Why Home Restoration Businesses Are Wasting Their Time Without Sales Lead Management Software

Why Home Restoration Businesses Are Wasting Their Time Without Sales Lead Management Software

Restoration companies need to be in the right place at the right time. When the flood comes, the fire consumes, or a pipe bursts, your company wants to be on speed dial.

But how do you get your restoration company on their short list? In home restoration, you depend on referrals. Sure, you go through regular advertising channels, but professional referrals make you stand out. To have a testimony to the professionalism and quality of your home restoration company is clutch to a homeowner or business in need.

So how do you create a strong referral program? You build intentional relationships with professionals.

It’s all about keeping in touch. You need a rhythm — a way to reach out to people regularly so you don’t fall into the rut of contacting the same agents repeatedly. Instead, you need to give your attention to as many professional contacts as possible to make sure it’s you they call when it’s time to rehab.

Consistency = Trust

A lead management tool makes this rhythm work. It helps you keep track of information so you see the right people at the right frequency.

How? First, it tells you who’s nearby. If you drive across town for one appointment, you’re not maximizing your time. You may or may not get a return. Instead, when you drive to meet a contact, you need to see 5-10 other people too, whether new prospects or people you already know. Sales lead management software that shows you who’s close makes this easy.

This tool helps you to see your professional contacts regularly. That consistency builds trust — and trust is essential to earn professional referrals. See, insurance agents are recommending you to their customers. This recommendation implies you’re an extension of both the carrier and the agent. If you don’t do a good job, that’s a direct reflection on the insurance agent and company. So, if you want to be the person they refer, you need to give them a reason to believe sending clients to you is an intelligent decision. The right tool keeps you on track — it only takes one slip to ruin that relationship. But, if you’re organized and consistent, you’re building the trust they need to feel comfortable recommending you.

Related: How to Get High-Quality Sales Referrals

Improving Your Compensation Structure

The best software for sales lead management also helps you better compensate your salespeople. See, salespeople in other industries are paid based on their sales productivity. They earn commission by getting dollars through the door. But, in restoration services, salespeople can’t exactly create their sales — they’re not starting fires or busting pipes. So instead of basing commissions on sales alone, they need a structure that incentivizes activity. Why? Activity leads to phone calls that ultimately lead to sales.

We’ve worked with numerous companies to restructure their commissions based on activity levels. Let’s say we start with a 2% commission on sales from one of your referral sources or commercial accounts. Then give your salespeople the opportunity to increase that commission percentage with activity levels. As salespeople hit the target number of appointments, lunches, phone calls, and meetings with professional references, they bump up their commission to the next level.

Related: How Much Should You Really Compensate Your Salespeople?

The goal is to keep your sales team out of research mode and in the field meeting people. It’s the face-to-face meetings that earn money — it’s walking through office doors, having lunch, and playing golf that builds the relationship.

Plus, there’s not much to research — if you need to know where the agents are, just open your CallProof app and it’ll tell you.

The Two Most Ignored Markets in Home Restoration

Most home restoration salespeople know to stay in touch with insurance agents, but there are two vertical markets they miss — and both are clients with lots of toilets.

Sounds like a joke, right? It’s not. If a property has lots of toilets, they’ll have a water problem at some point. So they need to be on your radar. Here are two specific markets this includes:

1. Property Managers of Multi-Family Properties

The more property someone owns, the more likely they are to need restoration services. Properties with multi-family units likely have a lot of toilets and water lines. So stay in contact with them. After you meet with them and initiate the relationship, tell them you’ll call once a quarter to check in. Really, call them every 60 days to make sure they’re doing okay. Then see them (face-to-face) twice a year.

If you cover a specific geographic area and you know an ice storm came through, send them an email, “Hey, I hope you’re okay. Not all of our clients are. Do you need anything?” Whether they need you or not, they’ll know you were alert and ready to help.

2. Businesses With Lots of Toilets

Businesses and other commercial entities are another missed market. Churches, libraries, factories, and school districts are prime contacts for restoration. They have assets they need to protect from fires, floods, and storm damage. Any business you assume has an on-staff maintenance person or any building over 40,000 square feet is a contact you want to have.

