Contractors typically generate two types of leads. First, there are the customers who are planning ahead. Take remodeling jobs as a prime example. These are usually on the calendar well in advance of any work. And then there are the emergencies. Situations like a flooded basement, a pest infestation, or an electrical issue require immediate action.
Both types of leads can come in via a phone call.
Homeowners who plan ahead are likely to have questions. They may want to discuss their remodeling schedule or the specifics of their job. And homeowners in crisis will expect a quick response. They may not be at all comfortable filling out a web form and waiting.
As a result, phone leads are generally extremely warm leads.
If you’re looking to get more leads by phone, you need to know both how to generate them and how to convert them. That’s true whether you’re trying to book more planned jobs or more emergency work.
In this article, we’ll take a quick look at lead generation as a high-level concept. If you’re brand new to lead generation, this overview will bring you up to speed fast. Then we’ll turn our attention specifically to leads generated by phone. We’ll also share some of our top tips for generating phone leads that consistently close.
The Basics of Lead Generation
When a lead comes in, it’s nothing more than an opportunity. Leads aren’t guarantees of work. They’re a chance to book a job. The more leads you generate, the more opportunities you have to boost your company’s profitability.
Without leads, you can’t grow your business. In fact, without leads, you can’t even maintain your business. You need a steady stream of leads coming in through a variety of channels to be able to ensure profitability each month.
In a sense, that’s the bad news. Leads are necessary. If you don’t have a lead generation strategy, you need one.
The good news is you can use several different types of marketing to generate leads. If your leads come in through several different channels, you never have to worry about the possibility that one channel will suddenly stop working. When there are shifts and changes with one lead generation source, you can simply fall back on your other channels until you’re able to make the needed adjustments.
That said, phone leads are a strong option for contractors and home services providers. As we covered above, your customers may have questions. Giving them the option to contact you by phone just makes sense. And when there’s an emergency, no one wants to wait. A phone call feels much more immediate than a text, web form, or email.
Regardless of how you generate your leads, a lead is always the same thing at its core. It’s contact with a potential customer about your services.
The Value of Leads by Phone
Many contractors consider phone leads to be some of their best opportunities to close a job. This is especially true when dealing with disaster mitigation and restoration because the customer needs immediate action.
No, every emergency phone lead won’t close. But the odds are certainly in your favor if you’re available, quick to respond, and good on the phone.
While phone leads tend to be stronger leads, they do require more of you in the moment. If the customer is literally calling you, you have to answer. Some will leave a voicemail message, and some won’t. And when a potential customer leaves a message, you need to return their call as quickly as you can.
In this sense, phone leads have the potential to be more labor-intensive while you’re working with them. After all, it’s way easier to reply to an email when it’s convenient for you than it is to take a call while you’re on a job site.
But there’s a powerful upside to phone leads, too.
Any potential customer who’s willing to talk to you over the phone is far more likely to be ready to make a buying decision. Homeowners don’t call up contractors just to chat. They call contractors when they’re ready to book a job.
That means phone leads are some of the strongest, warmest leads you can generate.
How to Evaluate Your Lead Gen Strategy
We encourage you to use every marketing channel available to generate leads. That includes lead generation partners (like us), social media marketing, paid advertising, word-of-mouth, and online reviews.
Every single channel has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Regardless of the channel you’re focused on for lead generation, there are a few key points to consider. What follows are some of the things you should keep an eye on to determine if your lead generation strategy is successful.
Keep in mind, too, that “success” is a subjective concept. There are a lot of factors specific to your business. Your local area, the types of services you offer, your target audience, and even the season of the year will also factor into your closing ratio.
If you’re looking for ways to close more leads and land more jobs, here are the things you can optimize in your lead generation strategy.
Customer Acquisition Cost
Every time you bring a new customer on, there is a cost to acquiring that customer. That’s customer acquisition cost.
Customer acquisition cost is the amount your business will need to spend to onboard one new customer. We’re not just talking about what you spent on that one customer. Rather, this includes your total expense for all marketing activities necessary to get one customer.
