Save Time: Managing and Updating Leads

Save Time: Managing and Updating Customers

Managing and updating leads is an important part of both the sales and survey journey. Following up with leads can help to increase sales and keeping your customers updated on the progress of their survey helps keep their mind at ease. A smooth customer journey helps to generate those 5 star reviews. In order to properly manage your leads and customers you need to have a system in place. Spreadsheets are fine whilst the number of tasks to track are low. But very quickly it becomes difficult to track information and to keep it accurate and up to date. If not careful you can end up with the same issues faced with Covid tracking – large amounts of data lost or not updated on time.

Manual customer management

Human error causes a number of problems. As hard as we may try, mistakes get made and tasks get missed. Working in spreadsheets requires a lot of copying and pasting or typing the customer details into trackers yourself. This in itself can result in errors.

The next issue is being able to clearly see when various tasks are required. Spreadsheets do not provide a provision to set reminders for different tasks. Glancing over each column, it is easy to miss a task that needs to be done today.

Several tasks that will need doing just require a basic update. For example, confirming an inspection date or that you visited the property. Using a specialised CRM you can automate certain tasks to provide customers relevant updates at the click of a button. A customer isn’t interested in how the information is sent to them, but in the information itself.

Upgrading your spreadsheet tracker:

There are a number of benefits to upgrading your spreadsheet tracker to a CRM. From a customer service perspective, each customer is more likely to get a consistently good service. Prompts can be sent to remind you to update customers for certain tasks so they don’t get missed (reminders that a spreadsheet can’t send you). This ensures that every customer gets their updates on time and are not missed as your scroll through your columns.

Many tasks throughout the survey process can be automated to help you carry them out more efficiently giving you time back to actually speak to customers. You add most value when you are speaking directly to customers or surveying. You don’t add value by processing payments, terms or writing basic update emails.

CRMs can provide you an overview for each customer – their search history, previous jobs, notes related to previous conversations, links to terms documents and more. You can also view this information wherever you are on any device. No need to check that your latest excel document is up to date and not yet to be saved on someone’s desktop in the office. This makes it easier to work across teams and remotely with all your data to hand.

Summary

Spreadsheets are useful for managing small scale amounts of data. But as you scale up your work load they become much harder to keep accurate, up-to-date and on top of. Spreadsheets offer fewer benefits than a CRM from automating basic processes, setting reminders and having a clear overview of customer service notes.

They also lack the ability to share specific data between team members or somewhere for customers to login to track their quote and service history.

CRMs provide a much better solution for the long-term, for accuracy, for customer service and for audits.


Save Time: Quick and accurate terms of engagement

Save Time: Terms of engagement

Terms are important. Your customer needs to be clear about what you are going to provide as part of your service (and what you are not). Setting the right expectations at the start leads to better outcomes when the report is provided. 

But submitting personalised terms for every survey takes time.

Time to copy and paste the data into every field.

Time to check it is right.

Time to follow up.

Going electronic – how it works

Terms documents can be set up with tags that enable your terms documents to be prefilled with survey. This could mean prefilling names, addresses, quote values, dates and more in the click of a button.

It can also allow you to create areas for you or your customer to add specific notes relevant to the job being carried out so that your terms are fully personalised and sent within a couple of clicks.

There are two benefits to doing this:

85% average increase in productivity – you aren’t spending time manually filling in documents

80% average error reduction – the data is entered exactly as it is saved in the system. No errors added when manually entering data

Other benefits:

Terms are quick to submit (even when you are out on site from your phone) reducing delays in the booking process.

They are easy for the customer to sign as well – no need to print, sign and photo (and no emails lost in spam folders due to attachments).

Being easy they are also faster – you can send them easily, your customer can sign them quickly. The easier a task is to do, the less it gets put off by a client. This reduces delays and the need to chase customers for signed terms.

An easier booking process leads to an increased conversion rate on sales by removing obstacles that can put some customers off.

Summary

E-terms can make life easier for you and your customer helping to reduce the time needed to send and sign documents as well as reducing errors in any documents sent. An easier process means a smoother customer experience and ultimately helps to increase sales conversions (by removing obstacles in the booking process). A great customer journey leads to better reviews encouraging more customers to go ahead.

Understanding how simple your customer journey is at every touch point helps to make your customers’ (and therefore your own life) easier. Every small aspect of the journey that requires a bit more effort from your customer results in a small frustration at each stage that doesn’t need to be there.


Save Time: Processing Payments

Save Time: Processing Payments – Online v BACS

There is no right or wrong answer when choosing payment options. But it is important to consider the wider impact of both options and not just how they directly affect you. BACS payments are free but are slower to process (for you and your customer). Online payments are easier for most customers to process and can help increase sales by removing what they see as an obstacle. For some customers though BACS may be preferable. Until you offer both you won’t know what your customers generally prefer. 