Let them know about the risks they have too. In the event of a sewer backup, is their maintenance staff blood-borne pathogen certified? Do they want to handle that? No, they want to outsource to eliminate risk. I guarantee, if the risk manager at their insurance agency found out that someone who isn’t blood-borne pathogen-certified was working on the sewer backup, there’d be issues. They don’t want to do that — it just puts them at risk.

When you meet with asset owners of these businesses, make them aware of the risks they face. Here’s just one (true) story of why letting the pros handle cleanup is best.

During a busy time of year, a restoration company hired a temp to help with janitorial work. The guy they hired had a history of heroin use and intravenous needles. He worked a few hours of a sewer cleanup (wearing full protective gear) before he quit and walked off the job.

Later, he sued them because he tested positive for hepatitis C… and he won. He had 20 years of needle usage in his history, but after working less than a day on a cleanup with blood-borne pathogens won the lawsuit. And they’ll win every time. That’s how dangerous some of these issues are.

The Real Value of Relationship

Having a relationship with your company is helpful to you — but it’s valuable to agents and owners too. Sometimes, they don’t understand that the best deals don’t come out of the phone book. If they start looking for a restoration company during a 2:00 a.m. emergency, they won’t get special treatment. In fact, they’ll likely get a hefty bill and a lot of stress. Help them understand this. A pre-existing relationship with your company protects their assets (and bank accounts) during unexpected crises.

Craft Beer Distribution: How to Get Your Beer into More Restaurants

Craft Beer Distribution- How to Get Your Beer into More Restaurants

A guy walks into a bar — not just any bar, a brewery. This place makes great beer — but no one knows about it yet. So the guy asks the owner, “Have you thought about getting your beer into more restaurants and bars?”

“Are you a distributor?”

“No, but I know a way you can do it yourself.”

“Well,” the owner replies, “I have an agreement with my distributor not to sell my product directly. Otherwise, they’re not going to bring my product to all of their customers.”

“Well, there’s a different way… and it doesn’t violate that agreement.”

What if you could get people to ask your distributor for your beer? You don’t have to distribute, and you’ll give your distributor more business. Now that’s how to sell beer.

How to Promote Your Beer Distributors

So how do you compete against the big distributors who have thousands of brands? It’s not as complicated as you may think.

In fact, you do the same thing everyone in the beer distribution business does — you walk into bars and restaurants and talk to the owners. You meet people. You put together events that promote your product. You hand out free beer mugs, tap handles, and swag. You say, “This is the best beer in the world. It’ll sell like crazy. Ask your distributor about it.”

But you add one extra piece of information at the end of your promo: the distributor’s name. Make it personal. Say, “Hey, Ralph is the guy that distributes beer to your store. You see him every other day. Ask him about it tomorrow.”

That one extra piece of info makes all the difference. See, if you just tell them the general, “Ask your distributor,” they won’t. You have to make it specific.

Related: Tell the Story, Make the Sale: Sales Conversation Starters to Improve Your Pitch

And you can even tell your distributor what you’re doing. You aren’t a prisoner to the distributor. Just say, “Hey, I know you distribute beer for my competitors too. That’s great — you’re the one there and they buy from one person so they don’t have a million invoices. I get it. I don’t want to run trucks; you don’t want to make beer. But I’m going to go increase your sales for you for nothing. I’m going to get them to order more beer from you and it’s going to help us both.”

Your goal is to influence the buying decisions.

How to Keep Track of the Distributors

But how do you get the information you need to be successful? Well, you could research and get organized before you see each new place… but you’ll miss out on about five stops you could have made during that time.

Instead, you need some sort of mechanism to keep track of all those distributors. You need a tool that tells you the name of the distributor, what’s important to them, and what’s selling in that area as soon as you walk through the door. An app like CallProof keeps that info at your fingertips.

How a CRM Keeps Your Craft Beer Distribution Contacts Organized

When you’re looking for a good CRM, you may think you want something that emails a report at the end of each day. You want it to include where you went today and where you plan to go tomorrow.

But here’s what you need:

You need a tool that gives people on the street a way to enter information about their stops so that you get quality information. Otherwise, it’s just garbage.

