This Podcast Is Episode Number 0325, And It Will Be About Construction Company Marketing - Leads, Customers, And Clients 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."? Not likely. 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 Have Done Type 3 Project - Future: Work I Want To Have Done 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 them. 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 fee. 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. Do-It-Yourself Leads: 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 needed. Professional Lead Generating Services: 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 Time." 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 fees. 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. Print Media: 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. There is a marketing tool many of our contractor clients have used very effectively, which we call "Contractors Six Pack Marketing Tool," and it is totally Do-It-Yourself.
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 your company.
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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