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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
If you do qualify your prospects how do you think that should affect your advertisements?

What expectations are you setting for prospects that respond to an advertisement or website?

Do your advertisements imply that you will provide a quote to anyone that is alive and breathing? Do you want to give people the impression that you will provide a proposal just because they called you?

Do you think it would be better to just generate a phone call for the purpose of having a conversation over the phone instead of generating calls from people that expect you to provide free estimates to everyone that calls?

Maybe it would actually make the prospect feel more at ease if they knew they could call you without the expectation that an appointment would be set.

Maybe they would be more willing to share information with you if they knew they could do so without being obligated to go through an entire sales process at this time. If so then maybe we should change the wording in our call to action.

P.S. Please do not turn this into an argument about whether or not you should qualify prospects. My intention is to develop a conversation with those of us who choose to qualify prospects.

If you choose not to qualify and you’re happy with the result that’s fine, keep doing it. I’m not trying to change your mind.
 

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Ya, let me see if I am understanding you. short and sweet.
Creating a relationship with the public, making them feel comfortable to bounce stuff off of you even if they don't use you service or they are a competitor.
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I can see this creating yourself as a legend one day. I have meet very few legends in my trade/business. They are well respected by many and you hear no bad words about them.
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So my question would be how do you convey that to the public
 

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If you do qualify your prospects how do you think that should affect your advertisements?

What expectations are you setting for prospects that respond to an advertisement or website?

Do your advertisements imply that you will provide a quote to anyone that is alive and breathing? Do you want to give people the impression that you will provide a proposal just because they called you?

Do you think it would be better to just generate a phone call for the purpose of having a conversation over the phone instead of generating calls from people that expect you to provide free estimates to everyone that calls?
Well Mel, I qualify prospects. They contacted us so I want to know how they heard of us & "how can we be of service to you"

Like our competitors, our ads state "free estimates"*. That doesn't mean we will provide everone that calls an estimate. If it's something we don't want to do, a service that we don't provide, etc., we tell them it's a no quote, sorry try joeblow masonry, etc.,
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Well Mel, I qualify prospects. They contacted us so I want to know how they heard of us & "how can we be of service to you"

Like our competitors, our ads state "free estimates"*. That doesn't mean we will provide everone that calls an estimate. If it's something we don't want to do, a service that we don't provide, etc., we tell them it's a no quote, sorry try joeblow masonry, etc.,


What makes a qualified prospect?

  • They have a problem that they are committed to solving.
  • They have a plan on how they will pay for it.
  • They know when they will make a decision.
If they are not committed to doing something about it, and they don’t know if they can pay for it and they don’t know when they will actually buy it how can you afford to invest your time with them?

Frequently I get calls from prospects that want an estimate for a new roof and then they put it off for months or even years before they actually do anything about it.

However a lot of these people will lead me to believe they are ready to buy a roof now. Then after I have provided them with an inspection, recommendations and a proposal they end up putting it off for an indefinite period of time.

I have software for tracking my leads and I know that people that delay for a long time are not likely to buy from me. The longer they wait after I make a proposal the less likely I am to get the business.

If during the initial phone call I detect that they are not ready to buy I would prefer to wait until I give them a quote. The problem here is finding a tactful way to let the prospect know that it is too soon to go through the sales process.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ya, let me see if I am understanding you. short and sweet.
Creating a relationship with the public, making them feel comfortable to bounce stuff off of you even if they don't use you service or they are a competitor.
.
I can see this creating yourself as a legend one day. I have meet very few legends in my trade/business. They are well respected by many and you hear no bad words about them.
.
So my question would be how do you convey that to the public
Here’s the question. If your marketing is attracting “tire kickers” is there anything you can do about that?

How can you delay giving them a proposal without the prospect getting upset about it?

I know for a fact that my close ratio will be 10% or lower if they are going to put off a decision for 6-12 months. If they are ready to make a decision while I am there my close ratio will be around 70%.
 

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"Do you think it would be better to just generate a phone call for the purpose of having a conversation over the phone instead of generating calls from people that expect you to provide free estimates to everyone that calls?

Maybe it would actually make the prospect feel more at ease if they knew they could call you without the expectation that an appointment would be set.

Maybe they would be more willing to share information with you if they knew they could do so without being obligated to go through an entire sales process at this time. If so then maybe we should change the wording in our call to action." ;)

This describes me. And I can see where I can make a change in my 'Call Now' dialogue.

I'm not interested in writing a proposal to all callers. Past 2 weeks, I passed 5 jobs on the phone call. Wrote several proposals. Got 2 jobs without leaving the puter by bidding on the pics sent by the clients. Got 3 jobs after going to the clients home.
Then, because of volume, I lost about 4 others I never was able to work into the schedule.

About an average week.
 

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What makes a qualified prospect?

