My son is joining me in business and he asked me “The Question” yesterday. He wanted to know where leads come from. He’s old enough to know the stork does not deliver new leads so I told him about the birds and the bees.

I told my son, “Leads are the natural result of a successful marketing interaction between a healthy business and a trusting potential client.”

Since my son’s business education has a steady curriculum of installation training during the summer, I told him new leads can be generated every day and everywhere we are installing. There is no better place to practice safe lead generation than on a jobsite during the installation.

I told my son these are ways he could make a lead on the job:

  • Yard signs are a perennial favorite of mine because they work. Invest in visible and disposable yard signs, similar to the ones used by politicians in the fall. Keep them up as long as possible. You are branding, creating top-of-mind awareness and telling the entire neighborhood you can be trusted.
  • Truck signage is a great way to show you are trustworthy. Magnetic signs should be avoided, but if they are going to be used, get creative with shape and bold with color. Spend a little money on a bigger size. Bubble wraps are a great way to make an impact too. Be aware of project location and potential for future business—make a splash by putting on a show with your equipment when the location warrants.
  • Canvassing a neighborhood only works when we are prepared with proper permits and literature that makes an impact. Learn the proper techniques of knocking on doors for the best results. Canvassing can also be done with a series of direct mail post cards and letters. Direct mail canvassing can be almost as effective as door canvassing with so many dual income households and no one home.
  • Referrals aren’t typically offered. They have to be coaxed out or asked for point blank. Unless you are prepared to have a relationship with the homeowner—which I encourage—you are not likely to get the name of a neighbor, co-worker or sister who also needs your services. Continue to build trust during the course of the installation including the review and demonstration of the product and you will be more likely to receive a referral for a new lead.
  • Repeat business could be earned the very day of the installation of a current job, it could come later that year or it could be 20 years down the road, but it all starts with performing today’s project professionally and courteously. Once again, the continued development of a professionally friendly relationship with courteous unobtrusive conversation is the key to the door of repeat business.
  • Reviews are critical in today’s Internet world. Your company could end up with a five-star review from a client that begins as a casual conversation about the Internet, Facebook and Angie’s List with an installer during coffee break. That review helps with search engine optimization and is invaluable for extending trust to visitors of your website. That review not only will convert a website visitor into a lead, it will help convert that lead into a sale.
  • Internet posts are fun and interesting when they include the client and the improvements provided by your client. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram are important social media that show the personality of your company and the quality of your work to potential clients on the Internet. Photo and video posts are simply a great way to engage potential clients on the Internet.

The fact of life is that every time we interact with potential clients we can create new leads—including while we are working.

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