For example, if you spend $500 per week on social media paid campaigns, and you buy $500 of leads from a lead generation partner each week, your total marketing expense is $1000 per week. If you average one new customer per week, your customer acquisition cost is $1000. That’s what you have to spend every week for just one customer, whether that customer comes from your social media ads or your lead gen partner.
Your goal should be a lower customer acquisition cost. That’s how you make your marketing dollar count for as much as possible.
The Quality & Quantity of Your Leads
The quality and quantity of your leads matter. High-quality leads are the goal, of course. But if you don’t generate enough high-quality leads, you won’t turn a profit. Similarly, lots of low-quality leads that won’t close simply don’t do you any good.
You need a balance.
The quality of your leads can vary from channel to channel. If you’re focused on phone leads, you may see a big difference in the quality of a phone lead from social media versus a phone lead from a lead gen partner.
A lead gen partner who qualifies leads on your behalf will probably hand off really high-quality leads. Your social media leads? They may not be as good.
However, don’t rush to judgment on the quality of leads from specific channels. You’ll need to collect data for a while—probably a few months, minimum—before making a decision about quality based on channel.
Another key factor is the number of leads a channel or strategy generates. The number of leads you get will vary by channel.
As a general rule, marketing channels that easily generate a high volume of leads will often generate lower-quality leads. At least initially.
Because both the quality and quantity of your leads matter, it’s critical that you track where your leads originate. You need to know where you got your leads to determine which are of the highest quality and quantity.
While that means a little more work for you, it’s well worth the effort. We recommend investing in a CRM to help track your leads.
It would be amazing if there were a set-it-and-forget-it method of lead generation. Unfortunately, no such thing exists.
Granted, some forms of lead generation will require less of your time than others. Working with a lead generation company, for example, will lighten your load. If you handle all of your marketing yourself, you’ll need to allocate a big chunk of time every week.
Once again, it’s all about balance. Time-saving options typically cost more. Free and no-cost options typically require a much greater time commitment on your part. You’ll have to decide how much money and how much time you have to give to your lead generation efforts.
We’d like to offer a word of caution here. If you hear anyone pitching a low-cost, high reward lead gen strategy, be careful. In our experience, too-to-be-true methods are just that. Too good to be true.
We also encourage you to consider not just the time it will take to generate leads but also the time it will take to close them. Remember, leads are opportunities. To turn those opportunities into sales, you’ll need to carve out the time to work your leads.
Necessary Skills & Knowledge
Not only will you need to make time to work leads, but you’ll also need to brush up on your sales skills. Sales is an art. Doing it well takes practice.
If you want to delegate sales to others at your company, that can be a smart move. However, you can’t hand leads off to just anyone. Your sales staff will need to know both sales and your products and services.
Once again, we’re looking at another area where balance is key.
If you’re building out a sales staff or training a new salesperson, be sure to spend an adequate amount of time ensuring they understand what you do. And they’ll need to know more than your prices and service offerings.
Especially if you’re working with phone leads.
Homeowners are likely to ask questions. Everyone working with leads at your company should be able to answer basic questions. And if a potential customer asks something advanced, make sure your salespeople know it’s okay to admit they don’t know.
It’s better to get back to a potential customer with accurate information than it is to hand off bad info.
How to Get More Leads by Phone
If you’re looking to generate phone leads, you’re in luck. There are several strategies that work well for this specific type of lead.
Of course, some methods will be more effective than others. That’s true in terms of cost, quality and quantity. Unfortunately, there’s no definitive way to say which of these methods will be best for you. That depends on a lot of factors that are unique to your business.
We recommend that you try several different methods. Track the cost and success of each. That will give you the best insight into which method fits your business. Or, if you’d rather avoid that hassle, just skip straight to our last tip and work directly with a lead generation service.
Here are some of the best ways to generate more leads by phone.
Paid search involves buying ads that will display alongside organic search engine results. The most common form of paid ads online is PPC (or pay-per-click) ads. As the name suggests, you only pay for these ads after someone has clicked on them.
While leads from paid search usually have a higher upfront cost, they can produce high-quality leads. But there are a couple of caveats.
First, you need to know a little about PPC to make this form of advertising work. While it’s something you can absolutely learn on your own, you’ll need to budget some time for research.
Second, there’s that higher upfront cost.
