Editor’s Note: This is Part II of a two-part column. Part I appeared in the October issue.
Last month, I explained the process we use at Schopen Pest Solutions that helps us get better numbers for our inside-sales division. Now, I’m going to break down our sales process for you — specifically, as it pertains to HomeAdvisor.
I know this online service provider clearinghouse, powered by Angi, is an ugly, four-letter word for many of you. But at Schopen Pest Solutions, we’ve been able to use it to help find clients and create a different four-letter word: grow.
As we all know, marketing was so much easier 20 years ago: You placed an ad in the phone book and waited for the phones to ring. If you were aggressive, you would cloverleaf a neighborhood, do some direct-mail marketing with postcards, and buy an ad in a local coupon book. But alas: In 2021, marketing strategies change more quickly than my Bitcoin portfolio.
On the bright side, there are lots of ways to get your phones to ring and make money these days. Referrals, door-to-door sales, social media, email marketing and pay-per-lead are just a few. Of the many pay-to-play websites out there, we use Thumbtack and HomeAdvisor the most.
HOW WE DO IT
Historically with HomeAdvisor, we typically sell five or six jobs on a slow day, and 10 to 12 on a busy day. You may recall I’ve sung its praises in previous columns, most recently in February 2020.
But this year, things slowed down: My sales team was only closing on 26 percent of HomeAdvisor leads. I realized the root cause was that we were getting away from following a formal process. So I sat down and revised it.
Our strategy is to beat the leads to death: Clients will either say yes, or call the cops on us. Some companies give up after the first phone call. I require my people to exhaust every avenue.
Obviously, when you are dealing with HomeAdvisor, you have to respond quickly. It will give you an automated call, text and email in quick succession. As soon as you get that notification, you are battling with four or five other companies, and it’s a race to get to the client first. Sometimes other companies have a jumpstart on you, so you might be third or fourth anyway. Thus, the first rule at Schopen Pest Solutions when dealing with HomeAdvisor is to respond within 60 seconds:
- First contact script: “Help is on the way! This is Ben with Schopen Pest Solutions. We received an email from HomeAdvisor that you were looking for help. Please call me back as soon as you can, and I will walk you through our process and costs. Thank you for your consideration. The best number to reach us is 815-385-9511.”
- Second contact script: “This is Ben from Schopen Pest Solutions. Just following up with you to see if you got my message.”
We will continue calling the client for up to five times that first day until we make contact. We change the sales scripts for every call. If our people make contact, but don’t make the sale, we will reach out to the client twice the next day with a new set of scripts for our texts and emails.
If, however, on the second day, we still haven’t made contact, we will reach out to them twice-per-day via phone, text and email. Same thing on the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh days. Each day, we have different messages and scripts so that sooner or later, a particular message will hopefully resonate with the clients, and they will hire us.
A nice feature of HomeAdvisor is that it allows us to color-code our results and stay organized:
- orange = sold
- blue = refund requested
- green = selling (quoted)
- yellow = called, emailed and texted with no contact yet
- black = said no or went with someone else
If the potential client hired another company, we will wait two weeks and then send a friendly email asking about the pest situation: “Hi, this is Ben at Schopen Pest Solutions. I just wanted to see how your pest situation is going. Were you able to get a company out to you? If you did, did you like the work that they provided? We would love to earn your trust and be your pest control company. If you ever need us, or just a second opinion, please don’t hesitate to call us.”
We wait one month, and then do it again. Then, because we have HomeAdvisor customers’ addresses, we will send the “no’s” our tri-fold mailer 30 days after the initial contact.
When I created this process in April, my goal was to consistently be at the 40 percent sales mark for HomeAdvisor leads. Since my little pep talk and presentation to my sales staff, we have incrementally gone up each month:
- April: 26 percent
- May: 28 percent
- June: 31 percent
- July: 38 percent
- August: 39 percent
Our HomeAdvisor sample size was too small in September to give an accurate report, because we had to shut off HomeAdvisor temporarily while we faced a worker shortage. Keep in mind that
HomeAdvisor is a very small part of our marketing plan. We get a lot more work through referrals, our website and even Thumbtack. But to me, HomeAdvisor is a necessary evil, and we’ll ramp back up with it in the spring.
You get a very satisfying feeling when you convert a client after weeks of trying. Sold is a four-letter word I love to hear.