Pre-Appointment Marketing: Three Easy Steps to Increased Lead Conversion

A contractor-focused blog post by Jason Oefstedahl, CEO of MarketSharp

What happens after you schedule an appointment with a prospect? 

You go to the appointment, sure… but what do you do between when you schedule and when you show up?

For many, the answer is: “Nothing.” Maybe you’ll shoot off a quick email or text the day before…or even the day of the appointment.  That’s a big maybe. Remember, the homeowner is inviting you, possibly a complete stranger into their home.  This can be uncomfortable at best.  With a little thought however, you can:

  • Create a professional and expert image that stands out from others.
  • Lower appointment cancellations, while increasing demo and sales numbers.
  • Introduce yourself and your business to the customer and put them at ease, prior to the appointment.

We call this Pre-Appointment Marketing.  The purpose is to warm the prospects and prepare them for the call, putting them at ease with you and the work they are considering. While there are several ways you can use Pre-Appointment Marketing, here are three specific actions you can start taking today to position yourself as an expert and drive up your demo and sales numbers.

1. Deliver multiple, varied reminderscommunication-channels1

Have you been to the dentist lately?  Many dentists use multiple touchpoints to reach out to you prior to an appointment.  You get an appointment card when you schedule, an email a week before your visit, a text message two days before your appointment and then the day before, a live phone call from the receptionist.

This does a couple of things for you and the dentist.  It sets you up to go, getting you comfortable about the visit.  It also encourages you to adjust your schedule to make sure you can accommodate the appointment, you are buying in to the meeting.  And, it helps your dentist increase the chance of you showing up on time, or at least cancelling if you have to.

In your business, this has the same effect.  You are able to follow-up with your client, reminding them in multiple ways of your appointment.  This increases the likelihood that the appointment will be kept. And, while it’s easy to focus on phone calls and emails, proper use of simple text messages can increase open rates and confirmed sales demonstrations.

“Cellphones have become a critically important tool for communicating; while phone calls, voicemails and home emails are increasingly more challenging to communicate through,” notes Mark Highbaugh, CEO of Marlimar Mobile Strategies.

“The goal is more than confirming an appointment, it is having a phone conversation to ‘requalify’ the lead; making sure they have all decision-makers at the meeting and insuring they have allocated ample time for the sales call.”

With Marlimar, you can stop playing phone tag with leads and instead send a simple text messages with a clear call to action:

“This is [your name] with [company name].  Please call me at [your number] regarding your upcoming, scheduled appointment.

These reminders also open the door for you to:

2. Provide quality information helpful to the prospect:

A simple email and/or letter will help educate the homeowner on the benefits doing business with your company.  Most companies I speak with are not doing this, so it is a great way to separate you from the competition.

Mr. & Mrs. [last Name],

Hi!  Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is [your name] and I work for [company name].  My records indicate that we have an appointment scheduled in the near future to discuss one of our fine home improvement products for your home.  Please make a note on your calendar concerning the following details…

Appointment Date: [appointment date]
Appointment Time: [appointment time]

Your interest in improving your home is not unusual.  More and more people are taking advantage of today’s exciting home improvement products which not only beautify a home and minimize tiresome maintenance, many of these products actually pay for themselves in reduced energy costs!

Our company, [company name] has been serving homeowners in the area for years.  We have hundreds of local installations and when we get together I’ll be glad to show you our customer list for reference.

Thanks again for your interest and I’ll see you soon.

Sincerely,

[your name]

With this simple letter, you have shown your professionalism, which helps establish you as helpful and confident.

To help you with these letters, some Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, like MarketSharp, allow you to automate these messages and auto-fill fields like customer name, appointment time and your name and information.  This makes creating Mailers, Emails and Text Messages much quicker and simpler.

3. Make yourself known to the client

A picture is worth a thousand words…cliché but true.  When you send a confirmation email, or letter (no one mails anymore, so a physical letter can really set you apart), this is a great time to provide the customer a photo of yourself.  Along with the photo, you can mention the vehicle you will be driving and ask them if you are able to park on the street, so as not to disturb or fill their driveway.  Again, this shows professionalism and helps set the client at ease.  And a client who’s comfortable with you is a happy client.

Also, if you send a physical confirmation letter, be sure to include a Company Magnet.  Encourage the customer to post the letter on their fridge.  If they do, they’ll think of you at breakfast, dinner, and late night snack time!  This builds Top of Mind Awareness (TOMA) and warms the prospect for your sales appointment.

The above ideas are three simple, specific ways that you can help your customers and prospects feel at ease, while at the same time warming them to your visit and sales presentation.

I encourage you to try one of these steps with your upcoming appointments.  To help you get started, complete the form on this page for MarketSharp’s FREE Remodeler Success Kit: Pre-Appointment Scripting Bundle. You will get proven templates/scripts to convert more prospect inquiries to appointments using all forms of communication like email/letter, text and phone.


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