The Truth: Online Roofing Leads

Internet Roofing Leads
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The Truth

I’m going to tell you something that will probably shock you…

A big chunk of my personal income, the way I pay my bills and feed my family, is dependent on me being able to generate online roofing leads for myself and other salespeople.

“But, Mike, I thought you just knocked doors!”

Yes, I still knock doors. I love it. I’ll never stop.

[UPDATE: Since transitioning to a marketing consultant specializing in roofing business development, I now spend more of my time training company owners and salespeople how to generate more business at greater profits.]

Knocking is an extremely valuable skill set if you’re going to make money in roofing sales. I’ve taught salespeople all over America how to make money knocking doors through my articles, audio training, and my master class that comes with private coaching, “Sales Domination System.”

The Lead

The lead must be led. A lead is only as good as the salesperson working it.

Good salespeople work good leads. Bad salespeople work bad leads. By the way, how do you think most of the good salespeople became good? That’s right, by door knocking! Nothing will improve your sales ability faster than investing your own sweat, time, and money in cold calling right after a busy hail storm. You’ll either learn quick or you’ll go hungry.

Too many salespeople look at a lead as the end of the road — either they sign the lead up or they don’t.

If they don’t sign, the salesperson throws the lead away, and goes back to the office or goes home. In their eyes, the lead is dead, doorknob dead. It’s no longer of any use to them. Most of these salespeople won’t even follow-up with their old leads. They just wait around until they’re handed the next lead. This type of salesperson is known as a “Lead Baby.”

The Opportunity

Let’s start with the obvious, roofing leads are expensive!

When I tell you a large chunk of my personal income is generated by roofing leads, I’m telling you the truth, but that doesn’t mean the salespeople I generate leads for are sitting on their hands all day while they wait for me to pop out another fresh lead before they finally start working, knocking, or cold calling.

A Fresh Start

Sometimes your sales pipeline gets old and stagnant. It feels like every door you’ve knocked, and knocked, and knocked again, isn’t interested.

We know every good sales run starts with somebody believing in you. The way you take over a street, or an entire neighborhood, is one house at a time, but it all has to start somewhere. Somebody has to give you a chance. You can’t get anything going if you can’t get anything going, right?

When your sales pipeline has reached a dead-end, a fresh roofing lead can spring you back to life because you’ll be talking to somebody who believed in you enough to pick up the phone and call or fill out an online form to give you their contact details.

When you’re making an investment in a roofing leads program, consider how valuable it would be to occasionally infuse a fresh start into your sales pipeline. I know good roofing companies that have completely fallen apart because they couldn’t get one good thing going. They lost their sales people, their lease, and almost lost their homes because their sales pipeline went dry.

A good roofing lead, even if it is expensive, can save you by giving you a fresh start.

It’s saved me many times because a fresh start can start a new sales pipeline.

A Fresh Area

I’m a fanatic about real-time hail tracking.

Yes, you can buy hail maps that are supposed to tell you where the hail hit. The only problem with those maps is that all of your competition is buying the same, or similar, hail maps. You and all your competitors end up canvassing the same areas because you’re all working off the same intelligence reports…that’s why I prefer to track my own hail storms.

So, let me ask you this serious question, “Would you rather work a neighborhood with 100 other roofers, or work an area where you’re the only one who knows it’s damaged?”

Obviously, you would rather work in a fresh area, right?

Here’s a valuable insight about investing in a private online roofing leads program, prospects are less likely to search the internet for a roofing company if they already have several roofers coming to their door on a regular basis. Obviously, a small percentage will still search online; some people don’t trust any roofer who approaches them first, or maybe they work odd hours or have been out of town.There’s always an exception and some people just prefer to “discover” their own solution online.

There’s always an exception and some people just prefer to “discover” their own solution online.

In the minutes and hours after a major storm, people in the heart of the damage will use the internet to find a roofer. The leads can come fast and furious if you have the budget to handle the search volume. However, we all know it doesn’t take long for the hardest hit areas to get slammed with door knockers. Once they start getting knocked, prospects generally quit searching.

So, exactly what type of prospect uses the internet to find a good roofing company?

I’m glad you asked because they’re my favorite kind of prospects.

Prospects using the internet to search for a roofer fall into three basic categories:

  • They know they have a problem, but they don't trust the people talking to them.
  • They think they have a problem, but they don't know who to contact.
  • They like to do a lot of research.

