I’ve been in the biz a long time, I know where everyone’s calls come from. Here’s something no one really talks about and for good reason: A lot of you are getting calls meant for large franchises from the Lead Generation companies you’re using.
At the last The Experience convention I was approached by a lot of guys asking me if the calls I send them will be for other large Water Damage franchise companies. I told them no. And why.
Let’s first cover what I’m talking about for those who may not know. You hire a lead generation company to send you phone calls. They send you a water damage call, you pick up the phone and the person on the other line says, “Is this Servpro/Servicemaster/Etc.? Clearly this call was not meant for you. The Lead Generation company you’re using is obviously marketing using Trademarked names and then driving that business to you.
Now you, not wanting to lose the call, may ignore this and say, “What can I help you with?” Rather than acknowledging they were looking for that franchise. Some companies I know straight up lie and say, “Yes, it is, what is your emergency?”
Look, I get it. You need more calls. But let’s examine this:
- This can be sue-worthy and you’re putting your whole company at risk for hone calls that were meant for that Franchise. Don’t fool yourself, they do sue companies over this. A case can be made for Trademark Infringement.
- In the marketing world this is known as ole’ bait-and-switch. Showing the customer one thing and then giving them something else. It’s a credibility killer.
I know most of you are trying to build a solid & ethical business and you know deep-down that it’s not right or maybe consider it a “necessary evil.” I know some of you won’t care, and that’s your view. But here is the truth – you can’t keep doing sketchy things in business and think it won’t come back to haunt you at some point. It will recoil eventually and you don’t want your whole business at risk because of this lazy move.
So, how exactly is your Lead-Gen company doing this?
- They buys ads from Google on your behalf (called Pay-Per-Click Ads, where you literally pay per click). Those are those ads that show up at the top of Google when your potential customer is searching for you.
- When the Lead Gen companies set up these ads with Google they have to pick the words your ad will show up for, they’re called keywords. They then use the Big Franchise group’s names in the background so their ads show up for their names.
- Then when someone looking for the big franchise company clicks on the ad and calls them, they forward that call to you, which is why the customer says, “Is this Servpro/Servicemaster/etc?” That person obviously Googled for them, not you.
“But isn’t that Trademark infringement?” you say. Well, that’s the question isn’t it? Is using the big franchise group’s names as keywords in Google ad setups Trademark Infringement? Well, Google currently allows this somehow. The ads your water damage Lead Generators are creating are not allowed to say those big franchise’s names in the ad, but they do allow them to use the franchise name as a keyword to market for, in the background. This is exactly how you’re getting phone calls for them.
Again, this won’t last forever. This will recoil at some future point on the people who are doing it the most. When? Who knows. You can’t do questionable things at high levels for a long time without expecting “what goes round to eventually come round.”
So how do you keep your nose clean and still get calls? Easy. The biggest companies I work with don’t do what I’m talking about in this article. They don’t need to. Keeping your business ethics tight is a good start though. Don’t risk your whole business on something stupid.
Dan York, Founder