Who wants a lump of coal? You know the type of leads that I’m talking about. They’re the ones where the homeowner is just shopping around for help with the tiniest of problems. You’re probably scrambling around, like an owner with his head cut off, and here’s this ring from the phone. Could be a huge replacement job that would bring in gobs of revenue, but no, it’s just your average homeowner looking for someone to get their cat off the roof.
Sounds like a lump of coal when you look at things on the surface, doesn’t it?
The fact is that every call you get is an opportunity. If you can show a homeowner that you’re thorough, honest, and professional - no matter what you’re there to do - you’ll succeed in the end.
Here’s the story of a “lump of coal” lead from my company to illustrate exactly what I mean.
The $15,000 Mouse DroppingIt was a typical day at my company when the phone rang. My call taker extraordinaire, Stephanie, took the call. On the other end was a homeowner we’ll call Don. Don was convinced he had a squirrel in his roof. He thought maybe it had chewed its way in and was scurrying around inside. “Do you guys take care of that?” he asked.
Without missing a beat, Stephanie said, “We can. Let me just get some information and I’ll have our squirrel specialist call you back.” (Might sound funny, but that attitude is a topic for another month!)
I returned Don’s call, and agreed to come out and see if I could find his squirrel. That fact alone made his day because three other companies he’d called either hung up or told him to call pest control. To them, it was a lump of coal.
But I went to Don’s house, and when I pulled up, you could practically see right through his roof. It was an ancient cedar shake roof that had seen better days. In fact, several of the shakes were littering the yard and bushes. After meeting Don and discussing the situation, I headed up to the roof to see if I could find any points of entry for the squirrel and take care of the problem for him.
While I was up there, I noticed the poor condition of the roof but no squirrel entry. I got down and started to inspect the perimeter of the house, and as I went along I collected the cedar shakes that were lying in the bushes. Still no sign of the squirrel.
At this point, I knocked on the door and told Don that I couldn’t see any way for a squirrel to get in but that I would like to go up in his attic and check it out to see what was going on.
“You want to go up in my attic? Wow, that’s very thorough! I didn’t think of that,” he said. After poking around in the attic for a few minutes, I switched gears from squirrel to mouse. I was convinced he had a mouse, but I needed evidence. I went over to the area where he’d heard the noise coming from and started digging. Sure enough, there in the insulation was the proof - mouse droppings.
I brought my prize down to Don to show him what was causing all the ruckus. Don was blown away that I went through all that effort to help him solve the problem. I gave him my recommendation to call a pest company to set some traps, to which he was very thankful for having the mystery solved.
As I was walking out the front door, I casually asked, “Mr. Smith, did you happen to notice the condition of your roof?”
“No,” he replied.
“Have you noticed all the cedar shakes in the front yard and the bushes?” I continued.
“I have a landscape company that does my lawn, so I haven’t noticed anything,” he explained.
Don had no idea that his roof was literally falling down around him. For him, his roof was out of sight and out of mind, and how often do you have homeowners call you who have that same mindset? In this instance, since I had exhibited my thoroughness and professionalism by coming to help him and discovering the mouse droppings, I was in a position as a roofer and as a friend to bring his roof to his attention without looking like a salesman.
After getting Don up on a ladder to check out the condition of the roof, I pointed out some of the danger points such as exposed decking and missing shakes. We agreed to meet again three days later to discuss a replacement roof.
Three days later, Don already had two other bids - one from a neighborhood handyman and one from a big box retailer. I was the highest bid of the three, but I was the one he picked.
Why was that? “With the big box, I didn’t see the value of paying more just because of their name. You’re the only one that agreed to come out and look for what I thought was a squirrel. You’re the only one that looked at my attic. You’re the only one that presented me with all my options. You were the most expensive, but I knew the reasons why,” he explained.
Don’s roof amounted to a $15,000 job, and I owe it all to that mouse.
If a call like that comes into your office today, what is your response? Would you give it a second thought? Every other contractor had said no to Don. Would you say yes to a homeowner with a “squirrel” in the attic?
Remember, every call is an opportunity. After all, you never know when that lump of coal will turn into a diamond of an opportunity.