The Pros and Cons of BACS

BACS payments are free for you to receive and these days usually appear within your account within 2 hours of the transfer (this can take longer to show in Business Accounts out of working hours).

Where the payment process is slowed down is having to manually send customers your bank details and having to check if payment has been received or chase-up. Invoices must also be manually created to send to clients. Your time (or your teams time) spent on this admin has a value.

There is also the risk of lost business. Some customers find BACS payment frustrating. Sat in front of the TV on a mobile banking app and having to switch between the email app and the banking app to check they are entering the details correctly can be a pain. With the added risk that if they get one digit wrong and they’ve lost their money to someone else. Anything that feels like an obstacle to a customer can reduce sales conversions. If another surveyor comes along with a path that feels easier to follow they may well use them.

Of course, some customers may prefer BACS so it can be beneficial to offer both options.

The Pros and Cons of Online Payments

Online payments can encourage customers to pay much faster. Many consumers now have card details saved on their phone. They click through to the payment page, click to add saved card details and the payment is made. You’ll also be alerted to having received a new payment. Most (not all) online payment merchants can feed payment information straight into your accounting software to create invoices automatically.

But with online payments there is a higher cost – between 0.75% and 2.9% per transaction depending on who you use. Whilst the cash lands in your online payment merchant account straight away, it can take a few days to be paid out to your bank account.

Here you need to decide the opportunity cost of your time and how much card fees will equate to depending on the price of your survey.

Summary

There is no right or wrong answer but it is important to consider the opportunity cost of your time as well as the potential to lose sales where customers get distracted from making payments.

Regardless of your choice, Survey Booker can automate the payment request (along with terms), provide details of how to pay you and feed sales information into most accounting software via our Zapier API to automatically create an invoice for each payment received.

This helps make BACS payments almost as simple for you to process as online payments. You just need to check a payment was received to prevent delays in providing customers updates.


Save Time: Providing Quotes and Respond Faster to Enquiries

Save Time: Providing Quotes and Respond Faster to Enquiries

We’ve said it a lot but we’ll say it again… speed of response is pretty much the most important factor in converting a lead. There are numerous studies to back this up. In our own study nearly 10% of surveyors responded to leads within 5 minutes with around 46% responding within an hour. Any longer and you might as well not waste your time getting in touch. 

How to save time responding to leads

Have a template response for each survey type

Writing a bespoke response to every single Home Survey enquiry doesn’t make sense. Not only does it require time to type out a new email every single time you respond to an enquiry, but you risk missing out certain key points each time. You then have to proof read the email before sending it off. 

The only information that needs to change each time is the actual quote you are providing depending on the property, customer requirements, survey level etc. 

A template ensures you provide all the key points every time you respond whilst saving time on typing and proofreading by only having to update the quote amount and property address. 

 

Test different email templates for responses

The other benefit of sending a fixed template is you can measure its success rate – the number of conversions (alongside any phone calls) that you make. 

You can then make adjustments over time and measure their success. For example, you could change the order of the content, make certain points bold or bigger or add in other content. You can test each change for a period and see what impact that has on your conversion rates until you reach an optimum template. 

If you write a different response each time you have no way to measure the success of your email response on conversion rates. That email response factors into your conversion rate in the sales process and often will be your first interaction with your potential customer. 

Improve your conversion rate and you have to respond to fewer leads to achieve the desired number of instructions you can handle. 

Manually submitting quotes where they could be automated

Many surveyors have a fee scale they work to in order to help gauge the fee level they feel is fair for the value they offer. But it also helps to more quickly establish the right ballpark for the quote to be provided. 

If you have a fee scale, can you submit your quote or estimate automatically? Survey Booker can help you capture the customers enquiry details and provide an instant quote or estimate for the customer to review along with your welcome email template outlining all the key information the customer needs to know about your service. Alternatively, you can collect their details, provide instant details about your service and submit your bespoke quote after you have reviewed the details. 

 

There are two benefits here:

  1. Save time – by automating the provision of your quote/estimate and your welcome email you can focus on other tasks such as calling customers to discuss your services or carrying out surveys
  2. Improved response times – if you’re busy, out on site or having down time (not all enquiries are during office hours), you can be providing an immediate response to customers, buying you time to follow up with them later when you are available.

Automation doesn’t mean being impersonal. The content sent to customers can still be personalised and the time saved can be used to follow up with the customer when you are free to have that all important pre-instruction conversation. 

By adding in the best times to contact you in your email template you can also make it easier for customers to contact you for further information saving the frustrations of phone call tennis. 


Grow Sales: Remove Obstacles and Delays in the process

Grow Sales: Remove Obstacles and Delays in the process

What is one of the biggest reasons for losing leads or failing to clinch a sale? 

