By Steven Stencil, CTO of Leap
The use of technology to engage customers has grown dramatically in the home services and remodeling industries. By now, your business probably has a website that allows homeowners to view pictures of completed projects and contact you for an estimate. You may even have a Facebook page or a LinkedIn profile. But if you are still providing hand-written estimates during home visits, or if you generate estimates from a word processing template, you are leaving money on the table.
Not a little money, either. Homeowners are primed to continue the trend of investing in home improvements in 2018, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, reaching a four-quarter total of $324 billion by the middle of this year. But your size of that pie won’t grow in step with the market if you’re not leveraging technology to scale your sales process. Here’s why technology-enabled remodelers do better:
Most in-home sales reps can look at a room and calculate square footage in less than a minute, but it probably takes them half-an-hour at the customer’s kitchen table to write the estimate. If there is a change, they will spend more time manually recalculating the pricing, and adjusting the estimate. Digital estimating tools reduce that time by allowing a rep to enter measurements and select product data on-site to generate an estimate in real-time. If changes are made, the digital estimate automatically adjusts accordingly. This increased speed allows sales members to make more in-home visits per day, and reduces the time he or she spends on paperwork and admin.
John Chambers, President of LeafGuard of Indiana has seen a 15% increase in sales over a 7-month period since automating his in-home sale process with the Leap app.
“I was blown away by the application’s integration of estimation tools, multiple financing options, and contract execution – all in real time,” said John
Business owners want to make money on every job, a tough bar to reach if estimates fail to capture the real costs of materials and labor. With manual processes, it’s easier to miscalculate measurements or use outdated pricing for products, materials, and labor – all of which eat away at business profit margins. Time and materials contracts may allow you to make up the difference, but at the expense of customer trust and repeat business.
Standard pricing set in a technology platform and updated across all systems cuts inaccuracies, and gives the customer a sense of confidence in you as a reliable and honest contractor.
In order to hire and retain the best sales reps you must be competitive in the job market. Today’s candidates are way more tech-savvy than their predecessors and expect employers to have modern systems supporting their sales efforts. They’ve used technology in every other area of their lives, and know that without it, they’re less likely to be productive or successful on the job. When given a choice between companies that leverage technology and those that don’t – technology forward companies win every time.
Technology also enables you to standardize your training process in order to bring new hires up-to-speed quickly and keep existing reps current on new initiatives.
The business owner, the sales team, the customer—each person involved in the sales process needs information when they need it. But if you have manual processes, too often the information needed by one person in the process is unintentionally delayed by another.
Technology streamlines communication. Cloud-based, in-home sales software allows sales reps access to the most accurate pricing and product information in real-time. It also lets business owners see the information they need to manage their sales team. What’s more, it integrates with customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, such as MarketSharp or Salesforce, to capture customer interactions and update contacts, reducing duplicate data entry and back office work.
Remodelers and other home services companies know it’s not necessarily how many estimates they write, but how many they win that matters. Ideally those two numbers grow together, but do yours? Few companies with manual sales processes know for sure, because there is no automated system for tracking bids in relation to wins, or observing what drives success so you can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Do you win more at certain times of year? In certain neighborhoods? Do you earn better margins on certain project types? Business owners often think they can answer those questions based on intuition and experience, but the reality is often quite different from what they expected. Automated systems that capture estimates and track wins remove the guess work, so you know really how you’re doing—and what you need to do more.
So, here’s what we know – companies that leverage the benefits of technology will always be one step ahead of those that don’t. Faster estimates lead to more opportunities to close deals. Greater accuracy ensures those projects are profitable. And better communication equals greater efficiency, which allows those profits to land in the pockets of the business owner and the team.
All of those benefits are available to remodelers and other home services companies that adopt a digital in-home sales solution.
Leap is the leading in-home sales software provider for remodelers and other home services companies. The Leap app digitizes the entire in-home sales process including digital estimates, digital contracts, fast-response financing results, CRM data integration and more.