Not All Leads are Created Equal

Why you need to treat different leads differently 

Do you have a steady flow of inbound sales leads?

Good for you.

Do you track these regularly and thoroughly?

Even better.

But (there’s always a “but”), do you clearly separate, categorize and track the quantity and results realized between the different types of inbound leads you receive?

If you answered “no,” don’t feel bad. Few home improvement companies do. To most, a lead is a lead is a lead: Follow-up, schedule the appointment, close the sale. Rinse and repeat.

Unfortunately, we think this overly simplistic approach is a mistake, leaving both money and opportunity on the table.

Different Sources Result in Different Types of Leads

In short, there are three types of online, inbound lead sources:

Type #1: Exclusive and Branded.

Leads of this type are far and away the best (that’s why I assigned them #1). With branded leads, homeowners are introduced to the company and what it has for sale as part of the lead generation process.

Homeowners who are a Type #1 lead are ready to talk about buying. They are ready to talk with you in particular, because their inquiry has gone to you and you alone (that’s the exclusive part). They are as prequalified as you’ll ever get (and so are you in their minds, by the way, since they’ve likely checked you out before sharing their particulars).

Treat these leads like gold. Call each back within a minute, set the appointment and close the sale.

Type #2: Non-exclusive and Unbranded.

These leads may also originate online, but the process does not introduce homeowners to the specific company that will contact them after they submit information. They are captured by a “lead gathering service” and sold – simultaneously – to any number of competing vendors.

These leads are problematic to home improvement companies for at least two reasons.

First, you’re competing against many other vendors selling the exact same service at the exact same time. It’s like standing in a circle among your fiercest competitors while someone drops a single $100 bill in the middle and yells “Go!”

Second, and because homeowners who submit these sources have no idea who they are talking to, the rep who follows up starts out cold. He or she has to spend the first 45 seconds just explaining who they are, a time-consuming activity that can result in a wasted opportunity.

Call these leads back immediately, and make sure your sales rep has a strong pitch so the homeowner understands your value proposition quickly.

Type #3: Inspirational.

Homeowners gather ideas from any number of home improvement websites and apps; sources like Pinterest, Instagram, Houzz and others. And yes, these can generate click-throughs and even leads.

These leads, though, are the hardest to close. Homeowners from these sources are generally at a much earlier stage in the buying cycle. So the time frames are stretched out and considerably more pre-qualification is needed.

With inspirational leads, be prepared to act like a consultant. Engage homeowners as they begin their dream.

What’s All This Mean for My Business?

The good news is, leads can come from any number of sources. Just make sure you remember that:

  • Different lead types should be tracked and acted upon differently. Mixing them all together will frustrate your sales team and lose you sales.
  • The amount of qualification required increases as you move from Type #1 to #2 to #3, costing you more money and requiring more time. You can close sales with any type, but the path, process and effort required are decidedly different.