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Dead End Leads

Community Veteran
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I'm another TT Pro who is less than enamored with the way TT has been going over the last 12 months. 

The biggest issue I have with TT is the ubiquitous "When are you available?" message from potential clients.

TT deems this to be a LEAD and as such charges me because the client chose to send me that message. This usually happens because the client clicked the "Check availabilty" button somewhere on the TT platform. 

At this stage in the process it appears that the lead has genuine desire to know what my availability is. That's super.

As a dedicated and responsible TT Pro I reply promptly. A day elapses, no response from the client. I send a follow up. Again no response. I send another follow up a few days later. Crickets, no response. Repeat ad-infinitum. No response. 

I know that not every lead turns into a gig. It's a numbers game. Then I crunch the numbers and discover that roughly 95% of the LEADS I pay for via TT are like this. Never any response.

It's a bit worse than that though. It turns out that some of the LEADS TT is sending me don't even actually bother to read my replies! That tells me that with these leads they're not interested in receiving an answer to their question at all. 

TT obviously considers leads that don't read my replies to be genuine solid leads. I don't share that view.

I don't mind paying for LEADS, I do it all the time on other platforms and in other ways. Not every lead becomes a customer, that's business, I know that.

With regard to TT though, paying to answer a lead's "What's your availability" question only to find out that the lead doesn't read my reply or any of my susequent follow ups just doesn't seem right to me.

I'm persevering with TT because I've invested so much time already on the platform. Support is generally good although the feedback I've given support staff over the years on this issue and others has never been taken onboard.

It's a pity because I think that anyone who has used TT for a while knows that it has the potential to be something really good. I can't help feeling though that much of that potential along with the goodwill and support of long-standing TT Pro's is being squandered.

Regards,
Laurence.

 

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Re: Dead End Leads

Community Manager
Community Manager
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Thanks for reaching out and starting this conversation @Lar. I looked at your profile and one of the first things that caught my eye was that how quickly you respond to customers, definitely keep that up! Although not every lead turns into a hire, we definitely want the money you spend to be worth it. Looking at your insights it looks like the most popular Magician pros in your area have 42 and 95 reviews. You have an amazing 24 reviews, but I think you would really find benefit in getting a few more.  We get that it's frustrating when you don't hear back from customers. Be sure to check out this post here about customers going unresponsive. There are a lot of tips that I think you'll find useful! 

I'm happy to hear that you've had a great experience when interacting with our support team. We take all feedback we receive seriously and make changes based on what will best fit both pros and customers. You've been with us for quite some time, are a Top Pro, and have over 20 hires. You've clearly found success with us and I want you to continue seeing that success. If you have any other specific suggestions to improve your experience, please don't hesitate to send them my way. 

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Re: Dead End Leads

Community Veteran
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Hi there Meckell, thanks for taking the time to respond to my post.

You mention that you think I would really find it beneficial if I could get more reviews. 

Virtually every time I have been hired on TT I have received a verified review, verified being the operative word. Prospective TT clients are in my opinion far more likely to trust and lend credence to a verified TT review than an unverified one. The number of verified reviews I have on TT (24) is therefore directly related to the number of leads I have been able to close and convert to customers on TT (21).

Sure, I could get more reviews on TT by asking clients who I book outside TT to post their reviews on here but I believe that would be counterproductive. Reviews are a valuable resource. Clients will almost always only post one review so I need to ensure that they post their review in a place that I feel provides maximum benefit to my business.

Some of my clients I book via other online platforms. When they post their review I want them to post it on the platform they booked me through because it will then become a verified review on that platform. If I have a client that I've booked directly then I'll have them post their review on Google Business because it is a much better lead generating tool than TT is.

The majority of TT Pro's in my line of business (I'm a Magician & Mentalist) are those who perform for younger audiences (i.e. children 12 or under). My target audience is 16+. I know I'm going to receive fewer leads so that's one reason why some Magicians get more traction, more gigs and more reviews on TT that I do. That's entirely logical and fully expected. Fewer leads = fewer customers = fewer reviews. That's why TT is only a small part of my overall lead generation strategy.

