I get asked about Telemarketing for hail damage leads quite a bit.
Before I get into the pro’s and con’s of roofing phone leads, I want to very clearly say, “the absolute best way to sell new roofs is still the old-fashioned way… door to door, eyeball to eyeball, belly to belly.” I’m also a huge fan of exclusive roofing leads generated from a private, branded, internet marketing campaign.
With that said, we all know there are other ways to generate hail damage leads other than knocking on doors. Telemarketing for storm damage leads is an option worth exploring because the leads can be better qualified and more exclusive.
Telemarketing is an industry I’m comfortable with because I worked the phones myself as a telemarketer, ran a phone sales team for a few years, and have hired and fired my fair share of telemarketers.
Before you jump into how to get qualified, exclusive telemarketing roofing leads, there’s a few things you should consider…
Heavy Telemarketing Fines & Penalties
As you already know, the FTC oversees the Do Not Call list (DNC). A lot of people are already on the list. If you call somebody to generate storm damage leads who is on the DNC, and they file a complaint against you, you could be looking at a fine of up to $11k plus face additional fines and penalties from your State’s Attorney General. The cost to buy roofing leads is never cheap, but it gets a lot more expensive if you get fined.
You might be thinking, “I need roofing leads, but I need to save money, too.” If you buy your own list of phone leads from a broker, you’ll want to make sure your list has been “scrubbed” against the DNC. Additionally, you’ll need to register for your own Subscription Account Number (SAN) from the FTC and then track your own list of “Do Not Call” requests.
Scrub The Scrubbed Phone Leads
It is always a good idea to scrub the “scrubbed” phone leads list you purchased from your list broker, and then keep your own database of people who have asked you not to call, too. Ultimately, you are responsible for honoring “do not call” requests.
You cannot place the blame for accidentally calling people on the DNC on your secretary, independent contractor, or telemarketing firm because they are acting on your behalf… and the FTC or Attorney General could come after you if they believe you are liable.
I’m not saying you can’t do roofing telemarketing leads, I’m just telling you to be very careful, keep good records, and have extremely good manners if you’re going to be calling people at home these days. A little common sense goes a long way, but it just takes ONE person complaining to cause you a lot of pain.
Scrub your phone leads before you call them and keep your list clean by honoring all requests to be removed.
Roofing Phone Leads Aren’t Cheap
Maybe you want to hire an outside telemarketing firm to handle all of the FTC, DNC, Scrubbing and Database tracking for you.
Professionals will have better roofing leads software and can provide a more valuable service, but it’s going to cost more money to handle the hassle of tracking everything for you. Anything worth anything is always going to cost more money, right? There’s no such thing as free roofing leads. Everything valuable costs good money.
You might be good at selling roofing leads, but they’re good at telemarketing roofing leads and setting the appointments so you can walk right in and close instead of investing your time out canvassing for roofing leads.
The best telemarketers will want to work on a guaranteed price per lead or price per appointment basis. Prices on roofing job leads start as low as $35 and go all the way up over $100 per appointment. Do the math. Qualified storm leads aren’t cheap. When you buy roofing leads, what you pay for is usually what you get.
Most of the good telemarketers will want you to pay a deposit. You’ll pre-buy a block of leads or appointments. They do this because they’ve been burned too many times by contractors who decided not to pay after they’ve already put in the work. Once you develop a relationship, you may be able to work out on better terms, but expect to pay up-front when you get started.
A Lead Is Just A Lead
Sometimes the contractor is justified in not paying, but usually they just aren’t very good at sales. Good telemarketers offer qualified roofing leads. Qualified just means they’ll replace any and all bogus appointments, but they can’t replace the leads if it’s because you’re no good at selling the leads.
If you can’t sell, it doesn’t matter how many times they replace the lead, you still can’t sell.
If you expect to show up with the prospect holding their pen in one hand and their first check in the other hand, you can’t afford to hire a good roofing leads telemarketer. That’s not the way telemarketing leads work. They get you to the door, sometimes in the door, but you have to do the selling and the closing.
Good telemarketers want to work with good roofing sales people. The lead will only ever be as good as the salesperson selling it.
If you can sell their lead or appointment, they know you’ll come back and buy another block from them. Bad salespeople just whine and complain.
