Yoho: Will Your Company Thrive or Just Survive the Changing Economy?

by Kyle Clapham

There are three key issues facing your company today:

  • Fewer leads are being received from almost all sources.
  • Fewer leads are set as confirmed appointments with an increased number of one-party leads.
  • Issued lead costs continue to increase.

Fewer Leads from All Sources

This does not imply a criticism of your sources for leads. It is, however, a clarion call for owners and managers to examine the manner in which the leads they receive are handled.

Modern, up-to-date home improvement marketing is defined as how to sell the right product (service) in the right markets at the right time in the right quantities to customers at the right price.

How’s that for simplicity? Now, let’s muddy the waters. I’ll inject a lesser-known phenomenon called “make marketing” versus “take marketing.”

Moreover, this is key if you are selling specialty products versus commodities, and particularly if you are selling a product/service directly to the user that requires installation and/or machinations to enable it to fit into an already existing dwelling.

To understand this phenomenon is to grasp the key issue for developing more leads effectively—for more prospects—to whom to sell your products/services.

Simply stated, “take marketing” enables the seller of goods and services to analyze the market then design a program that will enable the marketer to sell a percentage of that market. Once accomplished, this is called market share.

There is in the case of most manufactured goods rather accurate statistical analysis that defines how many automobiles (even by make, model, size and color) will be sold in the U.S. This is equally true of beer, clothing and carpeting; in fact, it’s true for most of the manufactured goods offered for sale.

Now, a caution: You, your company and your lead intake system (a single person or a call center) might be operating on a system that could be called pre-COVID, or methods used in years 2020 through early 2023 that for many companies were highly productive.

The reality is the marketplace has changed. Add to this the general theme of negativity that pervades the news media and, in turn, contaminates the thinking of consumers.

This calls for an overview of your marketing plans and the attitudes of those in your company. What is required is not “more leads” but better use of the leads you receive. It also requires more thought for how any inquiry is handled, including the action and attitudes of those who present your product/service in the home.

As an example, trade publications frequently relate the home improvement industry to statistics regarding new home construction. There is often a rather accurate projection as to how many houses will be built, torn down or remodeled over the course of a year.

An accurate projection can also be made as to how many feet of piping, flooring, roofing, insulation, windows, etc., will be used. Those who offer goods in those markets will decide how to “take” the piece of that market that their product can accommodate by price, quality, distribution and similar factors.

Next, examine what happens when there is a decline in new construction, and fewer people plan to undertake remodeling. The marketer, unable to maintain their original market position, downsizes, adjusts prices or undergoes similar machinations to try and maintain market penetration and revenue retention.

Now, examine “make marketing,” particularly in how it relates to building products and, more specifically, home improvement sales. The make marketer finds ways to stimulate prospects by offering them an opportunity to look, preview, see a demonstration, get delayed financing and other similar tactics. Here, a methodology is employed to take prospects (those who can use the product/service) from “no” to “maybe” to “yes.”

The exhortation to participate in any of the latter utilizes almost every conceivable manner of communication, some a lot more effective than others, and some complicated to understand. All require the development of structured programming and presentation skills unlike that of “take marketing.”

As an example, conventional sources for marketing expenditures that include print media, direct mail, shows and events, kiosks, television/radio, canvassing/proximity marketing, and all forms of internet marketing have the potential to utilize “make marketing” efforts.

Each of these methods requires an in-depth understanding and a reaction to buyers’ habits and attitudes, and a probe of their value systems. Each also involves a special level of marketing know-how, together with tenacity and a budget that is accommodating. These are, nonetheless, the means by which a marketer develops methods/techniques to interact with prospects who are not yet in a “ready to buy” mode.

The technique works hand-in-hand with training salespeople in how to present (demonstrate) a product or service that meets the specific needs of individual prospects and, moreover, how to convince them that now might be the best time to buy. Remember, moving prospects from “no” to “maybe” to “yes” via a “make market” program requires a “make marketing” attitude.

Fewer Leads Are Being Set as Confirmed Appointments

This is a fact, and an increasing number of “one-party” leads (percentage of those received) are converted into set appointments. In this context, the goal is to convert as many leads as possible into appointments. When a scripted appointment setter sells the concept of the value of the visit to a caller, it is a form of “make marketing.”

In most cases, this requires some updated training. Remember, you are marketing (in almost all cases) an unfinished product. They, in turn, may convey themes such as, “We are just looking,” or “We are getting estimates.” These and similar statements may or may not be true. Thus, there is a need for scripting or updating the script to ensure that the prospects are convinced of “the value of the visit.”

A modern script conveys interest in their (the prospect’s) property, what prompted them to contact you, issues regarding their project, and the benefits of all interested parties being present. Modern scripting that deals with these issues is most frequently effective.

Caution: The issue of one-party leads requires an ever-increasing script analysis that avoids conveying requirements as opposed to language that implies the best outcomes for the homeowner. This also requires a change in attitude in the sales department.

Remember this “catchphrase,” which can be embedded in all lead setting:

“Our representative will look at what you want to have done and what you need to have done and, if we can meet these requirements, we will give you an accurate proposal on what your investment would be.”

The salesperson reaffirms this in the first meeting with the prospects.

Issued-Lead Costs Continue to Increase

They are analyzed by first calculating all marketing costs, including all forms of advertising, shows and events, samples, costs of space for showrooms and call centers, plus personnel who function in support of all marketing versus the total number of leads that are issued to those who sell and present to customers. (Total marketing costs divided by the number of leads issued.)

The latest surveys indicate the cost of issued leads ranges from $250 (lowest) to $850 (or more). Some companies report their top salespeople closing over 38 percent versus leads issued; however, a high percentage of that same sales organization is closing lower than 25 percent. The issuance of a lead is “an investment” being entrusted to the salesperson.

The return on this investment is based on the efficient use of the leads given, and much depends on the attitude and training given to and utilized by the individual salesperson. Modern marketing success requires “ride-alongs,” updated training, proximity marketing, and customer satisfaction “rehash” of unsold leads to create revisits. QR

Dave Yoho is the president of the oldest (since 1962), largest and most successful small business consulting company specializing in the home improvement industry. His company employs a staff of consulting experts who specialize in advising companies on how to become more profitable in their business. They also sponsor a series of ongoing educational programs in the form of webinars and seminars (hipsummit.com). His recorded materials are sold throughout the U.S. and several foreign countries. For more information, visit daveyoho.com.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More