Business appears to be good for most remodeling contractors. I hear that many calls from potential clients are coming in. What happens to you when your company gets so many leads (calls from potential clients) that you feel overwhelmed?

Many remodelers feel that, because someone called their company, the remodeler is obligated to “take care of them.” This caretaker mentality gets in the way of running the business as a business. The only responsibility the remodeler has is to treat the lead respectfully, not necessarily work with that person.

Because the remodeler is overwhelmed, he/she feels there isn’t time available to call the lead. Consequently, the leads pile up, and the remodeler feel even worse.

How to handle this differently? Here’s what to do:

A Fit or Not?

Within 24 hours of the lead coming in, decide whether the lead is a fit. By “fit,” I mean does the potential client have the type(s) of project the company does well? And does the potential client want to let the remodeler be in control? If one or both of these are not the case, you need to free up the lead’s future.

How to do that gracefully? Let them know that your company does only certain types of work well. Or you are booked out to the end of time. Or that you don’t work in that neighborhood.

Provide alternative resources for them to consider. Direct them to your local NARI or NAHB Remodelers chapter. You can also refer them to your favorite lumberyard.

Let them know you want to hear how their project goes. That will make them feel good. Most folks never contact you again but you never know.

Remember: Just because they contacted your company, you have NO obligation to work with them!

Slowing the Internet Lead Flow

What I have heard from my consulting clients and attendees at the Remodelers Advantage Roundtable meetings I have run is that many of their leads are coming from the Internet. That is not a bad thing except for the fact that these leads are not that great.

The best leads often come from past clients and other referral sources. In contrast, the Internet is like the Yellow Pages used to be. The leads often are not appropriate.

How to slow the flow? Most remodelers’ websites have a “Contact Us” feature. Usually all that page asks for is the lead’s name, phone number, and best time to call. Sometimes a remodeler will add a box where the lead can note the type of project he or she is considering.

Instead, try this: Add more questions to your contact us page. Set it up so that you will learn as much as you reasonably can about the lead BEFORE you call them.

Use drop-down menus. For instance, instead of asking “Where do you live?” and then having a box for them to write their answer, have a drop-down menu that contains only those towns where you want to work.

You might be wondering if this will turn off some of the leads. Yes--and that is what you are aiming for!

If the lead can’t be bothered to follow your process when filling out your “Contact Us” page, how would it be to do a project with them?

Finally, don’t feel like you have to serve the needs of everyone who contacts your company. You simply need to treat them respectfully, move forward with the ones who are a fit, and send those that are not on their way.

You will feel better and better every time you do this in a timely way!