Last month, I wrote about the art of enticement and the importance of having an inviting and impressive showroom. The showroom allows potential customers to experience the look and feel of the company’s window and door offerings and really helps to get them into the buying mood. But how do remodeling contractors get prospects into their showroom in the first place? The answer is lead generation. And the question for today is “Where do you get your best leads?”

RM550 asked how top replacement contractors get their leads. They were asked to list which of 27 popular marketing techniques were most often used by remodelers to generate leads. Of those methods, the company website topped the list, followed by referrals, word-of-mouth advertising, signs on trucks and at job sites, and repeat customers. Word of mouth and customer referrals were near the top of the list. Also, internet referrals from social media came in sixth place. I wasn’t at all surprised by this. I can’t tell you how many times I see friends on Facebook shout out, “Hey, I am in the market for ZYZ, so what does everybody recommend?”

What did surprise me was the power of referrals. I guess I already knew that referrals were a fairly good source of leads, but according to the RM550, referrals and repeat customers are both most often listed among the top three lead sources.

This means that staying in touch with customers after the sale can prove to be very beneficial indeed. One of the best techniques I have seen for taking advantage of this is to offer a customer a reward for a referral. Give them cards that they can mail in with the names of friends who may be in the market for new doors and windows. Offer the homeowner who provided the referral a discount off their next remodeling job in the form of “remodeling bucks” for each referral that results in a sale.

The power of referrals just goes to show why it is paramount to take care of each and every customer through the entire sales process and also well after the sale is completed. Checking back with them a few weeks after your products are installed shows them you are truly interested in their complete satisfaction. If a problem does develop, it is always in your best long-term interest to take care of the customer and ensure their complete satisfaction, even if it means going above and beyond the terms of the warranty. Spending extra dollars on complete customer satisfaction may actually pay off more than spending those same dollars on radio or television ads.

Wait, did I dare say “Go above and beyond the warranty”? Yes I did, so I will give you a word about warranties. Warranties are usually written by the legal staff and are sometimes structured to do a better job of protecting the manufacturer than the customer. They often do this by limiting the liability of the manufacturer in the event that a particular customer is trying to take advantage of the manufacturer.

For example, if a homeowner expected a window system to last well beyond its intended lifespan, the manufacturer can cite the warranty, which may be 20 years. Or an IG unit may fail, and the warranty may spell out that the IG unit will be provided at no cost but the homeowner must pay the labor portion for the actual replacement, which is typically several hundred dollars. However, if problems develop only a few years after the doors and windows are installed, perhaps the manufacturer or remodeling contractor may decide to take care of some of the costs that may otherwise be excluded by the warranty in order to ensure complete satisfaction for the customer.

This level of customer service can pay huge dividends down the road in the form of rave reviews from that customer to friends and family, which will then result in additional business as that customer sings your praises to every friend and relative they know. Their family Thanksgiving dinner or backyard barbecue can end up being a commercial for your company.

So when it comes to gathering leads, be sure to keep in touch with past customers and make it easy for them to remember your name and number. As long as you do your part to make sure they are thrilled to have done business with you, they will surely come back for more of the same and will lead their friends and family directly to your doorstep.

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