Just because a salesperson tells you they stopped somewhere, doesn’t mean they did. What are you going to do — call and ask, “Hey, was he really there?” Of course not. Managers don’t call, and salespeople don’t make all the stops they claim to make. They go out and see a few people in the morning and a few others in the afternoon. Then they tell you they went to 20 places, when they really went to the same five places that morning they visit every Tuesday because they’re buddies. It’s not the way it started. It’s not even what they want. But after 18 months selling beer to place after place, that’s the way it ends up.

See, they probably drove past four bars on their way to see one they visit every Tuesday. Why aren’t they stopping? Well, they don’t have the information they need to be successful. They think, “I’ve got to stop in a new place and interrupt someone’s day to have an uncomfortable conversation. Even if the conversation turns out good, I have to remember everything we talked about, take it back to my office, and try to enter it all into a program that doesn’t work right. This is a waste of everyone’s time. Instead, I could just go the bar I always visit and they’ll keep ordering beer.”

Related: Why Your Salespeople Hate Using Your CRM – And How to Change Their Minds

What’s driving your beer sales right now is not your sales team — it’s the distributors. But if your salespeople had a mechanism to hold them accountable and give them information about nearby restaurants so they can make each stop worthwhile, that could change.

If you’re making great beer, more people should know about it. With the right tools, your sales team can make that happen.

What Parking My Car Taught Me About Sales Success

What Parking My Car Taught Me About Sales Sucess

A few months ago, I was doing a three-part training for New York Life agents. In these types of training, you get to know each other during multiple sessions as you observe and interact.

Well, apparently one guy had noticed how I parked from the conference room window. So, as I walked into the third session, he asked, “Why do you always back into your parking spot?” Little did he know, he was tapping into a life philosophy.

It all started a few years ago with a Stephen Covey book.

The book was all about being proactive, keeping the end in mind, planning, and being more confident. When someone had asked me what I got out of it, I joked, “I could probably park better.” But it was true! Beginning with the end in mind affects everything — even how we park.

You park your car best when you consider how you need to leave. What’s the easiest way out? What safety concerns do you face? What are you skilled enough to do?

I’ve realized we can also follow this new way of thinking when it comes to our sales success. So, here are three ways to begin with the end in mind, whether you’re parking your car or making a sale.

1. Be Proactive

How do you want to drive away later? Forward or backward? Obviously, forward is easier, so I back into a spot. Most likely, when I leave later, other people will be leaving too. Do we all want to be backing out at the same chaotic time? No. Why not just back in when I’m the only one parking? When I do that, I’m proactive about how I want this situation to end.

2. Plan Ahead

One the main parts of driving is planning to be safe. I know I have horrible blind spots in my truck. So, if I can pull forward rather than back out when the lots are crowded, I’m less likely to hit anyone. Hence, I plan to be safe from the beginning.

3. Be Confident

I’ve been driving this truck for a few years. I’m good at backing the truck into a tight spot, so I lean into that ability with confidence and park accordingly.

From the Parking Lot to the Workplace

Just like I implemented these strategies in parking, CRMs help you naturally implement them at work. You have to be proactive, plan ahead, and be confident to sell. And CRMs like CallProof enable you to gain these skills.

First, they help you be proactive. You’ll always know who’s around you and what’s coming up. Then you can prioritize what you want to do and spend your time wisely.

CRMs that show you location data also help you plan. You’ll know where you’re going each day and will be able to plan what else you can accomplish while you’re there.

Related: Check out Field Sales 101 for more tips on your sales approach.

Then, once it starts working, you’ll gain confidence. You’ll know you’re not missing anything or forgetting anyone because everything is in one place. You’re not lugging around notebooks anymore. Instead, you’ve got a central hub you can access anywhere with everything you’ll need to know.

Applying these principles to parking may have started as a joke, but there’s no denying the relevance. So whether it’s sales or parking, begin with the end in mind.

Sales Funnel Management: Close More Deals by Eliminating the Noise

sales-funnel-management

If you’re looking to move your prospects from possibility to purchase, it’s time to reexamine your sales funnel management. At the top of this metaphorical funnel are any people who could potentially buy. Then, as they move closer to being a client, they move down the funnel.