Obstacles and delays

Every time your customer has to work a bit harder to progress through the sales funnel, you increase the chance that they walk away. Have you considered how easy your customer journey is from enquiry through to instruction at every time of day?

Initial enquiry

Let’s say I get to your website in the day. I call you, your lines are busy. Or I get to your website out of office hours. How easy is it for me to make my initial enquiry and how long do I have to wait to hear back?

Making it easy to enquire is an important factor in increasing the number of initial enquiries that you receive. Different customers have different preferences on contacting a company. Do you offer:

  • Email
  • Contact form
  • Phone number
  • Live chat
  • Instant quote

Each customer has a different preference over how they prefer to make contact. The more options you can provide, the more people you will encourage to make that enquiry. 

Instructing you

How easy is it for your customer to sign terms? Do they have to download a pdf, print it, sign and scan back in. Or can they sign electronically? The more difficult this is, the more it gets put off and the greater amount of time a competitor has to discuss their service and how easy it is to go ahead. Remember the customer isn’t yours until the terms and signed and payment is made so don’t add unnecessary delays. 

This is the same for payment – do customers have to make a BACS payment? Yes it is slightly cheaper to process and, of course, some customers prefer this method. But it offers less safety and peace of mind to your consumer and is much harder to complete via a phone. Switching between an email with bank details and the mobile banking app can be frustrating. Then comes the security check on the card reader. 

Or customers can go to an online payment link, enter saved card details in a click and payment is done. 

When you go to a supermarket, you expect to pay by card. Not to have to go to a cash machine or make a bank transfer. Making it easier to pay (and instruct) removes obstacles and helps to speed up the booking process, reduces the need to chase and reduces the amount of time another surveyor has the opportunity to persuade a customer to book with them. 

The online card processing cost (fees range from 0.75% to 2.9%) can be offset by the time otherwise wasted checking a payment has come in and updating accounts. Online card payments provide an instant alert and payments can be fed along with customer data into accounting software automatically creating the invoice for you without lifting a finger. The question becomes how much do you value all of the time spent on checking payments, creating invoices and sending emails when you could be doing other things.  

View card payment costs as an investment in encouraging more bookings and not just as a cost that doesn’t exist with BACS. 

There are other factors in the full customer journey to consider that affect your final review. But considerations around how easy it is for a customer to enquire (and how quickly you then respond) and how easy it is for a customer to instruct (sign terms and make payment) will affect your overall conversion rate. 

Summary

Investing in some simple technology can make a big difference to your conversion rates and provide you more sales and better reviews. Focus on what reduces obstacles in your booking process and how that investment can save you time to focus on customer conversations and surveys.


Grow Sales: Following Up with Leads

Grow sales: Following up with leads

We love a statistic but this one makes you stop and think…

For every $92 spent on generating leads, only $1 is spent converting it (HostingFacts.com)

There are two ways you might generate leads. Firstly, paying to generate them. This could be Pay per Click adverts on Google, social media adverts or lead generation sites. Another lead source is referrals from partnerships with local businesses.

In the first method, the cost of generating leads is more clear. For each click there is a direct cost. Here you can see how much you are investing into generating work. In the latter, it is less tangible – the leads are passed to you and there is no cost for the introduction (perhaps there is a referral fee later on depending on your agreement). That relationship takes time to build. There is a cost associated with those leads of the time spent building and maintaining the relationship. But assuming you can’t put a value on it, we could associate the cost to buy that lead if the relationship didn’t exist.

 

What is your response process?

You’ve invested money into generating enquiries. How do you respond? Nearly 10% of surveyors in our recent study responded within 5 minutes and around 46% within an hour. 

Do you take the time to respond straight away? Or have you invested in an admin time or automated initial response to buy time? 

 

The process should look like this:

Part 1: You must respond in a timely manner or you are risking losing the lead straight away.

Part 2: Follow up. How many of your leads do you follow up with to encourage them to go ahead? 

 

Ignoring a lead after the first response risks losing out on opportunities. Not all customers are ready to go ahead straight away. Have you invested in nurturing your leads or are you guilty of generating leads and not investing in converting them?

In our recent study, fewer than 1% of surveyors follow up with a lead after the first contact. This both confirms the statistic at the start of this article and offers an opportunity for those surveyors who decide to make more of their enquiries.

 

Survey Booker has automated lead nurture built in following up with each lead 3 times after they search to help you stay in a customers mind until they are ready to commit. Speak to the team today to learn more about following up with your leads without lifting a finger.


Grow Sales: Using Reviews to Grow Your Sales

When you last bought an important product like a fridge or camera, how important were the reviews to you? Did you buy the product with lots of positive reviews or the one with none? We all want the social confirmation that something is safe to go ahead with. Help your customer trust you’ll provide value and give them that extra reason to go ahead. Positive reviews about your service can help you increase your sales. Here’s some stats to back that up:

  • 93% of people say online reviews impact their buying decisions (Podium)
  • 91% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (Bright Local)
  • Displaying reviews can increase conversion rates by 270% (Spiegel)

 

Why? 

