As a member on a number of contractor forums, it seems that every day another user posts the same question: “What is the best lead gen site for contractors” or “Has anyone tried?”
These types of posts tend to get replies ranging from flattering to furious. XYZ Contractor swears by a company while ACME Contractor swears AT the same company and Joe The Plumber damns ALL lead generation companies to hell.
So, who should you listen to?
The first thing to realize is that many factors go in to determining which contractors win jobs and which ones don’t. Let’s take a look at a few of the most important ones:
- Quality of work
- Price of work
- Salesmanship and personality
- Follow up process
- References or reviews
Some contractors possess a few of these qualities, some have all, and, like you probably say about your competition, some have none.
Different types of contractors may do well with different types of lead sources. A contractor with great quality of work, many references, and a fair price can probably get a lot of referral work without being a good salesman or needing an aggressive follow up process.
On the other hand, contractors with great sales skills and a strong follow up process may win a lot of jobs even without quality work, fair prices, or references.
As you can see, different kinds of contractors may rely on different types of lead sources to grow their businesses.
Analyzing contractor feedback on lead generation services
Now that we see that different contractors have different results with different lead sources, let’s take a close look at some factors that can influence a contractor’s opinion when it comes to using one of the many ways to get leads: home improvement lead generation services. Here are some important factors to consider:
How long did they try the service for?
Many contractors will try a lead generation service, get 3-4 leads with no results, and quit, placing all the blame on the lead gen service. One thing many contractors don’t understand is that lead generation of any type is a numbers game.
For example, you may have a website that get’s 100 visitors a day, and maybe only 20 of them actually call or fill out a form (20%). If you check your website stats in the morning and after 5 visits you have no calls, would you say that you are not going to get a single call all day? That would not be statistically accurate. What if you got 5 calls on your first 5 visitors, would you say that you are going to get 100 calls that day? Of course not!
The principles of statistics are simple: the more trials there are, the more accurate the data becomes. That’s why you can’t judge a particular service after just a handful of leads. So when a contractor gives feedback about a lead service, it’s always important to ask how many leads they got from that service and for how long they used the service for.
How good is their sales process?
The truth is that many contractors can’t sell. Many don’t understand how to make a good impression on a homeowner. Many are unprofessional. And some of these types of contractors use lead gen services and have bad experiences. When reading feedback of lead-gen companies, you have to take some of it with a grain of salt, as you may not know much about the contractor leaving the feedback.
Are they passing blame?
Every now and then we get a call from a contractor saying that a given lead was unreachable. Unlike other networks, we have a system in place that tracks calls to every lead so contractors can view the results in their Lead Manager. Often times we will look at the call history for the lead in question and we will see that the homeowner was not called until 4 days after we matched the lead, and it was only called once (or sometimes not at all). No wonder it was unreachable!
The truth is, many contractors do not properly follow up with leads. Calling only one-time a few days after the lead was matched will not lead to success. But many contractors with a poor follow-up process will then pass the blame to the lead generation company and post negative reviews online.
When reading feedback about a lead-gen company, ask the contractor posting feedback more about their sales process and how they follow up with leads they buy.
Did they have success with other companies?
If a contractor posts negative feedback about a specific lead generation company, ask them if they had the same experience with other companies. If they had negative experiences with all lead gen companies it could be that this contractor’s business does not work well with lead gen companies, but that may not mean much for your business. If the contractor had issues with just one company then perhaps there is an issue with that specific lead gen company.
What do they consider success?
Many contractors have different ideas of success. If a contractor said a particular lead gen company did not work for his business, ask how he measures success. Some contractors expect a 60% close ratio while others are happy with 20%.
How similar is his business to yours?
Like I pointed out in the beginning, contracting businesses come in many varieties, as do contractors. If you get feedback from a contractor on a lead gen service, try and determine how similar his business is to yours. Is their company the same size as yours? How about sales and follow up process? What about their expectations? There are many factors to consider and just because something works or doesn’t work for another contractor doesn’t mean it will be the same for you.
The bottom line is when these types of topics surface online, don’t take the replies (positive or negative) at face value. Remember, it’s the Internet. People can say what they want and there is no real way to judge their credibility unless you dig a little deeper.