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Q&A from our March 2013 Webinar

We appreciate the marvelous turn out for our most recent home improvement webinarHow do we know that it was a successful webinar? Here are some statistics:

  • Upwards of 800 companies registered
  • Within the first 30 minutes, only 9 companies signed off.
  • At the end of the first hour, only 22 total had signed off.

This doesn’t mean that everything we said appealed to everyone, people had various reasons for participating (i.e. they were told to, they were curious, or possibly they already see themselves as successful in this field of lead development). We have no argument with any of these and we appreciate the fact that they at least tuned in. Those that didn’t get it or didn’t get all of the information, we highly recommend that you listen to the recording of the webinar at least one more time.

Now let’s deal with some of the questions and/or statements, some of which were less than positive.

Q: We’ve quit going to shows – we couldn’t make it pay. What do you recommend that would change that?

A: Think about this: Did the show produce insufficient attendance? Evaluate all the conditions such as weather, time of day/week. If the show produced an audience with a demographic similar to your customer base, the show did its job. So next, let’s evaluate what you are/were doing. Think of the components necessary to have a successful show as enumerated in this webinar. Be open minded enough to try 1 or 2 more shows using the principles we suggested. We have clients who have tried mediums such as canvassing, direct mail with a premium offering, TV ads which specialize in financing and similar. For the most part, if this was a new type of lead, their personnel (including call center, lead distribution, and salespeople) lack the understanding of why certain kinds of leads are different and thus require different scripting. Shows/events present a unique opportunity for “face to face” lead development.

Q: Why do your account executives insist on scripts. We’ve tried, our people won’t use them.

A: The purpose of a script is to be using “interactive language” which is affirmative to the person [prospect] to whom you are speaking. Social language needs to be bypassed. An effective script is usually loaded with questions which are both affirming while seeking to learn more about the customer’s needs. It also shows that you care, and have a perceived interest in the prospect’s specific situation, while providing beneficial “response information.”

Remember, most people didn’t go to the show with the intent of stopping at your booth or the intent of giving you their name, address, phone number and telling you all the details about their home. If they come to your booth it is because something about it or the person to whom they first spoke conveyed trust. Care language is psychologically defined as the customer/prospect talking more than the lead getter or even the salesperson. The clues to determining their needs [vs. their wants] is in carefully prepared words and phrases that build rapport rapidly.

If you are highly successful without scripts and have no desire to increase the lead efficiency at intake, continue to do what you do. Our research is based on understanding the way the customer/prospect feels, and without appearing callous it is not important how you, your lead taker, your call center person or salesperson feels about the situation. Record them “role playing” specific messages that you are sending in an unscripted format. Are they loaded with inane expressions such as “How are you today?”, “Are you enjoying the show?”, “Are you having problems with your windows, siding, basement, water, etc.?”, “Have you heard about our company?”, “Would you like or can we give you an estimate on…?”

Examine some of the common social language of today: “You know, we are one of the oldest companies doing, you know, this kind of work and, you know.” Or how about this one: “We—like, come out and take a look at your home and, like, give you an idea on what it costs and there is no, like, obligation.” Or how about the use of the phrase “OK” as punctuation? If this suggestion seems foolish or oversimplified, check on how many of your people are using this type of common social language which is accepted as such.

A good script avoids that kind of language. Again, if you feel that you are already successful enough, continue to do whatever it is you’re doing. On the other hand, if you’d like to take a stab at improving the number of leads you get, the number of leads you can issue and the sit rate, try scripting as well as some of the other ideas we recommend.

Q: Do you recommend that we get as many names, addresses and other contact information or try and set appointments?

A: First, establish a goal. In today’s marketplace you want someone who will give you permission to come to their home, view their circumstances, make a presentation of your product and then give an accurate written proposal on what their investment would be. To do this you have to start with the basics: name, address, and other contact information. Now if you’re looking for the “low hanging fruit” you’ll incorrectly try to get them to tell you about the condition of their siding, their basement, their heating, their kitchen, etc. (too early in the sales process). A script takes us through the information which shows the prospect that we care about them. Here are a few examples of questions which a good script examines:

  1. “And how long have you lived in your home?”
  2. “What were your previous experiences with having a home improvement or repair done on your home?”
  3. “What, if any, interest do you have in the current tax credit for energy savings which are produced with certain products?”
  4. “Have you ever had anyone examine your (state product/service) to determine its efficiency, life expectancy, etc.?”

Now some of you may immediately resist these suggestions, saying they’re personal questions and most people won’t answer them. You’re right, but that’s only because you haven’t approached it with the proper rapport building remarks or statements. Here is an analogy, if I meet someone in a purely social situation and during the course of discussion I look at that person directly and say, “Incidentally, have you ever had problems with your lower back?” Then, while maintaining eye contact, I do not speak. I will usually get answers which relate to personal situations (including specific incidents), physicians they have consulted, the brace that they have worn occasionally, or they will discuss someone in their family who has had serious back problems. The reason for that response is that over 90% of the people in the world experience back discomfort at some time in their life. The person to whom you’ve asked the question is aware of its commonality and wants to tell someone about what they know, their specific problem. The manner in which the question was asked does not appear to have a risk or trespass involved with the person who has asked the question. This is also true of every homeowner, whether theirs is a new home or an older one. They probably have problems about which they will usually respond to someone who doesn’t represent a threat. Here again is where scripting becomes important.

The response to these questions and the additional questions which it will generate represent an opportunity to create “databank” information on the prospect and the conditions of their home for future contact in the event the original lead is not sold. It also provides an opportunity to create the proper protection for your company in complying with the “Do Not Call” list laws.

As an example, you are probably aware that when you take this lead you have about 90 days to follow-up with visits and phone calls. After that period, if they are on a “Do Not Call” list you cannot (by law) recontact these prospects by phone without being in violation of the law. Incidentally, after you’ve installed your work (completed your contract) you have only 18 months in which to call these customers regarding additional work. If within your script and printed on your lead form you have a phrase such as: “In the future if your product design or engineering changes or if there are certain times when special prices are offered, contact us based on the information on this form”. Then get the form signed. If you have such a form you may be able to call back at will (check this out with your legal adviser based on the state in which you do business). Also, keep the paper file in case you are challenged.  The lead or inquiry that you didn’t sell immediately may not have contracted for this work with others 3 months from now and they are worth additional contact. This method is often called “rehash”.

We will expound upon these topics at our upcoming programs in Orlando and Washington D.C. Visit www.hipsummit.com to learn more.

Stay tuned for more answers to the excellent questions we received.

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