A customer will use a residential surveyor once every 21 years on average – that’s the typical length of time someone stays in their home before they move. As customers don’t deal regularly with surveyors (or others in the home buying process) and it’s likely been a long time since any friends or family have, it is left to reviews to give people an insight into who are the good companies in the area and what they can expect from you. 

 

Collecting reviews

This is something to think about properly before rushing straight to the first review site. There are many places you can collect reviews:

  • On your own website
  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Review sites like Trustpilot, Feefo etc
  • Lead generation sites
  • Survey Booker

Each have their merits. You need to consider what your business plan is for the long term. Which service will most likely be with you throughout your whole time as a business? And can you easily display these on your site? 

 

Why does choosing where to collect reviews matter?

As your business evolves you want your hard-earned reviews to stay with you. Move on from a review site and you can still show those reviews. But they offer less value over time. Why?

A review must show not only the rating but also the date when it was left. Potential customers place more value on recent reviews. It shows you are doing a good job right now. Reviews over a month old could potentially hint you aren’t satisfying people as much as you used to. Of course, a large number of older reviews help back up newer ones and show you consistently please your customers. Sporadic reviews hint at a lack of work or a lack of happy customers you’ve asked to leave one.

 

Take time to request reviews

Follow up with your customer a few days or a week after they get their report. Is there anything they still need help understanding or are they happy with what they should do next?

Once you’ve done everything to make sure they are happy, take the opportunity to request a review and send them a direct link to where they should leave it straight away. 

 

Display reviews

Make sure you prominently display your reviews on your site and your social media. Showing those 5* reviews helps you to show your value when you provide your quote. Make it easy for customers to see you will make them happy and you are a safe bet to take. 

 

Summary

Consider the best review site for the long term.

Collect reviews regularly to show your recent customers have had a good experience.

Display reviews prominently on your site and in emails to clients.

We can help you follow up with customers after they’ve had their report asking them to leave a review. 


Grow Sales: Using Data to Grow Your Sales

Grow Sales: Using Data to Grow Your Sales

In order to grow your sales and generate the best return on investment (ROI) you need to be able to review all the data around your sales processes. Do you know where each of your leads comes from and how many leads convert from each of those lead sources? Do you know how long your response times are? 

We are going to look at how you can capture this data and look at the questions you need to ask to come to the right conclusions – what is your worst performing lead source could become your most effective with some tweaks. Equally your worst lead source by volume could be your best lead source by average fee achieved. 

 

Capturing Data

When you are making decisions on where you should invest your marketing spend or time you need to know which lead sources are working most effectively for you. The data you need first is: 

  • The number of leads from each lead source
  • The number of instructions from each lead source
  • The conversion rate from each lead source (instructions / total leads from lead source)*100
  • The cost of acquiring these leads

It is impossible to make effective decisions without data. We are emotional beings and swayed by our own personal preferences. We recall information that supports our beliefs – this is called a confirmation bias

 

Surprisingly the stats can often show a different story to the narrative we created for ourselves. 

For example, a baker loves eating blueberry muffins in the afternoon and feels like they sell a lot of them because others must think the same as them. So, they make sure they have lots of blueberry muffins ready. If they’d checked the sales data they’d realise they actually sell lots of cookies and very few muffins. The result – wasted muffins and missed cookie sales.  

 

Making Use of Data

However, wait one second. Data alone can lead you to false conclusions. Or at least it only shows the facts based on your current processes and how you record your data. You need to make sure you analyse the facts behind why the stats. For example, focusing on just the number of leads received would be a mistake. Diving deeper may show that actually very few of these leads convert. This would make this a poor lead source versus a source that provides half the leads and the same number of jobs. 

But again it is too soon to draw conclusions. Without doing any further research you’d be best off switching your marketing spend or time into the highest converting lead sources. But what if the success of a poorly performing lead source could be dramatically changed? Statistics should create further questions to answer before a firm decision is made. 

Why? We need to understand causation and not just rely on correlation in data. Correlation does not mean two things are related – there could be other factors at play. Drinking tea increases diabetes by 50%, and baldness raises the cardiovascular disease risk up to 70%! Did we forget to mention the amount of sugar put in the tea, or the fact that baldness and old age are related – just like cardiovascular disease risks and old age?

Back to our leads, let’s take a look at a poorly performing but good source of leads. The question is why is it performing badly? You respond to leads from each source in the same way and they are given the same information before they reach you. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Are you competing against different surveyors?
  • Are they lower on price? 
  • Do they have a clearer value proposition? 
  • Do others respond to those leads faster?
  • Are customers visiting that lead source earlier in the home buying process? If so, do you have processes to make contact at a later, more appropriate time?
  • If leads are referrals, are they being sent by referrers who are being told to hit referral targets or are they explaining the process to their customers

 

How often should you review data?

