On the tail end of an industry migration to virtual and online sales, home improvement professionals sat with one of the industry’s longtime consultants and sales moguls last week, looking to stock up on fundamentals. Packing one large conference room, the three-day Home Improvement Profitability Summit by Dave Yoho Associates included nearly 20 seminars and panel discussions, reiterating sales and business fundamentals.

“When I started my business, cold calling window companies years ago, there was no internet,” explained John Pohl, owner and president of Springs Connect Call Center in Carlisle, Pa. “The world has changed. I thought I was going to be an outsider … as it turns out, the things that I’m accustomed to are more relevant than ever.”

With sales soaring from a robust remodeling market amid COVID-19, attendees and speakers told [DWM] they were beginning to see signs of normalization, leaving many to consider what to do next to maintain momentum. Dave Yoho, founder and president of Dave Yoho Associates, urged company leaders to, “Whenever you’re in doubt, fall back on the system.” But first, remodeling and home improvement dealers must have the right systems in place.

In the earliest days of the pandemic, some home improvement companies were wiped out, unable to adapt quickly enough to keep their businesses going, said Joe Talmon, senior account executive at Dave Yoho Associates. Now, with demands for home improvement showing signs of slowing, “Are your salespeople ready for when the market doesn’t flood you with sales opportunities?” he asked.

Companies that have set aside traditional sales and marketing strategies amid a wave of demand could find that when the market turns, “It’s way too late” to get back to business as usual, Talmon and others warned. Instead, it’s imperative that companies maintain traditional programs for prospecting, even as customers pour in, they suggested.

At a time when many report success in new internet-based strategies that forego in-home selling, Yoho’s crew continues to reinforce the importance of over-the-phone and in-person sales, pointing to data that proves the effectiveness of those strategies, while urging companies to continue seeking new methods.

“Things are beginning to come down a bit. Interest is beginning to wane a little,” said Dave Azer, vice president of marketing for Jacuzzi Bath Remodel. “We have to plan. We have to understand and we have to reinvent ourselves constantly.”

Among the principals pressed by the event’s speakers was the concept for capturing leads as quickly and efficiently as possible—down to the minute. Whether it’s by phone, text or email, “Leads are nothing like fine art,” Azer warned attendees. “You can’t hang them up, keep them intact and expect them to increase in value … These things kill conversion.” Alternatively, “When you call a lead right away, that’s when they appreciate.”

Approximately 78% of homeowners buy from the companies that are first to respond to their inquiries, Azer said, adding that the conversion rate for leads responded to within a minute are up to 380% better than those that wait for days. For this reason, he recommended that 80% of leads receive call backs within two minutes, advising companies to do whatever it takes to staff up for those opportunities.

For those who can’t be reached, “As leads come in and trickle into your database, those are assets,” said Pohl. “That’s your vault of leads,” he added, urging companies to remain diligent in contacting their databases, including past customers. “Maybe you didn’t reach them,” he said. “Maybe you called twice and no one called back. What happens to that lead? That’s the big question.”

By developing “revisit” programs, “Typically companies will get another 7% to 10% net,” Pohl said. In order to do so, however, they need to have properly trained staff in place to “work the list” on a continual and consistent basis.

For many, the event in Chantilly, Va., marked a welcome return to business as usual for sales conferences.

“It was an incredible honor to be a presenter and contribute content to the Dave Yoho Summit last week,” said Azer. “It was a rewarding return to live events.”

At 92 years of age, Yoho’s personality continues to wow audiences, at times filling the room with laughter. “Information can only be transmitted with energy,” the industry mogul urged.

“It was my first time meeting Dave Yoho in person, and at 92 I can see what it’s like to never work a day in your life if you do what you love,” said Tyler Bowman, sales manager for Renewal by Andersen of Houston.

A show of hands revealed that as much as half of those in attendance included door and window dealers.

“What a great week at the Home Improvement Summit. It was an honor to hear Dave Yoho and the rest of his team speak and get a picture with a legend of the home improvement industry,” commented Jocelyn Reinhart, brand ambassador for Clear Choice Exteriors in Fostoria, Ohio.

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