Leads are king, especially during lean times like these past few years. Generating leads, however, isn’t always easy, nor is it always cheap. But it can be both.
Architects and builders can choose one of two main paths that lead to new business. One path generates leads through customer satisfaction, and the other drums up prospects through marketing efforts.
The route through customer satisfaction requires attention be paid to what matters to clients. For example, clients want their homes to remain as clean as possible during the project, and they want to know what’s happening at all times. This means it’s your job to inform anyone working on site to spend the final 30 minutes of the work day cleaning up the jobsite. It also means clients must have a quick and easy way to reach you or a designated supervisor.
Finally, you must manage your clients’ expectations. Tell them what they’re in for. Tell them they’ll be frustrated, and when to expect it. Tell them when they’ll be happy. Tell them who will be on site the next day, and if there will be delays of any kind, and when. If you tell them something will be done, make sure it’s done.
Do these things, and do them well, and your clients will be satisfied. Satisfied clients will tell their friends and family members what a great job you do, which translates into referrals and repeat business. Do these things really well and you might never need to generate new leads again.
The second path to lead generation involves marketing, which can become expensive. It doesn’t have to be, however. Several marketing efforts are free or relatively low cost, and here are a few to consider.
Use social media. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are free. Most importantly, they’re powerful ways of instantly reaching hundreds or thousands of potential clients. Plus, these sites are built to encourage other people do your marketing work for you.
Get an intern. Contact the local college and offer a marketing internship. You can do this for free, or for close to it. The intern can launch your social media campaign, and handle numerous other marketing efforts. Everybody wins.
Become a class project. Contact that same college from above and ask the marketing professor if they’d take on your marketing program as a class project. That’s valuable experience for college students, and free help for you.
Stay in touch. Vow to meet with a subcontractor or other colleague once a week, or once a month. Talk on the phone, get coffee, eat lunch together. You’ll generate goodwill, and maybe some referrals.
Speak publicly. Offer to talk at a monthly meeting of your local chapter of Rotary, Knights of Columbus or Chamber of Commerce. Review a case study, or ask them which topics would be of interest. Get your name out there.
Offer a free service for a local charity auction. Upgrade your jobsite sign to include an artist’s rendering.
What you do is not as important as making sure you do something. Leads don’t generate themselves, so get out there and make things happen.
Have lead generation tricks of your own? Share them by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.