While many remodelers are busier than they have been in years, there are still others that need help generate good, warm leads. There's no magic bullet. It takes steady effort in a managed way to get a lead flow that will make sales more likely.

Relationship-nurturing seems to work best. Staying in touch with your best past clients, in a disciplined way every two months, pays off sooner than later. How can you do that?

  • Visit the client at their home and walk their project with them
  • Take a client out to lunch or coffee
  • Send a follow-up email
  •  Mail a hand-written note letting them know you're thinking of them
  • Send a clipping or link to an article about something you know they are interested in
  • Send a note about an award you have won
  • Send your newsletter

The idea is one touch every two months or so and not any more frequently. By doing this regularly you and your company are likely to stay top of mind, making them more likely to call you and to recommend you to their friends.

GOOD QUESTIONS

What would you ask past clients who you visited or took to lunch or coffee? Here is a stream of questions that will get you past “Do you have any work for me or do you know someone who does?”

  • What were you most worried about before deciding to have your home remodel?
  • How did you learn about our company?
  • What were your impressions when you called our office?
  • What do you recollect from the first meeting with the salesperson from our company?
  • What, if anything, were you surprised to learn about our company?
  • What were you delighted by during the process of us planning your remodel with you?
  • What were you delighted by during the process of us remodeling your home?
  • How did you feel when we had completed your remodel?
  • What do you tell your friends about the experience of having had us work with you?
  • Do you know any good people like you who would benefit from knowing more about us?
  • If we wanted to find more good people like you what do you suggest we do?

After every answer, ask follow-up questions like “Tell me more” or “And that was important to you because?”  Go slowly. With some clients you'll probably be talking with them for more than an hour. Be patient; you are panning for gold.

By the way, if you feel nervous about doing all this and/or you are so wound up about needing work that you are projecting "needy" vibes, bring an associate with you, someone who honestly would benefit from hearing what your good past clients are saying. Doing so will likely calm you down a bit.

Take notes during the conversation.Periodically repeat back what you've heard. Doing so will help them remember what they told you and will make it more likely they will tell other people about your conversation with them.

If they don’t know anyone to refer, ask them if you can contact them in a couple of weeks after they have had some time to think about it. When you call back (not email) be sure to thank them for their time and consideration.

ENGAGE YOUR PARTNERS

You work with trade contractors, vendors, and other professionals. Have a similar conversation with some of them. They will be surprised you are asking for their opinions,  and you will be more highly regarded by them because you did.

Remember to always follow-up to express your appreciation.

FINDING TIME

if you don’t have any work you are better off focusing on these activities than wasting your time being one of several remodelers providing free bids for a chance of getting a job.
Schedule the activities and set some minimum number of times you do each of them weekly or monthly. Track the results. Spend more effort with those whom you feel are part of the solution and free up the future of the others.

Remember, if you've been in business for some time there are certainly good past clients who need to be reminded that you still remember them and how good they felt about you way back when. Give them a chance to tell you how they feel and you will turn them into lead generators and new business for you!

Paul Winans, a veteran remodeler, now works as a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage, and as a consultant to remodeling business owners. paul@remodelersadvantage.com; http://www.winansconsulting.com/