They know they have a problem, but they don’t trust the people talking to them…

This is my favorite online roofing lead because I know if they picked up the phone to call me, or filled out my lead form, they already trust me more than the guy who contacted them first. When a prospect lands on my website, my landing page, and I’ve built up enough trust and credibility to get them to contact me, without “talking” to them first, I know I’m way ahead of the game.

Some people believe a good online leads program is all about buying the right clicks from Google, Bing, or Facebook. What gets clicked, and especially what doesn’t get clicked, is only a part of the game.

You can’t drop good clicks on an untrained landing page and expect them to magically convert into roofing leads. There’s an art, a scientific psychology, behind websites that ‘speak’ or ‘connect’ with prospects strongly enough to convert them into solid roofing leads. When I take on a new private roofing lead client, I hand-build the converting landing pages because clicks are too expensive to waste on average, even good, websites.

They think they have a problem, but they don’t know who to contact…

Obviously, you’re not standing there, right in front of them, to sell them on why they should contact your company.

The words used to convince the prospect to call or fill out an online form are usually the same words you would use if you were standing in front of them. What is it that’s special about your company? Why would they call you instead of the hundred other roofing companies found online? What do you do better than anybody else?

Sales are all the same. There has to be something about your company that gives the prospect a reason to stop searching.

You’re still selling, you just don’t have the luxury of doing it in-person. You can’t read their body language. Overcoming objections is something you have to do ahead of time because you can’t wait until they raise the next objection. You have to give them a good reason to contact you. If you don’t, they’ll hit the back button and click on somebody else.

They like to do a lot of research…

This is my least favorite online roofing lead.

People that think they have big enough problems to spend all their time researching are likely to spend all your time too.

When you buy shared roofing leads from some of the major lead vendors, they aren’t as discriminating about the type of leads they generate. Maybe they’ve never thought about the different type of prospects. All they know is that a “researching” lead is cheaper and faster to generate, and you’re going to pay the same amount for that lead as you would for a lead that’s more expensive to generate. The less they pay for the lead, the more they make as a company. You get what you pay for, right?

When I talk about prospects who like to do a lot of research, or “researching” leads, I’m talking about prospects who want to get three quotes on their three square shed replacement roof. I’m talking about prospects who don’t have enough money to do the job right so they keep looking. I’m talking about people who are always thinking about it, but never doing it. I’m talking about the impossible engineer types who want you to explain the minutia of every detail about your estimate before deciding to go with somebody else. I’m talking about time wasters.

Sure, you can make money with “researching” leads, but not as much money as you would make working leads from people who have a problem now, and need a solution now.

The War Zone

Twenty years ago, it was a lot easier to generate roofing leads.

You just ponied up the money for a full page ad in the local yellow pages, and your phone would ring with fresh, hot leads.

The internet, Google specifically, has almost killed the phone book. There are a few areas where the phone book is still a good strategy, but Google didn’t become a multi-billion dollar company by mistake. They did it by taking revenue away from the phone book. They made advertising easy to buy. They made it easy to take your money.

Google made it possible for you to have your online advertisement in front of every single person searching for a solution to a problem you know how to solve in five minutes or less.

Imagine somebody in Denver is selling their home, but their roof didn’t pass inspection earlier today, and they don’t know who to call. Unfortunately, they’re supposed to close this weekend because they got transferred to a new location. They need somebody fast.

The prospect grabs their smart phone, or fires up their laptop, and quickly types out, ‘roofing denver colorado’, where they’re presented with a screen that looks something like this (without all the notes on it):

Google PPC for Roofing Leads

Top 3 Paid

In the Western hemisphere, we read our pages from the top-left to the bottom-right.

So the "Top 3 Paid" positions are the most valuable real estate on this page for an advertiser. This is where those prospects who know they have a problem, but don't trust the people their talking to will look for help. It's also the same place where prospects who think they have a problem, but don't know who to contact will look first.

This is extremely expensive real estate for paid search, but it's also where you're likely to find a better percentage of good prospects.

Click prices in the "Top 3 Paid" for this search in Denver, Colorado are going to be at least $25+ per click most of the time. That's not so bad compared to New York City. Click prices in and around Long Island, NY for similar searches can start as high as $40 per click.

Now for the sad news, not every click turns into a lead!

Actually, it's not even close.

Clicks are extremely expensive and most of them are wasted clicks.

- Some of those clicks come from competitors checking out the competition.

- Some of those clicks come from people who don't know exactly what they're looking for, but have decided, you're not it.

- Some of those clicks come from roofers looking for work.

- Some of those clicks will come from product reps trying to push their latest felt paper, or insulated windows, or inviting you to come to their warehouse for another lame product demonstration... but at least they'll serve lunch.

