Generating leads is an artform in remodeling. There are plenty of ways to do it, from retaining past clients to advertising, and these days how you do it can make all the difference. In 2003, Remodeling Magazine conducted a reader panel asking all about leads. At that time, and likely even more so now, the majority of contractors relied on past clients and word of mouth for lead generation.
The concept is simple. Past clients are a familiar resource whom you’ve worked for in the past. Their repeat business or recommendation to a new client has a certain, predisposed measure of validity that is just not possible with strangers. Now, in 2003 when the original survey was taken, times were very different. The housing boom was coming into its own and contractors had more freedom to pick and choose projects.
Those times may have come and gone but the fundamentals of remodeling and lead generation remain, even though it may be contractors calling past clients to check in rather than the other way around. Yet despite the fact that homeowners are in the driver’s seat, you are still more likely to generate quality leads from past clients because both homeowners and contractors tend to trust the word of a friend or known client than a phone book or random ring of the phone.
Another interesting trend that came out of the 2003 survey and remains relevant today is the need for personal interaction. Most contractors surveyed stated that they put “gut reaction” and face-to-face conversation on a higher pedestal than any number on a lead sheet. The lead sheet may itself lead to the interview, but it would always be the interview that took precedent.
Again, now that the tables are turned and it is often the contractor doing the hunting, the same rules apply. Better leads come from past clients and should be prioritized. Homeowners running through the phone book or search engine are essentially window shopping. That is not to say that every lead isn’t important — there is a contractor for every job regardless of lead origin — but the odds are much better when familiarity is involved, not to mention contact onsite.
The point of all this being that keeping in touch with past clients is an excellent idea. The remodeling season is soon forthcoming, the stimulus package is pouring plenty of money into weatherizing and home repair, and every quality lead starts with the mention of your name…now may be a good time to make sure past clients remember it.