Selling leads is a big business. Chances are you’ve been contacted by someone this month–or even this week–offering to sell you a list of hot residential solar leads for your solar company. It’s tempting when business lags and your sales team is slow to purchase a lead list to see what happens. You may have even tried this recently. One thing we’ve heard from the solar companies we work with is this:
The leads you buy are never as good as the ones you generate on your own.
In a perfect world all marketing efforts would generate endless leads, but we’re far from a perfect world. So are there ever instances where buying leads works?
Pros and Cons of Buying Solar Leads
Buying lists and leads is a common practice in sales and marketing, at times yielding mixed results. While we’d advise money spent on leads could be better used elsewhere, we do want to acknowledge there are some pros to the practice.
Pros: Lead lists can…
- Keep sales teams busy.
- Make more people aware of your company name and services.
- Occasionally lead to a sale.
But there are also some drawbacks.
Cons: Lead lists can…
- Waste sales resources better spent on developing and nurturing warmer leads.
- Fail to yield a return on investment (ROI).
- Deteriorate brand reputation, making your company seem pushy or desperate.
- Paid leads are often stale, annoying potential customers with a delayed response.
Don’t Buy, Generate Leads
The most compelling argument against buying residential solar leads is the poor ROI. If you look at the conversion rate of leads that came in through forms on your website, phone inquiries and social media messages vs. those that your company bought, we have no doubt the conversion rate of organic leads will be far higher.
Inbound marketing tactics like providing helpful, valuable content or offering free consultations has been proven more effective than traditional outbound tactics like advertising. When people do the research and come to your company on their own, it makes them a better lead and potentially a more loyal customer.
How to Nurture Residential Solar Leads
Once you land a lead, it’s important to nurture them toward sale. To avoid paying for leads in the future, you need to treat the leads of today especially well. For example, create a policy that requires your sales team to contact leads that fill out a form within 48 hours. If they can manage sooner than that, even better.
Lead nurturing can be improved through customer relationship management (CRM) or email automation. Build a workflow that automatically creates a contact when a form request is submitted, or schedule an auto email acknowledging someone will be in touch shortly.
Chances are the lead is reaching out to more than one company. Don’t be late to the party.
Think Like a Builder
If you want inspiration on how to entice leads and nurture toward a sale, look to other building industry companies, such as plumbers, electricians, roofers and contractors. They’ve been in the lead generation game a long time and know consumer behavior in this space well.
Head to their website and social media accounts. Look at how they talk about their services and how they entice people to reach out. Remember that solar installation is a service and an expensive one at that. People are wary about shoddy work or getting ripped off, so presenting your services in a professional way is essential.
We like how they prominently feature their nearly 10,000 reviews on Google My Business (and a 4.9-star rating to boot!). They make it easy to schedule a consultation with a button in the center of the homepage, plus information on financing, emphasizing affordability. But our favorite part is the homepage video about their “Happiness Guarantee” which includes a high level of service, transparency and eco-friendly policies such as offering eco-friendly products and recycling what they can from the field.
Lead Generation Begins With Great Marketing
If you’ve been thinking about switching from buying leads to a lead generation-focused strategy, you’ll first need to take a look at your marketing efforts. How can you effectively attract the leads you’re looking for? Once you have a contact, what’s the best next step?
These are questions we commonly get from clients looking to boost lead generation and conversion. If you’d like to explore the tactics proven to work for solar companies, give us a call.