The marketing that remodelers have been using for the last several years just isn’t producing the quantity of leads needed today. It’s time to rethink how you generate leads and to pull in everyone from the company to help. By including the right employees in the effort, you could double or triple the number of people who know your company and the services you offer.

  • Step 1. Make a list of the organizations that attract the kinds of people who could be your clients or could refer you to other customers — local chapters of Rotary International, Lions Club, and Chambers of Commerce.

Terry Streich of SilverMark Inc. Design & Build, in Minneapolis, says, “Before we joined, I really didn’t have any idea what the Chamber did. I found out that it’s all about networking! Now I go to meetings regularly. There are actually two other remodelers who are members but no one knows them because they don’t participate. I’m finding there’s business ... all over.”

  • Step 2. Determine which employees in your company would make the best representatives. They must be outgoing, well-presented, good communicators, be enthusiastic about the company, be willing and able to give back to the organization in which they participate, and want to do it! Participation in one, two, or even three organizations should be mandatory for all salespeople.
  • Step 3. Research the best groups, find out how much it costs to join and when they meet. Make a list so that employees can choose those groups in which they have an interest, that best meet their schedule, and that fit into the company’s marketing budget.
  • Step 4. Create a plan for what to do next; it’s not enough to pay fees and just show up.

There are many ways to effectively network. Jeffrey Gittomer’s Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets for Networking Your Way to Rich Relationships can provide the direction for the art of networking, from identifying those people who could have the greatest impact on a company to the details of how to reach out and make those connections happen.

Gittomer shares strategies for building strong relationships. He covers everything from developing networking goals to actual scripts on how to approach people. This will be especially helpful to those introverts who consider this type of marketing just one degree better than standing before a firing squad.

He points out networking mistakes, as well. The biggest one? The tendency to prejudge others based on appearance or other exterior traits. “This is a huge error in trying to connect,” writes Gittomer. “Open mind equals open wallet. Closed mind equals closed wallet.”

Streich has shared the information in this book with everyone on his staff. He says that it has helped them focus on the type of marketing that still works well — building relationships one connection at a time.

—Victoria Downing is president of Remodelers Ad­vantage, helping remodelers build consistently profitable companies.; 301.490.5620.