4 ways to win more leads

There’s nothing more irritating than seeing a project, contract or job within your grasp and then losing it after expending lots of effort in pricing, writing and sending a quote. In this article Benjamin Dyer of Powered Now provides tips on how you can win more profitable business. 

Most businesses are anxious to grow. Even when you’re flat out, more leads allow you to be choosey about new customers and to gently ease up prices. Benjamin Dyer of Powered Now looks at some ways of increasing the lead count, focusing on the trade industry (builders, plumbers, electricians etc.).

Make happy customers

Amazon has got to its pre-eminent position as nearly the largest company in the world with one primary mantra: “being the most customer obsessed company in the world”.

Speaking with many of Powered Now’s trade customers, it is clear that the most successful all, like Amazon, emphasise the quality of work and the overall customer experience.

In business generally, and in trade companies particularly, doing good work is the way to recommendations which in turn results in more leads.

The conclusion I draw is that great service is the most important key to generating more leads.

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Own your website

Around 70% of work in the trade industry comes from recommendation, but nearly half as much again comes from other sources. In fact, fully 17%, of homeowners search the Internet to find new trade companies.

That’s why your own web site is so important. The good news is that you can create your own site using a service like WIX that lets you put it together fairly easily.

Get all the free advertising that you can

There is a surprising amount of free advertising you can get if you make the effort. In the trade, you can put details of your business in big lettering on every van and hand out business cards to every customer and prospect.

If the client doesn’t object, there may be an opportunity to put a board up outside their premises with your details. Many companies ask their staff to wear a company uniform. Everything helps.

Consider the online services

According to Bradstone Assured, their poll found that 60% of Homeowners are nervous about using new tradesmen. Half worry they will be ripped off and 70% said they would consult online reviews.

In fact, 90% had actually consulted online review sites before making a decision with a new company. That’s where some of the online services come in, they try to exploit this fact.

The new services are Checkatrade, Rated People and My Builder. In addition, there is the Which? Trusted Trade scheme. The first are aimed at making money from generating fresh leads for trade companies.  They try to benefit from the trends around online reviews. Several advertise prominently on TV to generate leads from people looking to get jobs done. The way that they make money is by charging the trade companies.

The Which? scheme is a little different in that it is intended to provide reassurance and this scheme works the hardest to make sure all of their recommended businesses are genuinely good.

The logic to Rated People, My Builder and Checkatrade was that traditional word-of-mouth marketing would be replaced by online searches and customer reviews. However, word of mouth still rules. Rather, these services have largely replaced Yellow Pages and Thomson Local.

The benefit to local trade companies is the ability to turn the lead tap on or off. That means that leads are only generated when they are needed. This enables businesses to balance the incoming work load better. The theory is great and has definitely worked for some businesses. At the same time, there are many critics. Among the criticisms  is the belief that the reviews can’t be trusted and that prospects only buy on price. It’s a very mixed situation and with no simple answer.

Rated People, Checkatrade and My Builder are all commercial companies. They are out to increase their own bottom lines, not yours. However, they can be of benefit and we have met many companies where the proposition has worked. After all, Jewson, Travis Perkins and Grahams all make a profit but still serve a useful purpose.

The best advice is to perform a small experiment to see if these services really work for you.  However, with maybe the exception of when you are first starting out, never price lowest to win the business as this is always a bad strategy.

Know your own mind

The great thing about generating more leads is it gives you more choices. You can be more choosey about customers or you can raise your prices or do a little of both. Unless you run a life-style business and have no growth ambitions you have the option to pursue growth instead.

I hope that some of the ideas here provide you with food for thought. However, ideas that go nowhere have no value as it’s implementing them that takes the work and deliverers the goods. Best of luck!

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