The Internet is a double-edged sword. It increases a company’s ability to grow, expand, and connect with potential customers, but responsibilites and sales leads also increase exponentially.
It has always been important to have a solid business plan in place for maximum success, but this is triply important with the nearly infinite potential of Internet sales.
improveit! 360 is a CRM application specifically built for the home repair industry, automatically generating welcome messages for new customers and following up on all potential sales leads. improveit! 360 helps your business make the most of the business opportunities the Internet offers, following up on every lead while removing the drawbacks like wasted time and additional responsibilities.
improveit! 360’s Justin Showers took a moment to tell us about the company, and also shared some tips for contractors and home repair professionals to find potential leads in their own area.
Can you tell us a little bit about improveit! 360? What inspired you to start the company?
improveit! 360 is a business management platform designed to help home pros efficiently and effectively track and manage leads, increase sales, manage projects and report on business outcomes. The system is web-based, with no software to install or upgrade, and with mobile apps that give people remote access to vital information.
Our company was started by a replacement contractor. They needed a system to help them manage their business. They designed it from the ground up with the home improvement industry in mind. Over the years, we migrated their software to the Internet, so you’re able to access it from anywhere.
Who is your main clientele, and how does improveit! 360 meet their specific needs?
We work the best with remodelers and replacement contractors, including many niches within the industry like foundation companies, closet companies, and roofing and gutter companies. We work well with those who generate leads and run appointments and have a need to manage it all in one location.
Our system helps you track and manage every lead until they buy. You’re able to increase appointment set and sit rates. You’ve got powerful reports and dashboards at your fingertips to help you manage marketing, sales, and projects. And you’re able to grow your company by reducing costs and boosting sales.
One of the things that improveit! 360 does is provide effective, fully automated lead communication as well as improved conversions. First of all, what are some reasons someone might want to integrate automated responses? Do you have any advice as far as some ways to convert a lead into a paying customer?
Our system is CRM. That stands for customer relationship management. It’s designed to remind you to follow up with every prospect and customer. And you’re able to automate with e-mail templates and call reminders. If someone fills out a form on your website, our system can send a “Welcome” e-mail providing even more details about your company. You can send an appointment confirmation e-mail after you make a set. Also, there can be appointment reminder e-mails that go out the day of the appointment, ensuring prospects will show up or at least reschedule. Finally, there could be e-mails that go out to past customers to remind them of your other services or to ask for referrals. All these activities – done with little effort – keep your company top-of-mind and your prospect focused on their project.
For home repair professionals, do you have any advice on ways they could look for potential customers who need repairs to their gutters?
It’s important to address the concerns of homeowners in any marketing campaigns. Let them know their foundations are in danger when gutters don’t perform. Their home value is at stake, and gutter maintenance and repair prevents large future expenses. Offer Groupon-type deals to do routine gutter inspections and cleanings; create inserts for coupon mailers; canvass neighborhoods where you’ve done previous work; offer gutter seminars or classes at the local home improvement store; and take advantage of yard signs, truck signs, and “Pardon our Mess” flyers for neighbors while on a job.
Are you aware of ways a business can use social media to find potential customers? Have you or your customers found any network particularly useful? What are some signs they could look for?
Many make the mistake of selling on social media. People use social media to be entertained, to learn, and to communicate. If you can, use social media to demonstrate your expertise. Ask questions related to gutters, share unique problems you’ve found and how you solved them, show funny DIY fails you’ve photographed on the job, give Top 5 lists, and do surveys to get others to communicate with you. Facebook is effective for many of our customers, but they’re also finding value in the image sites like Pinterest and Houzz. You can also use sites like these to send people to your website to “read more about this” using links to a blog post or article you’ve written.
Although it might mean less repeat business, what are some reasons why a professional should seek out the best possible repair solutions for their customers?
When your customers know you’re an expert and they end up happy with your service, they will refer their friends and family to you. They’ll give you testimonials. They’ll act as a reference for you. They might even give you good reviews on the BBB, Yelp, or Angie’s List. That can lead to even more work. And if the homeowner moves, they may need to hire you again.
You wrote a blog post recently about the best times to send marketing e-mails. Could you briefly recap your findings? What are some reasons a business wouldn’t want to bombard their customers?
People are bombarded by e-mails all the time. But e-mail still works really well. So you should be using it as much as possible to close more deals. Because there is so much e-mail out there, studies have found that it’s best to avoid weekends, Mondays, and Fridays. So, mid-week e-mail works best. And people are usually going through all their e-mails in the mornings, so a send near lunch or in the afternoon is most effective. However, your results may vary with the people in your area, so make sure you test, test and test again. You’ll get a better idea of what really works and what doesn’t.
Why should every company, no matter what their size, be striving towards maximum efficiency? How much time and money does a business stand to save by having all their business management tools in one place?
Most companies are started on the fly with no formal processes in place. So everyone creates their own ways to get things done. They write their leads down in a book or on an Excel spreadsheet. They write appointments down on note pads. They put details on white boards and on lead sheets. When you have too many pieces of information floating around in so many places, problems arise. Leads fall through the cracks, appointments get missed, errors occur on orders, and measurements are lost.
With everything in one centralized location, you eliminate wasted time searching for data and fixing problems. You’re able to be more proactive instead of constantly putting out fires. With the right reports, you’ll see issues before they become problems. You end up cutting costs and nurturing more leads until they finally decide to buy with you. So with lower expenditures and more sales, you end up with higher profits.