Scotoma is an opthalmological condition that roughly translates to blind spots. Want a medical definition? “Portions of the retinal field that are non-functional.”

When it comes to evaluating prospects, some home improvement contractors, it seems, have their own blind spots. They view many an honest inquiry as a “bad lead,” that is, as a price shopper, a one-legger, or similar waste of time, whether it's the rep's time or the company's. I see them as prospects who have made the effort to call. They are, at the very least, future buyers, and future buyers can become now buyers with the right sales methodology.

In Their Shoes Business owners or their salespeople miss the fact that for the most part, homeowners are uneducated about what they want and need in home improvement. That's why companies use phone scripts to qualify prospects.

But is that really the best way to determine the seriousness of the prospect and value of the lead? If you were a homeowner considering buying a home improvement project, how much information would you be willing to reveal to a stranger on the phone?

Someone who says on the phone: “We're just shopping for prices right now,” can easily turn into a high interest and high sense of urgency prospect in less than a half hour. What's required is that the salesperson have a winning mental attitude and the proper skills to be able to put themselves in the prospect's shoes and see how that prospect feels. That and a willingness to visit prospects at their homes.

Inspect and Suggest You don't know what you don't know. You need to see the property to qualify the prospect's wants and, more importantly, their needs, of which they are more than likely unaware. Prospects who call contractors on the phone represent a wide range, from urgent now buyers (i.e., the roof is leaking) to future buyers.

Face it, most buyers are not urgent now buyers. In addition, bear in mind that they're long on money, short on time. —Richard Kaller, former roofing company owner, industry consultant and president of Certified Contractors Network, passed away recently. We will run his final column in the next issue.