A lead is just a lead. The telemarketer talks to a lot of people to find one person who will let you come out and talk to them about their roof. All they are going to do is get your foot in the door… the rest is up to you.
When Roofing Leads Telemarketing Works Best
Telemarketers want to get paid per appointment, not on a performance basis (e.g. per lead sold, per sit, etc.) unless the salesperson can really perform.
As you might imagine, telemarketing works best when it’s easiest to get an appointment…
The first few weeks after a storm are the best for roofing leads because telemarketers get paid per appointment. Good telemarketers can can work a good storm through the first few months and make consistent money. After those first 6-8 weeks, it becomes increasingly more difficult for the telemarketer to get you in the front door (and the leads become increasingly more suspect).
These prospects have every Tom, Dick, and Harry knocking on their door after the first 4-6 weeks of a storm; they don’t need to talk to a telemarketer to get a free roof inspection. They could literally stick their head out their front door and yell for a roofer to give them a free estimate.
Save Up Your Money
Good telemarketers are like mercenaries…
…they like working for the guy with the money to pay them in advance, pay them quick, and pay them again…and again…and again…and again…and again.
3 Rules for Hiring a Good Roofing Telemarketer
- Pay Them In Advance
- Pay Them Quick
- Pay Them Again
If you want to make sure you get the most of a good roofing telemarketer, save up a bunch of cash so you can lock them down during those critical first 4-6 weeks after a storm.
You’re going to need a lot of money!
If you can’t afford to pay in advance, they’ll go find somebody else because you’ll probably break rules #2 and #3, too (#2 Pay Them Quick & #3 Pay Them Again).
Regardless of the price you offer to pay them when you get the money, it’s going to cost them money to work for you if you can’t pay in advance because they need cash flow to generate leads.
* A word of caution, just because a contractor is throwing a wad of cash at their telemarketer doesn’t mean the telemarketer is only working for one contractor.
You want to throw an obscene amount of money at them so you’ll get as much of their undivided attention as possible in the early weeks after a storm. Anything less than obscene and you’re losing profit because you will not be their primary focus.
If all you can afford is a little bit, you’re going to get a little bit in return. They’ll give you low priority and probably assign their most average telemarketers to call for your roofing leads.
A good telemarketer will do a little pre-selling when they set your appointment. They know you’re ultimately responsible for their paycheck over the next several weeks. An average telemarketer is working for “the man.” They’re not thinking as much about helping you be successful as they are thinking about how soon they can jump off the phones for the day.
A Few Last Thoughts
Telemarketing will reach some people that door knocking and canvassing never will, but usually if a guy will answer his phone to anybody and everybody, they’ll also answer their door to those same people. That means you’ll often get prospects who have talked to a lot of people about their roof. Those are fun, right?
You’re not going to be able to focus your energy in one specific area. Even if you give a good roofing telemarketer a tight area where you want to work, they’ll blow through every single name and number on that list in a day or two.
You’ll be fortunate to get a few appointments in the area you most want to work. There’s only so many people who are still not listed with the DNC. After those people are called, you’ll have to expand your territory if you want your residential roofing leads to keep coming. You’ll have to give them a larger area to call if you want more leads.
If you’re unwilling to expand your territory, you’ve just broken Rule #3 (Pay Them Again). They’re done with you because the money is easier for them if they’ll work with somebody else who will honor all 3 rules. At best, your limited campaign may get demoted to their average, or worst, telemarketer to re-call a few more times. Trust me, you don’t want to work with average telemarketers.
Telemarketing at it’s very best can be a quality lead supplement best implemented in the early, early stages of a storm to help support your door-to-door canvassing and other long-term marketing efforts. Telemarketing is a quick hit if you have the money to hit it quick.
My Best Telemarketing Advice
My best advice is to use it with extreme caution with telemarketing. If you can pay the price, do it right or don’t do it at all.
The price of a good roofing telemarketing leads program can be far less than what it will cost you. You’ll get your foot in the door quickly so you can start selling off your yard signs and referrals.
If you’re going to sell a lot of roofs, it won’t be because you hired a good telemarketer. You may sell a lot because you used phone leads to jump-start your sales, but the bulk of your customers will still come from your other canvassing, marketing, and referral systems.
I’m sure there’s an exception to these general rules somewhere. There’s always exceptions… For example, I’m ugly and my wife is pretty.
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