- Some of those clicks come from internet marketing companies who want to convince you to switch over to their company. They've never spent more than a few hundred dollars a day generating roofing leads, but they want you to trust them with all of your marketing dollars.

Finally, some of those clicks will come from qualified prospects...

...some will like what they see when they hit your website enough to call or fill out a form...

...others will hit the back button, forget you ever existed, and go click on somebody else.

The Organic Listing

Have you heard of SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?

I'm sure you have. Organic ranking is supposed to be free, but people pay a lot of money to SEO companies hoping to snag one of these "FREE" listing. Sadly, if they ever do get a high ranking, Google changes the rules and they have to start all over again. You can't build a long-term business on shifting sand.

As you can see from the screen shot above, there's only 1 single organic listing above the fold. That's a listing for the local BBB. There are several more organic listings below the fold, but you have to scroll to get there. By the way, the lower you land on the page, the more likely you are to attract "researching" prospects.

Think you can out-rank the local BBB? Good luck!

Clicks in the "Top 3 Paid" positions might cost $25, $30, up to $50 each or more, but at least you can measure your return on investment. You also know you're going to get guaranteed traffic for the money you spend.

Map Listings

These are good listing to get because they do rank above the fold, and are free.

Map listings can drive traffic to your website or Google+ page. Map listing can also make your phone ring. They are found a little lower on the page, and that means you're more likely to pick up "researching" prospects. Again, the lower you land on the page, the more likely you are to attract a less valuable prospect.

Clickable Map Links

In the top-right corner of the page, you see the clickable map links.

If your business is found in the Map Listing, you're almost guaranteed to have a little icon pinned to this map with your location. Unfortunately, the American reader will scan most pages top-left to bottom-right. These clickable map links are almost invisible to most searchers. Sure, some people will use them first. Then again, some people are strange.

Paid Positions: #4 - #8

If you're buying clicks on Google, but your ad doesn't land in the "Top 3 Paid" positions, you might find your ad over on the right-hand side of the screen - lower on the page, with less visibility, in a place more likely to attract a less valuable prospect. However, clicks in these positions can still be expensive for many of the most valuable searches -- easily $5 to $10 a click. Not every click will be that expensive, but then again, not every click has the potential to be valuable in lead generation. Some clicks are just wasted clicks.

Go ahead, do a few Google searches right now for roofing in your home town...
Type in something like: roofing tulsa, minneapolis roofing contractor, or vegas roofers.

Do you see any of the national lead vendors advertising in Positions #4 - #8 where click prices are cheaper, and prospects are more likely to be researching? Remember, roofing leads are expensive, and good roofing leads are really expensive.

Quality Phone Leads

More and more people are searching with their smart phone.

It used to be that 1 out of every 3 leads was a phone call -- the other two would fill out the online lead form to contact your company. That isn't the case anymore.

In today's connected world, 7-9 out of every 10 leads will come in the form of a phone call. Roofing companies and salespeople who can answer their phone all the time, every time, and on time, have a massive advantage over their competition. When a good prospect calls, not the researching type, they want to talk to somebody right now, right away.

It doesn't take much trust & credibility to sell some of these prospects because they've been prepared in advance to do business with you (and you alone), but if you don't answer your phone, in the first few rings, the prospect might not even wait for the call to go to voice mail. You've lost almost all of your credibility. These hot, fresh prospects, with urgent problems, want to do business with a business that's in business, and has enough business to take care of business... like the business of answering your phone.

In my private roofing leads program, I only accept one contractor per major metropolitan area or expanded rural territory because I specifically target these hot, fresh prospects. If a roofing company can answer their phone, there's no reason to have another contractor in the area because one company should capture most of the available high-quality phone leads.

Quick Conversations

The first time a phone leads calls you, they don't want to have a long conversation.

They want to tell you the problem, ask for your help, give you their name, address, and phone number. What makes these leads so great is how quickly they want to get it all over with -- less than 5 minutes tops, and usually not much more than 1 or 2 minutes on the phone is all they want from you. After that, they just want you to come out and take care of their problem.

Actually, the longer the prospect talks, the more likely they are to be one of those dreaded "researcher" leads. Long conversations on the first phone call rarely lead to good margins.

Quick conversations, with somebody who knows how to answer their phone, is all the prospect wants from you at this point.

Can you answer your phone?

Quality Form Leads

If you're thinking along with me here, you might wonder about the type of person who would fill out a form on your website rather than call you.

You are wondering, aren't you?

