEO) for more leads on your website. These marketing
companies may have a web-based or desktop module for estimating,
scheduling, or project management software that links to your
existing website. Some software will connect to QuickBooks for
Contractors; however, in most cases, they do more harm than good.
Others will suggest their software provides invoicing, job costing,
scheduling, and financials and QuickBooks is not
Professional Lead Generating
Professional lead services with filters and multiple forms try
to weed out bogus leads for you. In other words, a professional
lead service that pre-screens prospects and charges a "lead
generating" fee may work best for you.
Discount Coupon Services:
Several companies offer this service. With the help of a sales
representative you can determine the best "Deal" to extend your
prospective customers to purchase online. Usually, these types of
contractor lead-generation services deduct their fees and send the
contractor the balance that is left over.
The benefit to contractors is a "Guaranteed Sale" usually at a
"Fixed Price" for a predetermined "Scope of Work." Depending on the
agreement between the contractor and the lead generation service,
there could be opportunities for additional work. Be sure to keep
some change order forms handy in case you need them. We have some
FREE Change Order Templates you can download by clicking here
. Also, if you need it, we
have FREE Invoice templates you can download by clicking here
Please note in most cases it is up to the contractor to
invoice and collect for any services that exceed the amount covered
in the "Discount Coupon" for services. It is okay if you want to do
as much as possible in the shortest space of time to save the
customer from exceeding the cost of the initial Coupon Deal.
However, it is a shame not to fix everything while you are onsite
because "Work Time" generally pays better than "Windshield
There are several opportunities to add value with the
intangibles: your warm and friendly personality, by asking the
right questions you can demonstrate knowledge and skill which can
often lead to increased sales.
Sales Tax Still Applies:
In most states and especially in Washington State, sales tax
is due on the original purchase price of the "Deal" or "Coupon" or
whatever term is used before deducting any lead generation
The sales tax issue usually is not clearly understood or
documented in the coupon details. Sometimes contractors and
customers assume since the purchase was made online that sales tax
does not apply. In a sales tax audit, the contractor is most likely
to suffer massive fines and penalties which could destroy your
construction company and everything you own. Again consult with
your construction accountant.
Flyers and direct mail still works even in the age of
"Everything Internet" we all receive a certain number of brochures
and direct mail pieces coming to our home and business. One of the
advantages is that these pieces are easy to find (we all have a
particular spot for them) before they get moved and saved, filed,
passed on to someone else, or eventually tossed away.
What Is The Focus Of Your Construction
Residential or Commercial?
Do you like dealing with the Homeowners, Landlords, or
Property Management Companies? Alternatively, are you a General
Contractor or Specialty Trade Contractor? Do you enjoy new
construction, commercial tenant improvements (T.I.'s), apartments,
condominiums, Co-ops, remodels or service and repair?
Marketing is all about doing something.
Are you reading the fine print? Are you locked into a long
term contract? Are you in control? Can you make changes in
location? Can you make changes to the business type? Can you Turn
On or Turn Off your lead services? Finally, take a few minutes to
think and talk to other contractors.
We provide "Above The Line
" consulting, coaching,
operational assistance in processes that are designed to help you
We help a little or a lot depending on your needs. I look
forward to being able to assist you with any option that best fits
Please feel free to download all the Free
Forms and Resources that you find useful for your business.
About The Author:
Sharie DeHart, QPA is the co-founder of Business
Consulting And Accounting in Lynnwood, Washington. She is the
leading expert in managing outsourced construction bookkeeping and
accounting services companies and cash management accounting for
small construction companies across the USA. She encourages
Contractors and Construction Company Owners to stay current on
their tax obligations and offers insights on how to manage the
remaining cash flow to operate and grow their construction company
sales and profits so they can put more money in the bank. Call
206-361-3950 or email@example.com
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