But how does this funnel really help the sales process? It works toward two advantages.

1. Planning Your Sales Steps

Figuring out where people are in this process helps you manage your sales steps. So, if a person is a new prospect, you know what to do. If they’re a returning customer, they’re at a different part of the funnel, and you need to take a different action step.

Related: A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

See, too often people wait for the customer or prospect to tell them to go to the next step. It works better if you figure out how to get them to the next step. Don’t just wait for it to happen — make it happen.

Look at your pipeline and ask yourself, “What’s the next action I need to do?” Keep your action simple. It shouldn’t be conducting extensive research and geological surveys. It can be as easy as setting a reminder to call them tomorrow. Use your pipeline to be proactive, not reactive.

2. Balancing Your Sales Steps

Funnel management in sales also keeps you balanced. Try to spend time with prospects in each part of your funnel: the top, middle, and bottom. You should be continually prospecting, quoting, and closing. If you focus on these areas in phases, your pipeline goes dry. The key is doing all of your essential activities regularly. Maybe you start with phone calls (the top of the funnel) and schedule a lot of appointments. Well, don’t stop making those prospecting calls when you start going to appointments.

Balance every stage of the process. That way, you keep your sales steady. Otherwise, you work a few prospects through your pipeline only to realize you have no one left at the top of your funnel. Once your current deals close, you’ll have to start at square one, and it’ll be a while before you make another sale.

More Tips for Managing Your Sales Pipeline

Keep Sales Stages Simple

The way you move people through the pipeline should be easy. Know your next steps for each level. How can you get them from the top to the middle? When you have go-to sales steps, the answer is easy.

Related: How to Close More Deals by Mapping Your Sales Process

Limit Active Prospects

You only need to focus on a few sales-ready leads at a time. Now, you might have 500 prospects, but who are the sales-ready leads you can work through the pipeline? You can’t manage 500 records and move them to their next steps. It takes too much time. Instead, you need to be able to look at your sales-ready leads daily to figure out their next step. Then figure out who will fill their spot after they buy.

I used to be a sales trainer. Our first step was to look at pipeline reports. And so often, I’d see 100 people on their forecasting reports. They were proud of it. High numbers looked great on their report, but it wasn’t actionable, much less realistic. During our training, I’d ask them to get their prospect list down to seven people. Sure, they had more options than that, but they needed a smaller number to make it manageable. So they’d choose seven deals of various sizes to focus on, and they’d start closing them. It was way easier to close two out of seven deals than it was to close two out of 100.

De-Clutter Your Funnel

Most of the time, the pipeline ends up in an Excel file. Salespeople have reporting responsibilities, so they keep this file that they tweak and submit every Friday afternoon. But after a while, they become numb to it. They’re used to looking at the same data — after you’ve seen “oddball” on there for so long, it just stays. It’s natural, but not so effective for keeping the pipeline fresh.

If you want your team to get their funnel down to seven (or however many works for your industry), let them pick which prospects they want. Then they need to literally only focus on those potential customers until they close the deal or go back to another status. Delete the others from your file for now. They’re not your focus.

Your pipeline isn’t about how many prospects you can cram into it. It’s about what’s real. If you want to close deals, you want to eliminate as much noise as possible. The only people you should deal with are the ones you’re actively pushing through your pipeline.

Make Yourself a Better Salesperson by Focusing on the Sales Activities That Matter

sales_activities_that_matter

Salespeople will do what they like to do, not what they need to do. If it’s uncomfortable to make cold calls, they’ll find a way to justify doing something else — like sending an email or writing up a proposal. But when you’re focusing on sales activities, you need to dedicate time to the activities that matter — even if you don’t like them.

Real, Severe Commitment

There’s a difference in scheduling time and severely committing to something. I’m working with my assistant on an issue right now. I told him, “I want you to spend one hour a day on this. You can pick the hour. But during that hour, do not stop. Short of a life safety issue, commit for the whole hour. If a customer shows up and is banging on the door, ignore them. If our biggest client calls and threatens to cancel their service, so what? I’ll deal with the fall-out — you do this task for one hour.”

