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Coleen Dolan of Certified Lead ServicesI met Coleen (one L, and at least virtually) through some of my circles in which I run on the interwebs.  On occasion, over the last two years, we have tweeted back and forth, on this or that.  But it really wasn’t until recently that we really amped our tweeting up.  You see – Coleen (along with the good people at Building Moxie) is currently nominated for a Best Remodeling Blogger Award (hosted by Palatin Remodeling).

I mean – I always knew Coleen as the owner of Certified Lead Services, an innovative professional services company, but I guess, truth — I really never knew what exactly it was that she/they does/do.  And in a way, I can thank Palatin Remodeling for this idea. In the midst of all the bantering around these Awards, I stopped for a second and said — “Hey, Coleen.  How about an interview?”  Here it is below and I hope you enjoy. Find Building Moxie on Twitter and Cheers. ~jb

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BMoxie ::

Lead Qualification, Social Media, Marketing … What is Certified Lead Services?

Coleen Dolan ::

The primary focus of the company and why it was started was to help the contractor make better use of their time by not going out on every lead that comes into the office. Operating as a virtual lead specialist for remodeling companies, I have the opportunity to give them more time to work on the business then in the business. More quality time with their families, and the assurance that the lead they are going out on is prepared and meets all the requirements of the type of company they are!  Remodelers, from my experience, waste a lot of hours or even days or weeks on poorly qualified prospects.

While building my company through social media and blogging (I have never made a cold call thanks to social media!), I saw the need these same contractors had for this part of the business.  All of these remodelers know the need to be on Social Media, but they have no idea how to implement strategies and/or even what the word “tweet” means.  The response has been great, they have a virtual lead specialist as well as a social media admin for significantly less than hiring (which they will not do).  Because I was that “girl” in the office doing everything at one time, I know that doing social media is not always the priority when you have to do 1000 other things!

BMoxie ::

While of course I am aware of the internet based lead generation services that have popped up in the past decade or so, and I have even heard of some small scale private homeowner-driven matchmaking services, I have to ask – is there anyone else doing exactly what you do?

Coleen ::

Not to my knowledge…I have been trained in the Sandler techniques and then put my experience in remodeling with it. I believe what sets us apart is the years of experience we have in the world of remodeling.  I’ve done it all! Office manager, project manager, estimator, marketing, admin, buyer, selling, etc…you name it I’ve done it!

We are not a lead generation company, although with the social media and marketing strategies I have to bring to the table, we see an increase in the leads and better quality leads coming in.

One other thing to mention, with the techniques I use to qualify or disqualify a lead, the opportunity for growth – even if someone is not qualified to work with my client, is always there.  When I run into a unqualified lead, I still spend 20 minutes on the phone with them and “help” them understand who we are and why we would not be a good fit, instead of “sorry Charlie, your bathroom isn’t good enough for me!” (Not that anyone would say this.)  Because sometimes remodelers are inherently rushed, and when they have a client they KNOW is not right, they tend to stop listening and come across as if they don’t really care.   I make sure that everyone I talk to knows they are important, that the project they are considering is important.  It might not be good for me, but I’ll still always lead you in the right direction!  I hear time and time again “Thank you for helping me!” and my clients have gotten referrals from these same people that they NEVER did any work for!

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BMoxie ::

Who do you consider your primary competition?

Coleen ::

Good Question…I have not seen (not that they are not out there) or heard of anyone doing what I’m doing.  Yeah, there are other virtual assistants out there that can take calls, but that’s not me.  I’m not an answering service or gal Friday, we are a professional Lead SpecialistSocial Media company with educated trained employees with years of experience in the construction field!

BMoxie ::

You are New Jersey based.  Does that mean your service area is limited to that region?

Coleen ::

Not at ALL!  As a matter of fact not one of my clients is in NJ!  NC, TX (3 different areas of TX) VA, GA, MI …etc.  I use a VOIP service for my telephone and with each new client that comes into CLS I have a dedicated phone line just for their company.  I have never been asked if I was not there, every person I speak to feels as if I have a desk right there in the office!

BMoxie ::

Tell us what a typical client contract for you might entail?  What exactly do you do?

Coleen ::

Each company I work with has leads filtering in from their own forms of marketing as well as any new marketing we implement together…then the lead is passed on to me one of 3 ways.  1) An admin in their office takes the inbound call and lets the caller know that the New Accounts Coordinator Coleen is on another line and if they could set up a time to speak with her for 20 minutes. 2)  Those without an admin in the office will either have the calls directed to the phone here in my office (which has an area code form their area) or my office will check their voice mail messages daily. 3) They forward all leads by email to me however they come into the office and I return the call with in a 24 hour period.

When I make the call to the potential client and I work to get to the real meaning of the call, get financial investment, build rapport , etc.   If qualified I set up a meeting on the client’s calendar (usually shared through Google).   I then fill out a Lead Sheet for my client on all the info received and my job is complete

I have an office line with area code in their area, business cards with their logo and business on it, and email address from their company. No one ever knows I’m not sitting right there!

BMoxie ::

I understand that you blog.  Can you tell us a little bit about why you blog and what type of information we’d expect to find on your site?

Coleen ::

Blogging in my opinion is a great way to update your site and keep new information out there.  I don’t always blog about informational stuff, sometimes it’s about me or what is going on with the Family, etc.  I just feel once you keep it constant and the world knows you are continuing to post to it, you will create a “Hey, it’s Tuesday, wonder what Coleen is up to this week!” kind of of thing.  All any of us want is to get visitors to our site, to see we are “normal” people just like them, and it creates a type of trust when they feel they know you.  I decided when I opened the doors of CLS to use a blog instead of a website for just that reason…

BMoxie ::

While obviously you are selling your services B2B, do you feel that your work actually also benefits the consumer. . . the homeowner?

Coleen ::

Yes it completely benefits both the contractor and the client I am speaking to!  If they are a qualified lead, they go away from the conversation thinking “Wow!  That was different!”

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  ** Here is what one client said of our conversation**  “First thing she wanted to tell me was how professional and great you were on the phone!  She said after your conversation with her, she mentioned that to a friend and the friend made her promise she’d tell me that so I knew!!” ( 100K kitchen remodel, won!)

**Another client’s words”  “….Coleen, It has been a delight to this point dealing with your firm. You have been polite, professional and a pleasure to speak with. It has renewed my enthusiasm in this project.  You captured our conversation quite thoroughly!…..”  (30K bathroom remodel, won!)

BMoxie ::

Is there anything new and/or exciting we can expect to see coming out of CLS?

Coleen ::

We are growing every day!  I am reaching out to potential new CLS lead specialist everyday across the country. And training these new reps to be able to qualify calls for more contractors.  I am also going to be offering training for any remodeler who feels they have the right person in house to qualify leads but needs training on how to do it right!  We are very excited for the growth of the company and are on track to do so!Certified Lead Services

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Thanks for taking the time Coleen and all the best. For many more interviews with various people working “in the business” of remodeling, please see our Interview category, here.  Cheers. ~jb