This depends on your business but we’d suggest monthly is appropriate, quarterly could also work. Variations can happen too easily each week that could lead to false decisions (a lead source that might perform well the first week may not be as good as others over the long-term). 

Monthly reporting allows you to see more general trends of how your business is performing and allows you to make better decisions. But it is important not to review data too little. The marketplace is a changing landscape. Some firms will enter, some will leave. Each will look to entice customers in different ways. To stay competitive you need to ensure your proposition – how you show your value to customers – remains clear. 

 

Summary

Make sure you are collecting data – you cannot make informed business decisions without it. But don’t just take data at face value. Ask questions, do further research and then make your decisions. The data is just the starting point to allow you to find answers. 

Once you’ve got the data act on it. Don’t make decisions based on emotions and what you feel but on what the data says. We aren’t saying ignore your gut feelings – these are important. But you must ignore your own preferences on how things are done and focus on what your customers want.


Grow Sales: Lead Management & Response Times

Grow Sales: Lead Management & Response Times

We’ve talked previously about the sales funnel. You add as many people at the top of the funnel as possible. At each stage of the sales process you have a conversion rate where some prospects move forward and some move away. Eventually some convert into sales. 

You will never convert 100% of your leads. Your business cannot be everything to everyone. For example some people care only about price. But others are put off by a cheap price as a sign of poor quality. This is just one example. However, if you are failing to convert customers that are the right customers for your business you have leaks in your sales funnel. 

The quality of lead management and your response times to customers can be one of the biggest causes of leaks in your sales funnel. A poor lead management setup and response time to sales enquiries results in an unnecessary loss of sales – leads that you should have been able to convert.

A sales lead is like gold. Having converted web traffic, a referral relationship or online advert into a lead is a success. But surprisingly despite the difficulty and cost of generating leads, many people don’t place enough value on them. To give that context:

“For every $92 spent on generating traffic and getting customers, only $1 is spent on converting these customers” (Hostingfacts.com)

How do we ensure that we are getting the most out of sales enquiries and ensure we have the highest sales conversion rate we can? There are two core factors – response times and nurturing leads. 

 

Response Times

We’ve said it many times before in our other posts but the single biggest thing you can do to improve your sales conversion rates is respond to customer enquiries faster. 

 

What are the statistics?

Drift did a study where they contacted 433 companies. They measured how long it took each one to respond to the enquiry made. 32 companies (7%) responded within 5 minutes. But at the other end of the spectrum 240 companies (55%) took 5+ days to respond or didn’t respond at all. Approximately 30% responded within a day. 

 

Have you ever measured how long you take to respond to each lead?

 

Why does it matter?

Response times have the biggest impact on your ability to qualify and convert a lead. Here are some stats from Lead Connect:

  • Sales conversions are 391% higher in the first minute
  • If you take longer than 5 Minutes to respond to an enquiry there is an 80% decrease in lead qualification
  • 78% of customers buy from the first responder

There are two key factors that influence this:

Firstly, when the customer makes their enquiry they are generally in a ‘buying mood’. They are ready to deal with getting this task sorted at the time of their enquiry. Therefore, if you can respond straight away you will be able to speak to the customer whilst they are still in the headspace of discussing this topic. As time goes by, your lead is busy dealing with other tasks.

The second factor, if you’re not first then you’re not new. The first surveyor that calls the customer can answer all their questions, explain everything about different survey types, how the process works, the benefits of a survey… Once you’re the second, third, or fourth surveyor to make contact with the customer, it becomes very difficult to say something new. New information provides value, old information doesn’t. 

 

How to respond faster

This is all easy to understand but there are practical issues with responding straight away to a customer. Enquiries may come out of office hours when you are not able to respond or you might be busy out on a survey, driving or writing up a report. So, how do you improve those all important lead times?

Automation to buy time – when a customer makes an enquiry you can automate responses to provide immediate value. If someone enquiries about a Homebuyer Report, you can provide an automatic email response with full details about your service as well as about the best time to call you. This could include a call scheduling link so they can schedule a time to speak to you. Whilst you may not be the first to call you’ve added value straight away and allowed them to arrange a time to speak with you at a time convenient for you both. 

Live chat – if you’re on site it’s not always easy to take a call. You may be able to respond to messages though. It can also be a great tool for anyone in the office. Individuals can generally handle a couple of chats at one time as you can respond to one customer as the others write replies. This cannot be done on a call. Many customers also avoid making a call but equally don’t want to email as it feels slow (we all like instant gratification). 

