Preparing your home improvement business for 2021
2020 has been a hurricane of good and bad for everyone. Thankfully, the home improvement industry has seen year-over-year growth of over 20%. 2021 is shaping up to be a complete unknown, though, with unclear job growth reports and a virus that has completely disrupted our lives.
Hearth has compiled the best national organizations, industry gurus, and top contractors across all components of home improvement, to deliver a 5-Part webinar series that can serve as a playbook for the best-practices to ensure a successful 2021. We’re covering everything from successful lead generation, to selling systems, to saving timing and money on the tedious operations of your business.
Part one of our series, Creating & Converting Leads, You Can’t Do One Without the Other, kicked off this past Weds, Oct 30th. It was an insightful event full of actionable information to apply to your business.
We were joined by:
Steve Weyl – Former CEO of $100M Abel Roofing
Tony Gee – 15 years contractor and expert lead generator for over 11K contractors.
Alan McKenna – Creator of the Ultimate Rainmaker — the #1 re-hash program in home improvement.
Caleb Nelson, founder of Destination Motivation, helping businesses close more deals with vacation vouchers and incentives
Gabe Hirsch – Director of Strategy and Business Development @ 1800Remodel, a top lead generation organization for home improvement companies
When thinking ahead to 2021, it’s worth first taking a step back to understand the larger macroeconomic situation that we find ourselves in. The below stats are the reason we put together this series to cover what you can be doing as a business during this changing economic, political, and social climate.
40% of US adults living in cities in 2020 are considering moving to the suburbs
Millennials are the fastest-growing segment of home-purchases, representing 38% of the market and with an average age of 31
53% of homeowners spend 1-5 hours conducting research before submitting a request
42% of homeowners plan to conduct 1-5 additional hours of research before hiring a contractor
only 8% of homeowners will receive one quote for a job
The first topic on the panel was lead generation.
Lean on the experts
As a lead generation guru for over 11,000 businesses, Tony’s advice hinged on using expert playbooks to generate leads. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, find experts that have already succeeded in generating leads. The more niche the expert, the better chance they can help your business find success. For example, a plumbing lead generator, like Tony will be able to provide far more meaningful insight for plumbers than a general contractor lead generator.
”Find the people already doing what you wish you could do since they’ll have a blueprint of what works.”
Double down on creativity
We run into this same conversations at Hearth as we think about promoting our product. How do we stand out from our competitors that flood some of the same lead generation channels as us?
One of our favorite answers is creativity. Gabe from 1800Remodel emphasizes that while it’s important to identify your core channels for generating leads, you should always be open to what’s next around the corner.
Instead of being overly reliant on just one channel, continue searching for new ways to generate leads. You never know what might stick or when your one or two successful lead generation techniques will dry up. You certainly don’t want to be caught flat-footed.
We talked to a roofing customer of Hearth recently, for example, who sends sales reps to neighborhoods that just got hit by storms. They go around looking for damaged roofs and knock on doors to tell homeowners they can get a replacement covered by insurance. They’ve been able to stand out from the competition big-time.
Add value, and don’t always sell
Tony makes a great point as well that the focus for lead gen can’t always be around selling and promoting your service. We all know the companies that seem to only be promoting themselves and trying to win the deal. While it can be tempting in the short term to hit your sales targets, in order to build homeowner trust and grow your brand, you have to also add value.
Tony refers to these as “value bombs.” It could be examples of the best projects in your area, data around how renovations increase the value of a home, or even articles discussing what to look for in the next contractor someone hires.
After delivering value, you can make promotional posts, with thoughtful and creative CTAs to pull homeowners in.
The next step in the process once the leads are in the door is to convert them. That starts with speed to lead.
Speed to lead
If your business isn’t thinking about speed to lead right now, then it’s about time you do. Alan from The Ultimate Rainmaker says
“People don’t want to work for something, they want the easiest path… the harder you make them work, they’ll just go somewhere else — call them immediately”
Even if you’re in the middle of a busy day, prioritizing getting back to potential leads is absolutely critical. They might have already moved on otherwise.
After you have a conversation scheduled with the client, there are clear steps you can take to set yourself up for success. Tony recommends being communicative before the appointment, calling them on your way to the house if you’re going in person so they know your voice.
Then, take care of the little steps. Make sure you wear a mask during these times since you have no idea how comfortable they’ll be with COVID. Bring hand sanitizer and carry a general thoughtfulness with your entrance by doing things like not parking in their driveway.
This is also a great point in time to send them a financing application. Your client can see what they pre-qualify for without any impact on their credit before you enter the home, and you’ll be able to go in knowing what their budget is.
Once you start the conversation, building a relationship is crucial. Be observant of what you see in the house, whether it’s a sports sign, pictures of kids, or anything else that you can relate to the homeowner about. Win over the wife, and always come to the table with three options.
This is also where payment options come into play. Alan shares that 90% of what they sold was on some sort of payment option. People confuse price and affordability here. A $10,000 ticket vs. $300/month is a massive difference in framing. What can the homeowner afford to pay today?
Have a process nailed down
Steve Weyl, founder of $100M Abel Roofing shares that regardless of what business you’re in, each sales conversation should be treated like a one-call close. That doesn’t mean you have to secure the deal, but you should be leaving the conversation with one of three things:
A clear and definite future next step
Then, regardless of what process you follow, you should follow some sort of sales process. Instead of approaching bids haphazardly, be intentional. You’ve spent all that time and effort getting in front of the lead, which can often be the toughest part, now it’s just practice with sales.
By creating a repeatable process, you can train others, and you can identify clear areas for improvement.
Cancellations and re-hash
Cancellations can be a bane for home improvement businesses. You’ve done all the work to close the deal just to have the homeowner back out at the last minute.
It might not sound important, but even 1 or 2 canceled deals in a year can leave a substantial impact and sour taste. Steven recommends having those hard conversations early on.
Ask the homeowner if they’re 100% onboard, even if they’ve already verbally committed and tell then you’ll rip up that check if they’re still unsure.
In addition, hammer in the value of what you bring. People want to feel like they got a good deal, so being laser-focused on demonstrating the value you will bring will have a large impact.
The last topic we covered during the panel was re-hash, or re-engaging with old prospects that didn’t convert. This is Alan’s specialty, and he shared that most companies lose 10-15% on revenue by not doing re-hash.
You’ve already done the leg work to generate the lead, so circling back around, creating urgency for another conversation and pushing for the deal can add serious money to your bottom line. It’s a no brainer that can be as simple as reaching out to old leads once a month with a promotional offer or a value bomb like mentioned above.
We covered lots of useful content during this panel. For access to the full live recording, click here.
Our panelists can be found at