Meckell, you also provided a link with some tips on how to deal with clients who are unresponsive. It's a useful link but all the things in that link are things that I've always done anyway.

 

A lot of the angst I've read from TT Pro's since joining this community board seem to be based upon their experience that TT used to be a useful and efficient lead generating tool but is now significantly less useful and less efficient. I feel that too.

I'm not new to this, Meckell. I know how to close deals and I've become very good at it because this is how I make my living. I'm no different to a lot of TT Pro's.

What has changed recently is TT itself, specifically the introduction of the 'Promote' feature and before that the 'Instant Match' feature. You have only to read the many posts here from frustrated formerly successful Pro's on this board to realize that they have huge problems with these changes; changes that have had a serious negative impact on their businesses. 

I believe that you guys on the frontline of TT support (both here on this forum and on the phone) are doing your best to be helpful and that you want us Pro's to be successful on TT. You relay our concerns, give useful tips and generally be supportive as much as you can be. That's commendable.

Unfortunately the key decisions that directly impact the Pro's aren't made by you guys. 

If the introduction of the 'Promote' feature was intended to make Pro's more successful so that they could derive more value from TT then just speaking for myself I feel that those features have had the complete opposite effect. I'd be surprised if any TT Pro who is now receiving fewer leads (resulting in fewer actual deals) considers that to be indicative of a platform that has their success in mind.

I can certainly see though how the 'Promote' feature could be (and probably is) successful for TT in terms of increased revenue. 

Success is relative.

Thank you again for your response Meckell.

Regards,
Laurence.

 

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Re: Dead End Leads

Active Community Member
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Laurence - I agree with you wholeheartedly that the "promote" function and other changes to the system have rendered TT almost useless for me.  When I first came on board, TT was the sole lead generator for my business, and it was great while it lasted.

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Re: Dead End Leads

Community Newcomer
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I have yet to receive a reply from a customer after I respond to the "What's Your Availability" question.  

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Re: Dead End Leads

Community Veteran
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The newly announced online refund process may help you get back some of the money you spent on 'ghost leads' like these if they came in within the last 30 days. 

Go back and look at your 'ghost leads'. See how many other Pro's those 'ghost leads' reached out to. See if they ever did hire anyone on Thumbtack. I bet you'll they reached out to other Pro's besides yourself and I bet they never hired any of them. 

https://community.thumbtack.com/t5/Product-news-updates/A-new-refund-experience/m-p/21349#M370

If a lead sent you a 'What's your availability' question and you responded positively and then you never received a reply back from the lead then you can legitimately question that lead.

Maybe the lead was never really interested in hiring you (or anyone). Maybe they never got to see your reply. We can speculate as to why the lead never responded to you. Whatever the reason for the lead's unresponsiveness the bottom line is that you paid Thumbtack for a lead with the expectation that you would be able to have a conversation with that lead.

If that doesn't happen and the lead ghosts you despite your best efforts to engage with them then ask for a refund.

Let us know what happens.

Regards,
Laurence.

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Re: Dead End Leads

Active Community Member
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Bigdrive99 - I just signed on with HomeAdvisor yesterday, and I expect to be approved today.  I'd be very interested in knowing more about your experience with them.

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New pricing structure

Community Newcomer
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I don’t mind to pay for every time I get hired but it is extremely frustrating and expensive to continue to pay for customers saying “what’s next” or “what’s your availability” things of that nature, only to never hear from them again. I dispute them and I don’t hear anything back. Also there used to be free quotes from time to time, now thing is ever free! I would be able to get hired a lot more probably but I’m scared to pay the fee and then just get a “sounds great, how do I sign up” and then hear nothing again

Re: New pricing structure

Community Newcomer
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I agree with you Keelie22. I have also been charged for vauge responses that never turn into jobs. Thumbtack needs to expand the responses to allow for these types of customers who just want an answer to a question before they commit to the job.

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Re: New pricing structure

Active Community Member
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The pressure on pros to utilize promote is continuing...I simply do not understand why a client isn't required to list a defined scope of work, as opposed to '5-10 lights' and then ask 'what's your estimate?'

The past year has become disheartening, I went from 80% of my jobs coming from TT, to 10% so far this year.