As leaves begin to turn, homeowners worry more about their gutters. Are they clogged? Leaking? About to fall apart? It’s an ideal time to gear up customer interest and build a new business pipeline. But whether you fill your pipeline of prospects through paid lead programs, canvassing, or ads in mailbox circulars, you need to take the next critical step — converting those leads into solid business.

By helping connect homeowners with home improvement professionals, we think a lot about how roofing professionals grow their business. After all, it’s paying projects you’re after, not just leads. As we look at the data and feedback from our research across the 300,000 homeowners we work with each month, there are three big tips that can help you get the most out of your gutter leads this season.

1. Follow Up

This is as important as getting leads in the first place. The difference between doing “just OK” versus “best-of-breed” at following up can be four times as much business volume. In a recent study we did on leads, we found that out of 1,000 leads provided, those with weak follow up systems closed eight sales, on average, while best-of-breed performers closed 32! If your typical gutter project brings in $3,000 and you paid $24 each for those leads, that can mean the difference between breaking even on revenue and a 400% return on your investment.

To get better at follow up, make sure your team is both prompt and persistent. In terms of promptness, a recent Harvard Business Review study showed that companies were seven times more successful at setting appointments if they respond to an inquiry within one hour compared to those who responded within two hours. Persistence means not giving up easily on any lead. Roofing contractors should make at least six contact attempts for each lead. And while we know that 55% of all leads close within a week, that still leaves 45% that take longer and need nurturing follow up. In fact, 15% of leads close more than 30 days after they’re first created. So, be persistent.

2. Synchronize Communication Channels

Whether your gutter leads come from paid partners or your own teams canvassing, consumers will use a range of means to research as they shop around for contractors. When contractors show that they understand the homeowner’s selection process, it can have a ripple effect of more referrals, brand awareness and organic leads. Using multiple techniques to respond and stay in touch with prospects is an essential strategy. In our most recent semi-annual homeowner survey, we learned that 40% of homeowners preferred communicating with contractors via text, 55% prefer email, and 6% want to communicate via telephone. Since you probably can’t tell which mode is preferred by each lead, use a variety of outreach at different times to engage with prospects.

3. Measure ROI (Return on Investment)

Maybe you’ve already committed this fall’s gutters lead-gen budget, but if you do a good job of measuring now, next year you’ll have a better idea how much to budget, and through which channels should you promote your business. For each lead channel you use, measure how many leads convert, with what gross profit, and compare it to the dollar investment you made for that channel. This will help you find the “sweet spot” that drives the most benefit from your marketing budget.

When the “return” you get in gross profit is greater than the “investment” in leads from a particular channel, it is a good business strategy worth repeating or increasing. Lead sources that don’t demonstrate a positive ROI should be considered for reduction or elimination next year. Make those calculations and save the results at the end of the season to ensure your investments in gutter leads continue to cost less than your project profits.