This post was written by Amylynn Liller, Director of Sales at mHelpDesk.
“Marketing and advertising are not cheap, so to throw solid leads away from serious buyers can really add up.”
This past summer my husband and I purchased a brand new home and we were looking to have a deck added to our home since our builder didn’t offer an option to include one with the purchase. We weren’t positive what design we wanted to go with, but we wanted to make sure whoever we hired was going to do a great job, so I went to HomeAdvisor.com, the local Clipper magazine and also used money mailers to find local reputable contractors that could help my husband and I turn the deck of our dreams into a reality.
Over the course of three weeks, six contractors returned my calls and offered to come out to our house to give us a bid. Each visit lasted for at least 45 minutes with some carrying on for almost an hour and a half.
One contractor went to his truck for about ten minutes and brought me a handwritten estimate on a pink sheet of paper with an estimate of $12,000. His company phone number and email were crossed out on the estimate and handwritten in with different information, and I couldn’t read the description of what he said he was going to do for $12,000. If you can believe it, this contractor actually forgot to use his emergency brake on our inclined driveway so his truck rolled down our driveway into our creek taking two trees with it and destroying the landscaping!
Two contractors said they needed to go back to the office to crunch the numbers before giving us a price. The last three contractors gave us verbal estimates ranging from $10,000 -$14,000 and I told all of them that we would need to see something in writing before making a decision.
Fast forward to now (six months later) not one of the five contractors who said they needed to go back to their office to prepare a written estimate ever contacted us again and we chose not to hire the contractor who gave us the hand written estimate after his truck ruined our landscaping.
This entire experience shocked me! I’ve been working in sales for the last 16 years and my experience with these contractors was not only frustrating, but worrisome. These companies took time out of their day to drive to our house, meet with us and learn what decks we liked and didn’t like and after all that time and effort, none followed up with us to see if they could close the deal!
Morever, all of these companies paid for my information in one way or another, either by traditionally marketing their services to attract potential leads or by paying for a membership site like HomeAdvisor and then paying again for my contact information. It’s baffling that after all of that time, money and effort, they would completely drop the ball when attempting to try to get my business. Marketing and advertising are not cheap, so to throw solid leads away from serious buyers can really add up, especially for smaller businesses with smaller budgets and less manpower.
Sadly, the only follow up I received was from HomeAdvisor wanting to know if I had hired one of their pros and when I said no they offered to match us with additional contractors.
It’s understandable that after a long day out in the field the last thing a service professional want to do is go home (or back to the office) and type up estimates and invoices, but being organized and looking professional will make a huge difference in your success and provide you with a better return on your investment. In a society that demands convenience in rapid speed fashion, being able to create estimates on the go can be a real game changer too.
In the time since the deck fiasco, my husband and I have had to hire landscapers, plumbers and electricians, and all the ones we’ve hired use mHelpDesk and this has made the experience so much better. These service pros email me invoices on the spot and can even take my credit card right from my house when the job is done so I don’t have to bother writing a check.
My biggest piece of advice for contractors, as a homeowner and a sales professional, is that a shift in mindset can lead to monumental changes for your business.
- There is no such thing as a bad lead, so follow up, follow through, and be persistent. Most sales are made on the 7th-10th contact so don’t give up if someone doesn’t answer your call or call you back right away.
- Use all of your tools and what you know about your customers. Email and text are the most efficient ways to communicate when you can’t manage an in-phone conversation and most consumers prefer to communicate this way. If you don’t close a customer on the first try, use their information to remarket to them in the future. They will more than likely need your services again at some point so when you keep yourself top of mind they’re more likely to think of you when the time comes.
- Most importantly if you say you will get someone something in writing, do it!
Last modified: February 10, 2017