They like you enough to fill out their personal contact information (e.g. Name, Email, and Phone), and sometimes even leave a little note about their problem, but they won't pick up the phone and call you? What gives?

First of all, a prospect that fills out a web form is usually an even better prospect than a quick phone call lead. They trust you enough to give you their information without checking to see whether or not you'll answer the phone. That's a good sign, right?

Second, there's often a good reason why they prefer to use a web form. For instance, they're a stay at home mom with a screaming newborn. Phone conversations are uncomfortable. They might be self-conscious of their voice or accent. They communicate well in person, but the phone can be challenging.

Finally, the prospect may be concerned they're contacting you at an inconvenient time for you (e.g. Midnight), but they still need to mark "finding a roofer" off their to-do list before the day ends. It could be that they aren't ready for a phone call, but they want to make sure they get on your list of people to call back.

Maybe they prefer to do everything over the internet. They'll email you their paperwork. You can email back your estimate. They'll sign it and send it back. Don't laugh! It happens all the time.

Form Lead Researchers

Yes, you will occasionally get web form leads from prospects who are researching.

However, if you're willing to invest big money to target the "Top 3 Paid" positions, you're less likely to get researchers in your web form leads. If you're trying to attract business for roofing product upgrades (e.g. Metal Roofing, Solar Shingles, Slate, etc.), you may attract more "researching" leads than average. However, it's more likely to happen with lead vendors who target the lower paid positions or are ranked for a free organic listing further down the page.

Think about this, lead vendors who want to sell several contractors the exact same lead, would prefer to get web form leads from their prospects because it's impossible to transfer live phone call leads to several contractors at the same time. The prospect can only talk to one person at a time. Usually, the first person they talk to has the best chance of landing the business.

It's like Ricky Bobby used to say, "If you ain't first, you're last."

Private Roofing Leads Program

In my short stint with the corporate world, I worked for a Fortune 500 advertising company where I had 50 account managers working under me at one time, managing over 17,000 clients, spending anywhere from $100 bucks a month to well over $10,000 a month. I did all this while maintaining an equity stake in a local roofing company - generating leads, selling on the weekend, and training sales people for the field.

I am the very best I know at generating online roofing leads. If there's somebody else out there better than me, I don't know who they are. If they exist, I would like to meet them because I would beg them, and by begging I mean throw money at them, to teach me what they know about generating quality roofing leads.

I've given you a small glimpse into my marketing mindset, but I save all my best work for my paying clients.

My private roofing leads program is for the best of the best only.

If you're not qualified, don't contact me because you'll be wasting my time and your money.

Are You Qualified?

Listen, if you can't answer your phone, you are NOT qualified to work with me.

I'm not going to have you pay me $1,000 to setup a new campaign, with no less than $500 a month to manage it, while you're also paying for all the clicks if you aren't going to answer your phone. If you can't answer your phone all the time, every time, and on time, you shouldn't be investing in anybody's real-time lead program.

If you can't convert an interested prospect into an appointment, you are NOT qualified to work with me.

It doesn't take much to let an interested prospect tell you what they want while you grab their contact information, but some people can't set a simple appointment. Roofing leads are too valuable to fumble them away using an inexperienced appointment setter.

Finally, if you don't have a closer on your team, you are NOT qualified to work with me. You can answer the phone every time, and set the appointment perfectly, but if you can't close a high percentage of prospects, the kind who contact you first, you're not going to be able to afford to stay in my private roofing leads program.

When you invest your money, it has to come back with friends attached. Otherwise, it's better to keep your money in your pocket where it's safe.

If you can convince yourself that you're qualified to work with me, you'll figure out a way to contact me. You'll need cash money up-front and enough money in the bank to sustain all the click costs while your fresh leads help fill up your pipeline so you can get a fresh start or a fresh area to jump start your door knocking.

Peace,
Mike

P.S. If you're not ready, you know you're not qualified, to jump into my private roofing leads program, you might want to do some "research" and join my roofing leads newsletter. It's completely free and it will give you a goal to shoot for when you're ready to get serious -- remember, all territory is first come, first served. Subscribe here.

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About The Author

Mike Coday

Mike Coday is a retired youth pastor turned serial entrepreneur, roofing marketing consultant, author, speaker, sales trainer, and sentimental family man.

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2 Comments

  • joe

    Reply Reply June 30, 2015

    Nice service Mike. Let me know your contractor in the hoosier state. Nice post. Joe

    • Mike Coday

      Reply Reply June 30, 2015

      Hey Joe,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’ll contact you privately by email because I have a confidentiality agreement with my clients. I can not reveal their names publicly.

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