We’re being bombarded every day with bad news on the economic front. “Stock market sell off could just be beginning.” - CNN, 6/2022 “Recession signs are multiplying.” - Bloomberg, 6/2022. “U.S. inflation at new 40-year high.” - AP News, 6/2022. “The U.S. is hurtling towards a recession.” -Fortune, 6/2022.
It’s no wonder 81% of Americans believe we will be in a recession within the year. Whether we are or not, those fears still leave anxious homeowners a little more reluctant to open their wallets for home improvement projects. In fact, we’ve been hearing from some of our Hatch customers that they’re seeing about 15% fewer leads than they were just a few months ago.
So what should home improvement companies do to not only ride out the storm, but come out even better than they were before?
1. Don’t slow (or stop!) marketing
“If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” – Bill Gates
The normal gut reaction from most small businesses when things get tight is to cut spend wherever possible. In nearly all cases, this is the wrong move. Multiple large studies have shown that companies that continue to invest (or even increase their investment!) in marketing during a downturn are significantly more likely to thrive during and after the recession.
Because your competition IS cutting back their spending. Suddenly your voice is much stronger and louder in the industry compared to when everyone and their aunt was spending. One analysis found that companies who maintained or increased their advertising during a recession “boasted an average sales growth of 275% over the next five years (while) those companies that cut their advertising saw paltry sales growth over the next five years of just 19%.”
So get your name out there. Don’t back away from lead aggregator sites like CraftJack or EverConnect. Be active on social media. Join organizations such as Service Nation or NARI to network and expand your base. Whatever is working for you, stick with it.
2. Handle leads with care
“It’s not about having the right opportunities. It’s about handling the opportunities right.” – Mark Hunter
When the market is hot, it’s not such a big deal when leads fall through the cracks. But when concerns of a recession are rampant, it’s critical that you treat every lead with care. There are a few tips to follow to make sure that every lead is treated as if they are the most important person to ever contact you.
- Be surprisingly responsive. Surprise your prospects with excellent service. The easiest way to get a deal is to simply be the person who responds the fastest and in the most thorough way. Reach out to leads within minutes of any request that shows up. Keep up that communication throughout the full customer lifecycle.
- Talk with leads the way THEY prefer. In order to get the highest response rate, engage contacts through different communication channels. Text is the most popular right now, but people still use calling and emails to communicate so don’t leave contacts on the table by not engaging through their preferred channel! In Hatch, on average 70% of responses are text. We recommend starting with a text message and then following up with a voicemail to make the interaction more personal.
- Keep following up. Even new leads go dark sometimes. People get busy, or they might be talking to multiple businesses at the same time. Continue to follow up with messaging until you hear back from the contact. They submitted information, they were interested in something! This is especially true when using lead aggregators. You are already paying for the lead, make sure to get your money’s worth!
3. Find The Gems Hiding in your CRM
“It Is not your customer's job to remember you. It is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don't have the chance to forget you." – Patricia Fripp
Sitting in your CRM are tons and tons of potential sales. Studies show that former customers or people that were once interested but didn't buy close at much higher rates than new leads. Many of these are leads that went quiet. Others are former customers who may be ready to purchase again. Create groupings of different categories of people and start sending out messages. This can be done automatically with a software like Hatch or manually with a little labor on your side. Let former customer know that you're running a special deal just for them. Or send a limited time offer to leads that you haven't heard from in several months (or years!). Pro tip: Setting a time limit on whatever special you are running is a proven way to improve sales and increase your close rate. Wondering if it's time to change your CRM? Dig a little deeper into that by reading this blog post.
Download our free Speed-to-Lead Playbook to get even ideas on how to make the most of your marketing efforts.