  • They have a problem that they are committed to solving.
  • They have a plan on how they will pay for it.
  • They know when they will make a decision.
If they are not committed to doing something about it, and they don’t know if they can pay for it and they don’t know when they will actually buy it how can you afford to invest your time with them?

Frequently I get calls from prospects that want an estimate for a new roof and then they put it off for months or even years before they actually do anything about it.

However a lot of these people will lead me to believe they are ready to buy a roof now. Then after I have provided them with an inspection, recommendations and a proposal they end up putting it off for an indefinite period of time.

I have software for tracking my leads and I know that people that delay for a long time are not likely to buy from me. The longer they wait after I make a proposal the less likely I am to get the business.

If during the initial phone call I detect that they are not ready to buy I would prefer to wait until I give them a quote. The problem here is finding a tactful way to let the prospect know that it is too soon to go through the sales process.
This is fine if you have a standard set of questiond to ask.That way you'll get consistant results

Is this a rental?
How did you hear about us?
Havde you had other estimates? If yes, what stopped you from moving forward?
Are you planning to make a decision in the next 30 days?

and last but far from least..
What time will both you and your gay lover :laughing: be available to meet with us

Here’s the question. If your marketing is attracting “tire kickers” is there anything you can do about that?

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The point of marketing is to make the phone ring, period. You qualify from there. This is a numbers game, the more calls the better.
 

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I'm not interested in writing a proposal to all callers.
Neither am I. That's why screening is so important. How you screen depends on your trade and the services that you provide. The time of the year & weather are factors in screening as well.

For example:

Caller#1:

"How much do you charge per square foot for tuck pointing?"


This falls under the tire kicker, price shopper, competition checking on us, etc., category.


More often than not, they're time wasters. This category doesn't get a proposal from us.


Caller #2:

"My wife & I would like to have a brick patio built in our backyard. We saw a photo of a nice one on your website and would like to get an estimate on something like that".


This falls under the weather & time of year category.

December is only a few days away. The weather has been cold, rainy & now have snow on the way. This project will be a Spring project at the earliest. Will work on getting the project booked asap working around current schedule and inquiries like we get from caller #3


Caller #3:

"Some of the bricks are crumbling on my chimney. I also noticed some water coming through the ceiling in an upstairs bedroom. I'd like to get it fixed before winter so it doesn't get worse and cause more damage. Can you give me an estimate on the repairs?"


This falls under the strike while the iron is hot category. We still may get beat out by lowballers, etc., but we have an excellent chance to get it.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Change to postcard

On the last batch of postcards that I sent out I changed the offer.

The old version read “Call now for your free consultation including a free inspection of your roof system”.

The new version reads “Call your neighborhood roofing expert MEL to talk about your roofing needs”.

I think if you are offering free services everyone that calls will expect you to honor that offer regardless if they are in a position to buy or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Please explain and quantify by telling how many times you are more successful than not, what works, and what does not.

Let us see the real numbers rather than random opinions.
I qualify them by having a conversation over the phone that could last 5-20 minutes depending on well it goes and how much they want to talk.

I’m not going to provide a script here for competitive reasons.

Before I set an appointment I try to get them to agree to make a “Yes or No” decision. At that point if they are not ready to buy they usually will not set an appointment.

Here is my definition of an appointment.

An appointment is a specific time and place to meet with everyone necessary to obtain a decision on a problem I can solve.
 

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Talk budget early

Interesting conversation. We are maybe in a little different position since we have a store front and what we do can range from maybe $400 to $50K+.

If the first words out of someone's mouth is "How cheap...?" or "What's the cheapest...?" I know they aren't our client. We are polite, but aren't going to expend much time (unless they have come in the store and I don't have anyghing better to do at the time, and not often then).

I agree with the posting that says you have to ask some qualifying questions early. One I try to remeber, though sometimes I don't, is "What kind of budget do you have for this project?"

99% will say "I don't know" or don't wnat to tell you because they think it's going to jack up the price. We tell people we will try to work to your budget, but it doesn't do them or me any good to work up a Rolls Royce job if it doesn't fit the budget. They will also be disappointed if I show them something that is 1/3 their budget because they will be disapponted in the quality being well under what they desire in the job.

If it is a phone call we try to get them to come to the store. 9 out of 10 who won't aren't real prospects, though some are because of scheduling difficulty. If someone doesn't want to look at samples and narrow it down to what they want done they aren't real prospects. We do free estimates, but I want them to commit so I know WHAT I'm estimating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
The point of marketing is to make the phone ring, period. You qualify from there. This is a numbers game, the more calls the better.
What I hear you saying is that the offer you are making of “free estimates” in your marketing has no relationship to how you handle the incoming lead.

What you are saying is that you would not change your offer of “free estimates” even though you already know that you are not going to provide them to everyone that calls. Is that right?