Teams – a final option is to have an office team dealing with all your enquiries. This may seem like an option only for the larger firms. However, this can be setup even as a one man. There are individuals or companies out there that will manage your survey enquiries on a success basis. They take a percentage for converting leads into sales. This can more than pay for itself by allowing you to convert more leads than you otherwise would have. 

 

Improving Interactions with the Customer

Once you are responding fast enough the two most important factors are tone and knowing your proposition. 

Proposition

You are at a conference for surveyors. A customer walks in and says they would like a survey (it’s an unlikely scenario but go with it). If you were speaking to the customer, what would you say to explain what makes your service different and why you’d provide more value than the others? 

Whilst customers don’t meet you this way, they are speaking to other surveyors and you do need to pitch your offer.

You need to make it clear to the customer why you add value if you want the customer to understand why they should choose you. 

 

Tone

Body language is a major part of communication. However, when your sales are via phone or email, tone replaces the entire body language element that normally exists. A short, gruff tone will be off putting compared to a relaxed, open one. The customer has to feel comfortable talking to you in order to build trust. If you don’t build trust, the customer will not go ahead. 

A common sales tip is to stand up and walk around as you speak on the phone. Sitting and slouching makes you sound less positive. If you are busy and stressed dealing with different tasks you can politely ask to schedule a call for slightly later that day where you can give them the time they need rather than wasting 5 minutes of your (and their) time. 

Nurture of leads

Not all people who enquire now are ready to buy now. Some have left it to the last minute and will pay for express turnaround. But there are as many who will search a month early to budget and be ready to press the button when they want to go ahead. 

Some customers you’ll get hold of on the first attempt. Others will take several attempts. Everyone is busy with different things. It can take 8 attempts to get hold of a prospect on average. With most salespeople giving up before this. 

Whether you’ve spoken and the lead will be ready in a month, or you couldn’t make contact when you tried, how do you keep leads warm rather than just ignoring them after first contact. 

Automation can allow you to nurture leads by email at different points after the customer has enquired (unless they have paid). Once set up, you don’t need to do any extra work but your customers are sent additional information about your service and you are kept at the forefront of their mind. If you have a standard daily structure, you can provide optimum times for customers to give you a call if they would like further information so they don’t need to play phone roulette!

GDPR is important of course. Make it clear that when the customer makes their enquiry they are opting in to receive follow ups from you. And at the same time, make it easy for them to unsubscribe from these emails if they no longer wish to hear from you. 

 

Summary

It is important to optimise earlier processes such as maximising traffic to your website. But you don’t want to undo all your good work by having a leaky sales funnel and losing sales that you really should have converted.

Time is the single biggest factor affecting your conversion rates so consider how you can either make adjustments to respond faster by phone or buy yourself time to speak later. 

And whether you manage to speak to your leads or not, make sure you keep in touch with them and don’t just leave the lead open for others to win.


Grow Sales: Web Design & Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Grow Sales: Web Design & Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Your website can be a valuable source of leads if set up correctly. There are two ways to optimise your website. 

  1. Search engine optimisation – ensuring search engines can recognise your site is relevant to customer searches so that it is placed higher in search results. 
  2. Structuring and designing your website so it is easy for your visitors to navigate, find information and make an enquiry.

 

This results in:

  1. More traffic to your website
  2. A higher conversion rate of web traffic to enquiries

 

Which method should you start with? Web design and structure updates can have an immediate impact on your conversion rates. If your web traffic is more engaged with your website and understands the content on your site you’ll receive more enquiries. SEO, however, takes time to take effect. Search engine ‘bots’ that crawl the internet do so approximately once a month (unless they know your website receives lots of visits and is regularly updated). The suggestions we’ll outline below are important but you need to be patient – these won’t provide you instant results. It is a long-term gain but that will have long-term benefits on your website traffic. 

In the short-term you can pay to appear at the very top of Google in the paid ads section. However, stop spending and you stop appearing. With SEO, as you work your way to the top, you will remain at the top of the organic listings for a long time. 

 

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. There are two sections to search results – the paid section at the very top and then the organic section. SEO is a practice that can be hugely competitive in some industries making it hard to appear top of organic search listings. However, between smaller surveying firms there seems to be much less of a focus on SEO. This opens up an opportunity for those that do put some focus here. 

 

Why is it so important? 75% of people will never scroll past the first page on a Google search. If you are appearing for customer searches on pages 2, 3 or 4 you are missing out on traffic. According to SearchEngineWatch.com, websites that are on top grab 36.4% of the traffic which is missed by lower ranked websites. Bing, another search engine, reports that websites on the top get 42% of the traffic; the second gets 11% and third only gets 8%. So, it clearly indicates why your website needs to be on top of search results. 

To find out how many keywords you rank for you can review your site on websites such as SEMRush (https://www.semrush.com/).