The next day, I asked if he did it. Nope. “Life safety issue?” I asked. “Imminent death of everyone on earth?!” No. He just bailed. See, scheduling is easy, but we avoid actually doing the tasks we hate — even if they’re important tasks. It happens all the time. And the more uncomfortable it is, the more adamantly you need to commit to the activity.

“Productive” Distractions

So what do we do instead of the activities we hate? Anything else. And if it seems productive, we gravitate towards it. Here are just a few ways we occupy our time with deceitfully unproductive tasks.

Research

Research is one of the main activities that snowballs into unproductiveness. Of course, it’s good to an extent — you need to know the basics of a company before you call, but we tend to keep searching. We get interested in a topic and over-inform ourselves. Plus, we take rabbit trails and end up learning all sorts of info we don’t need.

Let’s say you’re about to make a cold call, so you start researching the company. For three hours, you read and figure out everything there is to know about them. You know their story, who founded it, where they’re located, and anything else you’d want to know. Then you call them and they say, “My brother-in-law handles this for us. We’ll never switch.” You just spent three hours researching to get a “no” in two minutes. You wasted 180 minutes on one dead-end client.

Instead, focus your research so you know what to look for before you start. Then set time limits to keep you on track. If you set a seven-minute time limit on your research for each prospect, then call them in two minutes, you contact 20 prospects in those 180 minutes instead of just one.

The more qualified the prospect, the more time you can spend on research. Maybe you spend 14 minutes researching someone who called you or a person you’re meeting for an appointment. Still, research doesn’t consume your day. Time spent researching dead-end prospects is wasted.

Here are some other ways we waste time:

  • Calling only your current customers
  • Not being organized
  • Not finishing to-do lists
  • Not putting to-dos on your calendar

We have to direct our time we can’t let our disorganization and procrastination derail us. The more intentional we become in our work day, the more sales we make.

Maximizing Your Time

Don’t let fruitless work fill your day. Instead, surround yourself with high-payoff people and do high-payoff activities. Meetings, calls, customer contacts, and prospect interactions all lead to sales. So spend your time doing those things — not the little stuff. It also pays off to figure out your process.

Related: How to Close More Deals by Mapping Your Sales Process

These activities fit into two categories — strategic and tactical. Give time to each. There can be high-payoff tactical activities and high-payoff strategic activities. There can also be low-payoff strategic and tactical activities. The goal is to be both strategic and tactical in your choice of high-payoff activities.

I do this with my phone calls — for every two customers I call, I call one prospect. Then I hold myself accountable to reaching out to new people and maintaining current relationships — both with high payoffs.

Be strategic about who is refilling your funnel and tactical about how you approach your current prospects. You’re only as good as your last sale so focus on the activities that help you to close.

3 Strategies for Unlocking Deals Stuck in the Pipeline

sales strategies for closing a deal

You just made a killer pitch. You demonstrated how your product solves their problems, then left them with action steps – and expected an answer within days.

But that was over a month ago, and you still haven’t heard anything back. So what’s the trouble? You thought you were on track to seal the deal, but it hasn’t happened. The deal is officially stuck in the pipeline.

It’s easy for a sale to hit a snag that puts it in limbo. These strategies offer the key to unlocking those deals so you can move them to the next level.

1. Teach Your Prospect How to Sell to Their Manager

The biggest reason a sale goes on hold is because you’re not talking to the real decision maker. Maybe you’ve been dealing with the purchaser and they have to get approval from the supervisor. In those circumstances, teach your prospect how to sell your service to the boss.

Start by equipping them with the ammunition to close the sale. Explain the ROI your product carries. How will it make or save the organization money? When they go to their higher-up for a $5,000 check, they need to explain how this investment helps the organization financially. Put the return on investment in a quote, and then coach the person on the talking points.

Continue with conversations about the benefits of the service. In fact, work through product material together. Teach the prospect how this changes their organization. Essentially, you become their sales manager for the deal.

Related: 3 Common Sales Objections and How To Overcome Them

For example, if you’re pitching a website overhaul, your conversation may go something like this:

“It will cost $5,000 for a website redesign. At its core, this new improved website will increase your daily sales conversion rate. For those $5,000, you should be able to get a net return of $15,000.”