What you are saying is that there is no downside to creating a disconnect between the expectations you created in the mind of your prospect and what you are willing to deliver.
 

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Do you ever Decline To Quote?

I don't think that because someone Declines To Quote on EVERY job there is a disconnect or you are being misleading. If someone is obviously not serious about the job or is acting goofy or tells you how they have sued everyone who has ever done a job for them, or that I'm one of 7 people quotting and they want absolute rock bottom, etc., I personally don't feel any obligation to quote the job.

If you treat the average person like crap because you just don't think they come up to your expectations of what your client should be for some reason, I have a problem with it. But isn't there something implied in "Free Estimates?"

I'm implying I'll do a free estimate if you are serious about wanting to do the job - I'm NOT running a service just because you are lonely and want to talk, or want to feel big because you are finally going to turn loose of some money (usually years after the job is needed for people who act this way) and by golly, you want to see how many hoops you make every contractor in a hundred miles jump through if they are going to get any of YOUR money.

We can easily spend over 40 hours of time working up an estimate. I deserve enough respect from the prospect that they either be serious, or be willing to pay for our time of working it up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I don't think that because someone Declines To Quote on EVERY job there is a disconnect or you are being misleading. If someone is obviously not serious about the job or is acting goofy or tells you how they have sued everyone who has ever done a job for them, or that I'm one of 7 people quotting and they want absolute rock bottom, etc., I personally don't feel any obligation to quote the job.

If you treat the average person like crap because you just don't think they come up to your expectations of what your client should be for some reason, I have a problem with it. But isn't there something implied in "Free Estimates?"

I'm implying I'll do a free estimate if you are serious about wanting to do the job - I'm NOT running a service just because you are lonely and want to talk, or want to feel big because you are finally going to turn loose of some money (usually years after the job is needed for people who act this way) and by golly, you want to see how many hoops you make every contractor in a hundred miles jump through if they are going to get any of YOUR money.

We can easily spend over 40 hours of time working up an estimate. I deserve enough respect from the prospect that they either be serious, or be willing to pay for our time of working it up.
I don’t want to lead prospects to believe that I’m going to jump through all kinds of hoops like you have described and not get anything in return. All I want in return is the courtesy of a “Yes or No” answer.

Let’s talk about crafting the language used in your offer.

Isn’t there a better way to describe it other than “free estimates” or “free consultations”?

Everybody out there is offering the same thing and most of your competitors don’t qualify prospects.

So the prospect is going to expect you to act just like your competitors. Some of your competitors don’t even ask for both decision makers to be there for the appointment. If you require both decision makers to be present that makes you different. Do you think maybe your marketing message should be different too?

If everyone in the room is wearing a brown suite and you’re wearing a blue suite, who do you think will stand out? You will.

Have you ever experimented with different wording of your offer?

Maybe it doesn’t matter, but I’m curious.
 

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I don't think that because someone Declines To Quote on EVERY job there is a disconnect or you are being misleading. If someone is obviously not serious about the job or is acting goofy or tells you how they have sued everyone who has ever done a job for them, or that I'm one of 7 people quotting and they want absolute rock bottom, etc., I personally don't feel any obligation to quote the job.

If you treat the average person like crap because you just don't think they come up to your expectations of what your client should be for some reason, I have a problem with it. But isn't there something implied in "Free Estimates?"

I'm implying I'll do a free estimate if you are serious about wanting to do the job - I'm NOT running a service just because you are lonely and want to talk, or want to feel big because you are finally going to turn loose of some money (usually years after the job is needed for people who act this way) and by golly, you want to see how many hoops you make every contractor in a hundred miles jump through if they are going to get any of YOUR money.

We can easily spend over 40 hours of time working up an estimate. I deserve enough respect from the prospect that they either be serious, or be willing to pay for our time of working it up.

I agree:thumbsup:
 

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What I hear you saying is that the offer you are making of “free estimates” in your marketing has no relationship to how you handle the incoming lead.

What you are saying is that you would not change your offer of “free estimates” even though you already know that you are not going to provide them to everyone that calls. Is that right?

What you are saying is that there is no downside to creating a disconnect between the expectations you created in the mind of your prospect and what you are willing to deliver.

None of my ads say "free". My ads are simply designed to make the phone ring are the website visited. We qualify all leads because we're not everyones company everyones not our customer.

Do you do ALL your grocery shopping at the same place for your meat and produce? How about your clothes shopping? Of course you don't. You go to Macy's for this Sears for that etc. I don't either nor would I expect every customer to buy what we offer. Our qualification sorts out those who want what we have and those who don't. That's all
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Please explain and quantify by telling how many times you are more successful than not, what works, and what does not.

Let us see the real numbers rather than random opinions.
Tell me about your marketing message, have you ever used a call to action other that “Call for a free estimate”?

It probably doesn’t matter to you because you will provide a quote to anyone that calls.
 
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