It is important you appear top for your company name. Anyone that knows about you and types your company name into a search engine wants to find your site easily. However, you need to remember that just because you appear top if you type your name in, that isn’t good enough. Most people when searching on Google aren’t typing your company name in. They are searching for generic terms because they don’t know you exist yet. They are looking to find a company that can help with what they need. 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-101/seo-statistics/ 

A customer types in a phrase like “Building Survey in Birmingham”. Search engines that have crawled your site will determine how relevant your site is to this customer search compared to all the others on the internet. Most relevant you’ll appear top. Less so, you’ll drop down. 

Are you appearing low down for many search terms but know you are relevant? Let’s take a look at how you can help to move your website up the ranks.

 

Keyword Research 

This is the most important thing to do before you start making any changes. Before you choose what wording to include on your website you need to choose which keyword text you will add. A keyword is the search term / phrase that a customer searches for on a search engine (e.g. Building Survey in London). 

 

You can learn which keywords are popular using Google Keyword Planner (you’ll need to set up a Google Ad account but don’t worry you don’t need to create a live paid ad to use the planner). 

 

You want to find out in your area what are the most searched keywords but that are also not competitive. High search volume / low competition keywords are great ones to include on your site. 

Once you’ve found the right keywords, let’s look at where you should add them. 

 

Meta tags

Meta data is defined as data that describes other data. Sounds vague! However, on a website this is two key parts of information:

  • Meta title 
  • Meta description

It is these two bits of data that let a search engine know what each of your web pages are about. Each web page should have a ‘meta title’ and ‘meta description’ that contain keywords relevant to the page. Where are these used?

For example if you have a web page about Homebuyer Reports and you’re based in Newcastle and you’ve seen that many customers type in the phrase “Homebuyer Report in Newcastle” then you’d want your Meta title to say “Quality RICS Homebuyer Reports in Newcastle | Get Your Survey Quote | ABC Surveyors”

Your description should say something like: “We offer the RICS Homebuyer Report in Newcastle and surrounding area. Speak to the team about what our Homebuyer Report covers and for your free quote”

To edit this information on a Wordpress site you can use a free plugin called Yoast https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/. On other web builders such as Wix, there is an SEO section for each page. https://support.wix.com/en/article/adding-seo-page-titles-and-descriptions-meta-tags

 

Have a Page for Each Product or Service

A common mistake on a website is to have a homepage, a services page outlining everything you do (or a split of residential services and commercial services) and a contact page.

Imagine Google is looking for the web page that best answers the query “Help to Buy Valuation in Brighton”. A page giving some details about a help to buy valuation and home surveys and party wall services isn’t as clearly going to provide a good answer as a page specifically talking about Help to Buy valuations. 

Therefore, the key is to set up a separate page for every single service you offer as well as general overview pages comparing different survey types. This allows you to offer a good level of detail about each service as well as linking between pages on your site (internal and external links on your site are good for SEO as it shows you offer supporting content). 

A page should be at least 300 words long. On that page you should ideally mention your chosen keyword around 6+ times. This helps to reaffirm that the page is heavily about that topic. But it must read well – Google and your potential customers will know if it’s purposefully just keyword heavy. 

Beyond benefit to Google understanding your pages, there is a benefit to the customer. A single page listing all your services and a description requires scrolling to the right section and a limited level of detail. That doesn’t help your customer answer their query. They end up going elsewhere for a better answer. If, however, you offer a detailed page per service they can understand everything from what the survey covers to what makes your service better value for them than the other surveyors covering your area. You get to show off more information. 

 

Blog Pages

Not another blog! We aren’t suggesting you need to become a YouTube influencer. But once you’ve sorted the above points on your website you don’t want to rest on your laurels. Putting up regular blog posts shows Google you are keeping your site up to date and relevant. It also offers the opportunity to entice traffic to your site for topics they are concerned about. For example, if you wrote a post about common issues with damp in houses in Cornwall, you can get traffic from people learning about this issue. They may end up also looking up your surveying services after reaching this page as they want to understand if the damp they saw on their viewing was something to worry about or not. To see which topics customers are Googling you can type in ideas into Google Keyword Planner. 

There will also be common issues that you find on properties you survey or common questions that you get asked by potential customers. A blog post is a great way to put out content that answers concerns that customers will have and shows off your expertise in this area. This helps provide further confidence to customers that are considering whether to use you or someone else. A blog post doesn’t need to take forever to write and can be a great way to reflect on how much you forgot you’ve learnt about a topic. 

 

Web Structure and Design

You’ve done the work to get traffic to your site. Now you need to get that traffic to do want you want… enquire about your services. Remember you’ll never get a 100% conversion rate of visitors to enquiries. This is because some site visits will be family and friends, some will be search engine crawler bots and some customers will just decide you aren’t right for them. You can’t provide the perfect service for every customer – no business can win the whole market. 

