Hate Contractor Lead Generation Services? "Rather than buy all your eggs, why not get some chickens?"
On discussion groups liked LinkedIn, contractors and remodelers have been bantering about on-line lead generation services. It seems for every business owner who speaks negatively about using them, there is another who shares stories about how these services have been great for their business. For the purpose of this blog post I won’t get into the pros and cons of or any specifics about one service vs. another. Instead I’d like to offer an alternative; take control of your destiny and create your own leads.
What’s the problem?
In my opinion way too many contractors are abdicating their marketing responsibilities to lead generation services without a full understanding of how those services work. Then they complain they don’t like how they work and or how they are being treated when they seek customer service to resolve problems. Many others complain that the quality of the leads is very poor and or the same leads are being sold and distributed to way too many other contractors, increasing competition. Still others complain about negative customer reviews that are libelous and the service won’t help remove them or go after the customer who posted them.
Why should these business owners be surprised?
Just a little research on the internet is all it takes to find out what many other businesses have already found; that’s how those services conduct business!
What is sad to me (and really ridiculous if you think about it) is these business owners are doing the same thing many remodeling consumers do. They hire a service provider to take care of something for them without first being clear on what they expect, or, what they can expect will actually be included if they buy. Then, rather than take responsibility for their own lack of due diligence before buying that service, they rationalize why it’s the service provider’s fault they are not happy and want their money back. You can find lots of evidence to back up this reality by reading just a few of the articles on the“Dietz Angie's List and Yelp Reviews Lawsuit Updates” page of my web site. The page is full of links to articles and blog posts about the nightmares many businesses have experienced with lead generation services. It also has links to helpful information regarding what to do if you are already having problems with contractor lead generation services.
What’s the solution?
I suggest business owners work to generate their own leads. Not saying they shouldn't also use a lead gen service, just pointing out that those services often have a history of changing their business model and many have gone out of business. If your lead generation service leads go away, you might not have any leads at all unless you are creating your own leads as well.
"Don't put all your eggs in one basket"
Good quality leads for targeted customer and project types might well be the most significant factor when it comes to creating and growing a healthy and profitable construction or remodeling business. Without a way to create a sustainable flow of high quality leads the business has to wait for leads to show up out of the blue. If you wait for leads to happen, or for a lead gen service to send you leads, your business has little or no control over who will be inquiring for your services. Also, you won’t know whether or not they are the right prospects for what you offer, how you perform your services and or what you have to charge to provide them. Essentially, you might get leads, but after you get them you will need to still figure out which ones are qualified and which ones aren’t. Prequalifying leads after they contact you, instead of before they contact you, wastes a lot of everyone’s time. Think about it. Are you and or your sales people visiting with people who would have disqualified your business if your business took control of how its leads were generated?
"Rather than buy your eggs, why not get your own chickens?"
Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, paying for lead generation services and praying for good leads, consider the new wave in marketing; “Inbound Marketing”. Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content on your business’ web site that pulls people toward your company and product. By aligning the content you publish with your target customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time. If visitors to your contractors web site don’t like what they find out about your business and how you do business, they won’t call you or waste your time. In addition to creating high quality leads, done well, inbound marketing can also help you increase the number and quality of referral leads from those customers you have delighted.