Why Responsiveness Is the Key to Winning More Home Improvement Jobs

3 Tips for Answering Business Inquiries That Will Help Get More Clients

Today’s clients know what they want, and they want it now. With the internet at their fingertips, they can quickly access a nearly infinite number of ideas, products and professionals. If they don’t get a response from one pro, they may already be calling another. How can you continue to win clients in this new era of doing business?

Responding promptly to potential clients’ voicemails, emails and other messages — from homeowners on Houzz, your website or any marketing effort — will increase your likelihood of winning the job.

According to new research, if you respond to a potential client within five minutes of receiving a message, it increases your chances of reaching that person by 100 times compared with responding after 30 minutes. 

Few small businesses understand this. The average time it takes a small business to respond to a potential client is 48 minutes. You can set yourself apart and impress your prospective customer by being far more responsive.

“I respond to inquiries as fast as humanly possible,” Tamara Akers of LTB Designs says. “I make it a priority and never leave them hanging, even if it means I have to work extra. We’re crazy busy, but you have to make time for these new clients because that’s what keeps the business going.” 

Here are some tips from pros on being responsive and winning the job.

1. Set a Time Frame

Determine an ideal time frame for you and your team to return calls and messages. Keep in mind that the faster you respond to incoming inquiries, the more likely you are to reach the homeowner and win the job. 

“Our rule of thumb is to respond within the hour,” Morgan Tedford of System Pavers says. “Our potential customers are out there being proactive looking for contractors. If we take too long to get back to them, it doesn’t look professional, and they won’t feel like we want their business.”

Once you determine your ideal — and realistic — time frame for responding to new business inquiries, be sure to share that expectation with your team so everyone can be on the same page.

2. Create a Notification System

If you’re often away from your computer or spend a lot of time in the field, setting up a system that can forward calls, emails or other messages to your cellphone means you’ll be able to respond from anywhere at any time. 

“We have our phone system at the office forward calls to our cellphones remotely so we can make ourselves available even when we’re away from the office,” Brian Berg of Rockwood Cabinetry says. “We want to show people that we care about their project and we’re still going to take care of them, even if everyone is on the job site or on the road.” 

Houzz Pro+ customers can now receive SMS alerts whenever a homeowner submits an inquiry via project match or misses a direct dial call. The notification will let you know that you have a new inquiry and provide high-level details about the kind of project, location and stage of the process the homeowner is in. You will be provided with the interested homeowner’s phone number so you can call the person right away.

3. Streamline the Process

Responding to potential clients can be time-consuming, so creating a streamlined process for handling inquiries can help you stay focused on the work and use your time efficiently.

“I have a list of questions I ask potential clients because we want to know if they’re going to be the right fit — otherwise it’s a waste of everyone’s time,” Jenny Sneller of Sneller Custom Homes and Remodeling says. “One of the big things we ask is where they are located. There are certain neighborhoods [where] we’ll take almost any job because we want to grow in that area of town. Other areas might be a stretch because they are farther out.”

Tell us: What are your top tips for responding to client inquiries? Share them in the Comments below.

This story was written by the Houzz Industry Marketing team.