Those are numbers your contact can take to their boss.

Quotes give them something tangible. You don’t want their pitch to be, “We want a new website because it’s cool.” Instead, you want them to say something along the lines of, “We want to convert more customers through our website.” The proposal isn’t about features but about the benefits of the service.

When you’re not able to get a sales meeting with the right person, you have to help your contact make the sale.

2. Text Prospects With Direct Questions

If you shake a tree, something is going to fall out. By sending direct questions via text message, you shake the figurative tree of prospects. You’ll either move on to the next client, or they’ll move on to the next phase. Either way, you get results.

If you sent a proposal months ago and the prospect never responded, it’s time for a text. You may send a message that says, “Hey, my boss is hounding me and wants to know where you are in their proposal? How soon can we get started?” If the response is, “Sorry, you’re out of our league in price,” you just moved to the negotiation phase. Price is the obstacle. Now you can start figuring out the dollar amount for that customer to say yes.

Related: 4 Negotiation Skills You Need to Close More Deals

You won’t get that type of response with an email. Email is impersonal and easily ignored. But we all read our text messages and usually respond within five minutes, making it a great tool to move clients down the line.

3. Insert an Expiration Date

Create a deadline on your offer to promote action. Products and services cure pain points. But if you’re scratching an itch that isn’t that bothersome, you need another motivator. The motivation may be a lower price, special training, or extra features. Put those perks on a timeline to keep the deal moving.

Then, find a reason to justify the deadline. Maybe you say, “The proposal is good until the last day of March. March is a slow month for us, but we get really busy in April.” By setting an end date, you’ve manufactured a reason for them to make a decision. Then, you can rule them out or close the deal.

No one wants a deal that sits in limbo indefinitely.

FreeEbook

Sales Team Strategies to Start the New Year Off Right

Business man climbing up on hand drawn graphs concept

Is this the year you’ve resolved to help your sales team hit the ground running after the holiday break? Have you vowed not to let them get into a slump after reveling in holiday parties, drinking eggnog and spending time with family?

To accomplish these goals and make 2016 a successful year, you need a plan to help your sales team build momentum and a strategy to successfully implement that plan.

Here are some tips for developing a sales team strategy and getting off to a rockin’ sales start in 2015:

  • Don’t make the same mistake twice. Build on what you’ve learned from last year’s sales, especially what didn’t go so well. If you pause to contemplate and write down what didn’t work for your sales team last year, you’ll avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
  • Focus on the things you did right. The strategies that did work are also an important part of your team’s plan. Make a list of what worked, then use that to springboard to even more success in 2015.
  • Applaud your failures. If you went after a niche last year and failed miserably, take that lesson to heart — but don’t be discouraged. It just means you need to hone your sales team’s focus to a different niche. Reward failure like Google does, and you’ll nurture innovation and eventually land on a successful sales tactic or niche.
  • Learn from your best clients. Learn from what worked with your best clients. Evaluate what it took to sign them on and identify their needs. Then, incorporate this audience into your sales team’s 2015 strategies.

FreeEbook

In addition to creating a plan and building momentum, you can also empower your team with some encouraging New Year advice. This is the advice I give sales leaders when their teams need a boost:

  • Remember the 80/20 rule for salespeople. The majority of sales teams find that 80 percent of their business comes from 20 percent of their people. Find ways to get better performance from the other 80 percent of your team.
  • Don’t waste your energy on trying to turn around the bottom 20 percent of your sales team. In my experience, less than 10 percent of these people will actually change their performance as a result of a program. Instead of focusing your efforts on a performance improvement plan, create opportunities for the salesperson to exit the company, or just let him go.
  • Be sensitive to personal issues. Sometimes, a salesperson might underperform due to pressures at home, like a divorce or illness. Assess the salesperson’s history. If they were previously successful, cut them some slack or provide some tools to help them get going again.
  • Be willing to point the finger at yourself; it’s possible that YOU are the problem behind a lagging sales team. If you need to, hire a coach to work with your team and find out the cause behind low sales numbers.

2016 has the potential to be a great year — if you learn from the lessons of 2015. Find out what worked and what didn’t, and give your sales team the strategies it needs to be successful.