Here’s what you can do to keep customers on your site longer and learning about your services. 

 

Fast Loading

To make sure I get to your homepage, (or any other landing page – simply the first page I land on after clicking the search result), the page must load in under 3 seconds. Any longer and customers start clicking back to search results. We are impatient. To ensure your pages are fast to load there are a few things you can do:

  • Reduce image sizes: images that are a few MB increase the time to load the page. You can resize images to below 200kb without losing screen quality. 
  • Lazy loading: you can set up your site to initially load only visible content and then load the rest of the page as your scroll. This saves the whole page having to load in one go speeding up loading times.
  • Plugins: there are speed plugins for websites that help ‘minify’ your sites code meaning it the internet browser only has to load what is needed

Check out the current speed of your website and get free tips on how to speed it up here: https://gtmetrix.com/

 

Great Homepage

Your homepage has to be clear straight away. If I’m looking for residential surveys but your whole homepage seems geared at commercial surveys I’m going to leave quite quickly. It needs to be clear you service both property types and where to go next to get more information.

 

Modern and Secure

A very important factor is that a website looks modern and secure. If it doesn’t look modern it is like having a dated shopfront on the high street with peeling paint. It suggests business isn’t doing so well. A website that isn’t secure also discourages customers from filling in any forms through fear that their data could be intercepted. 

It is important that you have an active SSL certificate installed (Secure Sockets Layer). This is the padlock next to your website name in the browser and shows your site running on https:// instead of http:// – the s stands for secure. 

Not only does it provide consumer confidence but browsers can load warnings about your site before a customer even reaches it if it detects that your site has submission forms etc. 

Navigation

I’ve reached your website. What action do you want me to take next? If you want me to take a look at either your residential or commercial services you need to provide a way of navigating straight from the homepage header (the first section that is visible when the page loads). 

You should also have a clear menu that shows me how to get to every useful page. For example having links to pages or dropdowns such as Home Surveys with a list of each survey type you offer so I can easily get straight where I want. 

Customers don’t want to work hard to find what they need. Make it clear or you risk losing traffic back to Google search results. 

On each page there should also be a clear structure. For example breakdown your Homebuyer Report page into what, why, when, who, how. What the report is, why they should get it, when is the best time to get it, who to use i.e. why you, and how to get a quote and how the process works. 

Sections make pages easier to read than just a solid block of text. 

 

Clear Call to Actions (CTAs) 

Once your customer has read a page about the survey they require, what do you want them to do next? Presumably you want them to enquire. How to enquire needs to be obvious and enticing. Requiring the customer to decide to navigate to your menu and find the contact page is expecting the customer to be proactive and assumes you have really sold them on using your service. 

Having clear call to action buttons throughout the page is crucial to encourage customers to make the effort of enquiring. Remove the thought process of what step to take next by providing clear guidance. 

 

 

This is a great example because the call to action buttons steer you towards a premium subscription. But either way it is clear how to sign up to Spotify. 

 

Quote forms not contact forms

When your customer takes an action what is it you want them to do? Asking the customer to call or email you from your contact page is a weak call to action. We want instant gratification with minimum effort. Out of hours and this option is less enticing. In office hours most customers will follow the route of least resistance. 

A quote form is a great way to capture more customer enquiries that you can follow up with as soon as you are free. It is important that you respond to enquiries as soon as possible. Find out why in our blog post on how to convert more leads. A quote form entices customers to make an enquiry for the reward of receiving a quote now. You may choose instead to provide manual quotes. If your quote form clearly makes an effort to provide a quote rather than just capture details then customers are more likely to fill it in. Especially if they can revisit it once you submit your quote to review your fees. 

Contact forms disguised as quote forms can be frustrating. If the customer feels like they’ve filled in a form suggesting a quote will be quickly provided but it was the same as just filling a contact form in on the contact page it can leave a bad taste. It is better to be up front that you are asking the customer to submit information for a quote review. 

Your Survey Booker account can provide you with a quote form to capture customer enquiries. Manage online traffic, phone bookings and more and provide instant quotes, estimates or bespoke quotes. 

 

Summary

Search engine optimisation and setting up pages for each service you offer focused around keywords your customers are searching will offer you more traffic over time. This is a long-term strategy that will continue to provide benefits without an ongoing spend. 

Reviewing your website structure, content and call to actions will ensure you convert as much traffic as possible. Installing software such as Hotjar (https://www.hotjar.com/) allows you to see what actions customers take when they reach your site through screen recordings. You can also watch how friends and family navigate your site without prompts to see where people might be getting stuck or confused and make adjustments. 

Your website can be a great source of leads and sales if you put time into it. If however, you do nothing with it your website is like opening a store on a side street on the outskirts of town… it just won’t be seen. Move your website to the centre of town now.