Michael Morgan, of business consulting firm Morgan Success Group, in Colorado Springs, Colo., is an expert on outrageous marketing. He'll be speaking on that subject on January 21 at the Replacement Contractor Executive Conference in Phoenix.
REPLACEMENT CONTRACTOR: A lot of companies in the home improvement industry spend 10% of revenue or more on lead generation, and yet many are seeing fewer leads. What can they do about that?
MICHAEL MORGAN: Unfortunately, people look at leads as: I have a lead, now I go make a sale at any cost. If other people are competing for the job, I can either make them look bad or cut my price. Actually, leads are doors to other places and more business. In today's market, with fewer leads, maximize your effectiveness by being “outrageously” different. For instance, you just put a new roof on a house, so show it off by catering a party and inviting people in the neighborhood. You must go beyond the sale.
RC: So, simple lead generation is not enough?
MM: No. Leads are just a list. You need to engage in proactive, progressive “memorable” marketing to create your own leads. For instance, schedule an appointment with the homeowner to come out for your free inspection and to clean their windows 90 days after a window sale. Don't make sales, make customers.
RC: What is it that makes that type of marketing effective?
MM: It's effective because it's not the type of service homeowners expect. You're letting people know that you're not just there to install the windows and leave. If you have a lifetime warranty, you should have a lifetime relationship. You set yourself up for repeat and referral business. You'll get all the sales you need.
RC: Say my company has a booth at the local home show, along with about three dozen other home improvement companies. What are some things we could do to get attention?
MM: Have a padded floor for the people with sore feet. Rent some foot massage machines and give away a three-minute foot massage. Create a checklist of what homeowners might be looking for in a home improvement company at a home show and give it away. Set the bar. Don't give away one big prize; give away five or six medium prizes. Do a theme for your booth.
RC: How would you suggest I make my company Web site engage the interest of visitors, or compel them to call?
MM: A good Web site is easy to navigate, and users should find what they're looking for within three clicks. Also, have video testimonials right up front. People aren't reading written testimonials. Create and promote your “noble purpose,” which customers can relate to, such as your company's “green” practices of recycling. Have something on the Web site that visitors can register to win. Give them reasons to stay and reasons to come back.