How To Pre-Qualify Your Remodeling Leads
Question: Clicks or Customers?
What I’m asking is, do you want clicks or do you want customers?
If all you want is clicks, Google and Facebook are plenty happy to send thousands of clicks your way – you just have to whip out your wallet.
If customers are more your style, then lend me your ear for a second.
Here’s what a typical journey your remodeling prospect should be taking:
Let’s break that down in real world terms
- Person does a Google search for remodeling contractors
- They come across your website
- They contact you for more information
- They contract you for their project
In a perfect world, those four steps would happen quickly and successively. But they don’t.
There’s a couple of steps in between 3 and 4, they are:
(3. They contact you for more information)
3a. You get in touch with your new lead
3b. You ask a few questions to see if you are a good match for them
3c. You go out for an estimate
3d. They kick the tires around for a bit
3e. They get other quotes
This isn’t all doom and gloom. It’s just a part of the buying process today. Even with a referral, people are still going to shop you.
What you need is a pre-qualification process. You need a way to make sure that every new lead coming to you is already pre-qualified.
Otherwise, you’re paying a lot for tire kickers. (Sorry Angie)
And, you’ll be spending (wasting) a lot of time going out giving estimates for leads that aren’t qualified for your skill level.
Here’s how to get your leads pre-qualified:
Start the pre-qualification process in the contact form on your website
While you don’t want to ask 15 questions to a website visitor, you do want to make sure you ask short, pointed questions.
To save room on your lead form, combine first / last name with just one field of Name. Also, don’t ask for their address yet.
Use a multi-step contact form. This way you can get micro-conversions. Micro-conversions are short steps a customer takes to get in touch with you. Not only does this boost your website conversion rate, but it actually helps pre-qualify your customer.
Your multi-step contact form can be just two or three steps. On the first step, ask a very easy, simple question. It doesn’t have to even be qualifying related.
For instance, ask:
“What’s your zip code?”
Now, does it really matter what zip code they are in? Within reason of course and your coverage area. But likely, you’re going to work in their zip code. So why ask this?
Micro-conversion. When they type in their zip code and hit “Next” - you just pulled a micro-conversion. For the win!
Now there is a higher likelihood of them completing the rest of the form and becoming more qualified.
The second question can be a little more pointed. Try this:
“What TV personality inspires you the most”.
Use a dropdown box and fill it in with some home remodeling TV personalities. (Chip Gaines is my spirit animal btw)
Lastly, in the third step, ask for the juicy stuff - you know, their personal information.
Remember, name, email, phone numbers - that’s all currency in the world of lead generation. In order for someone to give up their email and phone number and be willing to be harassed (sorry) by a salesperson – you need to make them feel super comfortable.
The micro-conversions do this for you.
Make sure to leave room for an open ended question like:
“Tell me about your dream home”
“Do you have a budget?”
These two questions are where you have an opportunity to pre-qualify them. Make this field mandatory. The budget question is often debated as to whether you should ask or not.
I’m not suggesting though, that you ask for their budget.
I’m simply suggesting that you ask them if they have a budget. Make this a yes or no toggle.
If they respond to those two questions in this manner:
Tell me…: I need my kitchen redone
It’s highly likely they haven’t done their research on how much an actual dream home will cost them. They are very much still in the “awareness” stage, though in their mind they want to be in the intent stage. You don’t have time for that.
Quick note on this, you’re going to get these requests no matter what. Treat everyone the way you’d like to be treated… even if they are unqualified to hire you, you want to make sure they have a positive experience during your phone qualification or in-person qualification. You’ll get better qualified referrals that way.
On the other hand, if the response is something like:
Tell me…: I’m looking to hire a contractor to redo my kitchen. Looking for someone to both design and build the whole thing.
This lead is definitely more qualified. I’ve seen this type of response come in many times to my remodeling contractors. Then I’ve seen them get in touch with the customer, send out a designer to get a measurement of the room and provide a quote - and then get the sale.
Qualify your new lead on the phone
Heads up – you should be calling your new leads within 5-10 minutes of the new lead notification. It’s highly likely that they are copy-pasting the exact message they sent you, to at least two of your competitors. It might just come down to whoever called them back first.
Call right away. They won’t care. They asked to be called.
Again, you want to be tactful. You’ll get more bees with honey than with vinegar.
Here are three questions to ask a pre-qualified lead on the phone.
Try to leave these all as open ended as possible.
#1: Tell me about your project.
They should be giving you a quick overview of the project. This will give you a little better idea of their personality and inspiration. Make sure you discuss priorities, their must haves and their timeline.
They say God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we can do twice as much listening and half as much talking. So, listen to their responses. Are they indecisive? Are they unwilling to listen to you when you’re talking? Are they demanding you give them quotes right over the phone? (It’s ok to give a range here, especially if they already indicated in the contact form an actual budget)
These types of responses though, can indicate a lead is unqualified.
#2: What’s your ideal completion date?
No, Mr. Homeowner, your project isn’t going to be done in two weeks. And no, it’s not going to be aired on HGTV.
TV Remodeling shows have done wonders for the remodeling business. It helps homeowners get inspired and get motivated. They want what other people have!
It does create some unrealistic expectations though. Not all homeowners understand the complexities of managing a full scale remodeling project. If you know your top-notch quality work for a 250 sq. ft. kitchen will take 3 months and they’re insistent it should only take you one month – run. Taking their deposit will mean taking their repeated phone calls as to why the project isn’t finished on time.
#3: Have you researched your project?
Homeowners that do their own research before calling a remodeling pro are much more likely to provide clear direction during the project. If the homeowner hasn’t done their homework, you will very likely end up with indecisive people and the plans will change – frequently.
When to move on
I know it’s tempting to just take any job that might come your way. In some instances, however, it might be better to just pass the job.
Pro Tip: Recommend another company that is smaller than you to them. They’ll appreciate the good recommendation and would be happy to refer your service to someone else, even though they aren’t qualified for you.
When you focus your sales and marketing to qualify your leads that fit your expertise and availability, you’ll have better clients and better projects. Take control of your lead generation today.