And finally, paid online ads work really well for generating organic traffic to your website. Sometimes that translates to strong phone-based leads. Sometimes it doesn’t. That part will depend largely on the behavior your website encourages. For example, if you include a form on the ad’s landing page, a fair number of users may fill out the form rather than call.
Reviews & Referrals
Many business leaders consider leads generated by reviews and referrals to be free. That’s not entirely true. For example, there was most likely a cost to acquiring the original customer who will write that review or give out that referral. Plus, you need to provide really good customer service to turn a customer into a referring customer.
The second challenge here is time. Reviews and referrals can theoretically generate a lot of leads. But they won’t generate big numbers overnight. It takes time to create the kind of reputation that makes reviews or referrals your main form of lead generation.
Still, the cost per lead is usually low. And the quality of these leads is often high.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is another powerful way to reach your target audience. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be effective ways to get the word out about your products and services. But there are a few things you should keep in mind before you just start posting.
First, social media marketing can be free or paid. It’s certainly possible to generate leads via social media without paying for ads there. However, it’s not easy to do. It takes a lot more than just setting up a Facebook page or posting a few pictures to Instagram to get the ball rolling.
So, while a DIY approach is possible in theory, it’s hard to pull off.
Second, even if you go the “free” route, you’ll need high-quality content to capture and maintain attention. A few random posts won’t cut it. Instead, you’ll need an actual strategy, complete with images, helpful content, and a deliberate, calculated cadence. If all of that sounds like a lot, trust us. It is.
This is why social media marketing is an entire field in its own right.
From large corporations to small start-ups, few companies are able to handle it in-house without hiring an expert.
Our final word of caution about social media marketing is this. You have to go where your audience is. For home services, that’s most likely Facebook, Instagram, and (if you’re daring) TikTok. LinkedIn, however, isn’t likely to generate the kinds of leads you’re after.
Here’s why that matters. Even if you love one social media network and hate another, that cannot be what guides your social media marketing. There’s nothing you can do to “force” your audience onto the platform you prefer. Instead, you have to think like the homeowners in your area.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (or SEO) is the process of tweaking your web content so that it shows up in organic search results on Google and other search engines. In the early days of SEO, there were all kinds of tricks and hacks you could use to rig the system. For the most part, these no longer work.
If you want to rank now, there’s pretty much one way to do it. You need to publish high-quality content that aligns with what your audience is already looking for via Google.
What kind of content helps with SEO? All kinds, really. Blog articles, YouTube videos, DIY guides, checklists, and even free ebooks are all valid options. The content just needs to be freely available and genuinely helpful, and it needs to answer a question your audience is already asking.
This is why SEO is hard.
Doing SEO well requires research, specialized tools, and a commitment to solid content. Plus, you need to be willing to make that content freely available. (The article you’re reading right now is a prime example of this kind of content.)
Like social media marketing, you can do this on your own, but it’s not easy.
Lead Generation Services
The easiest, fastest way to generate phone leads is also the most expensive. You can simply buy them.
Buying leads is straightforward and effective. It requires the least amount of specialized knowledge and produces solid results. Plus, there are plenty of different options for buying leads. You can customize your arrangement with most lead generation services based on geography, service type, qualification criteria, and even seasonality.
Of course, EverConnect specializes in lead generation, including phone leads. So, in the interest of full disclosure, we freely admit we’re biased. (But that doesn’t mean we’re wrong!)
The convenience of working with a lead generation partner does come at a cost. As we mentioned previously, this is typically one of the more expensive options on our list. It’s also the one most likely to produce results quickly.
Make Every Phone Lead Count
Whatever strategy you decide to go with, the single most important thing we can share in this article can easily be missed. Leads are good. High-quality leads are better. But leads don’t become sales (and profits) until you close them.
Be sure to follow through. When you decide on a lead generation strategy, also develop a strong sales process. You need both.
If the idea of putting together an entire lead gen operation intimidates you, we can help. The EverConnect team can guide you to the perfect lead generation plan for your business. We’ll take everything into account—the service you offer, your marketing budget, your profitability goals, and even your time. If you want nothing but pre-qualified phone leads, we can do that.
Just click the button below, fill out the form, and one of our experts will reach out to you.