Written originally by our Friend and Colleague Jim Mastin @ Contractor Link Blog
This seems to be the time for being critical of leads received from lead generating companies. I hear constant complaints in discussion forums on the internet. Yes, there are some companies that may intentionally send some bogus leads, or send the same lead to too many contractors. But far the majority are leads for people that are genuinely interested in a home improvement. They may be shopping prices. They may be accumulating ideas before they start. They may seem like a waste of your time. But, I believe any lead is a good lead, and if you will stick with me, I can tell you why. Have you ever thought about buying another car and gone car shopping? We don’t go out really intending on buying a car today. All of us have. I wonder how many of us actually ended up buying a car that very day and often times at the first place we visited. I know I have.
So, how did that happen? Now, car salesmen are not my favorite people on earth. They are a bit pushy, sometimes overbearing, persistent, etc. but they sell cars. Most all people who walk on a car lot would fall in the category of a “poor lead”, “just shoppers” but salesmen make a living selling to them. Let’s take the average lead that we might call a worthless lead because all they are doing is getting prices and ideas. How far have these potential customers come already? They may have sat in their living room on many occasions for many weeks and talked about a project they would like to do. They have talked colors, materials, how they want it to look, how they would use it, how convenient it would be, how much they would enjoy it. Then they jumped on the web and googled kitchens, bathrooms, pools, landscaping, or whatever they have in mind. They discussed these pictures they found and shared them with the rest of the family. They talked about if they could afford it or not. Then they finally googled to find a way to meet contractors. Stumbled across a lead website, filled out a form, submitted it to someone they never met in hopes he will be a good guy interested in their project. Now are you going to tell me they are not a good lead? They may not know how much it will cost. They may not understand they can’t just knock out a bearing wall. They may not know the time frame involved in such a project. They feel they need to investigate for a while before taking the plunge. Does that make them a “poor lead”?
To hear some contractors you would sure think so. It sounds like we want a man and wife to call us and tell us they know exactly what they want, they don’t care how long it takes, money is no object, and how soon can you start. That’s what we call a “good lead”. To be sure, it would be, but don’t hold your breath.OK, why is most any lead a good lead? First, because they do have a genuine interest or they wouldn’t be here. They may not know exactly what they want, but that is a great opportunity to offer advice and become the director of their project. You get in the drivers seat early on and they trust you because of all the good ideas you have. I know, after you have wasted and hour and get to the price, they say, “That’s more than what we expected, I think we better wait.” Would the car salesman walk away from that? Are you kidding? He says, “ let me talk to the manager and see if we can earn your business”. These people are a lead, don’t let them get away! “I understand the paint job is more than you expected. Why don’t you let us paint 3 or 4 rooms now and we can come back later and finish it, and we’ll keep the price the same.” Now, what’s going to happen when you get pretty well through? They are going to love it so much they will find the money and let you go ahead and finish it. The idea is, get creative. Help them out making a decision. Just last week a customer requested a contractor contact them. We called the contractor to make sure he had gotten the message. He had and already talked to them. We said, “Are they going to do the job.” He said, “No, they aren’t near ready, just started shopping.” “Not a good lead”. A few days later we followed up with the customer. They had gotten another contractor and the job was already started. “Not a good lead”? “Not a good lead”?
OK, let’s summarize. Carpenters don’t just drive nails, they sell too! Painters don’t just paint, they sell too! Plumbers don’t just install sinks, they sell too! Learn how to sell the job to the customer and you will be the one working rather than the one saying, it’s a poor lead. Will there be those that really aren’t ready after you meet with them. Sure! So isn’t that a bad lead? No! Two reasons. If you have been a decent and helpful person to them, if they have another project, who will they call? And, do you suppose they have any friends that will one day need a contractor? Who do you think they will recommend to their friend? Yep, yours truly.
So, the next time you get a “bad” lead, turn it into a “good” lead. Because, there really aren’t many really bad leads!
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