What is Lead Generation

Understanding what a lead is, is the first step in generating more of them. Almost every contractor wants more leads. But, let’s get back to lead generation basics. To better understand what a lead is.


The basic definition of lead generation:


In marketing, lead generation is the initiation of consumer interest or enquiry into products or services of a business. Leads can be created for purposes such as list building, e-newsletter list acquisition or for sales leads.


Even if you practice lead generation already, do you know what it means at the most fundamental level? Reviewing what something means at the most basic level is a great refresher and it always helps you come up with new and impactful ideas.


In this article, we are going to review what the definition of lead generation is. So you can get more of them.

All contractors need leads. They can be frustrating to get and deal with.

What is a lead?

A lead is a person who has expressed interest in the product or service that a business offers.


Collecting a lead means that you have already skipped over the first two steps of the sales cycle which are prospecting (with ads) and cold outreach (messaging, emailing or other).  This lead is now termed a warm lead.


A warm lead is much more valuable than a cold one.


As a business owner, we would rather focus on warm leads because when you contact a warm lead, a person is expecting to hear from you or at least has shown some interest towards your business. This means that he or she is much more willing to listen to you and consider purchasing your offering since they have already considered you an option.


When you contact a lead, you use the information they gave you or that you collected to personalize the sales outreach, so that the sales call is as personal and enjoyable for the customer as possible.


This is why I like Facebook Messenger Leads (see the messenger button in the bottom right corner?) or other social media leads. I can look them up to know more about them. Better than a mid day call or a generic email.

But that is another topic. So let’s move on.

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What is lead generation?

Lead generation is the way that you attract and get people to give you their contact information to you.

It is the methods you use to collect leads.

How are you collecting your leads?

If you are a marketer (if you own a business you are) and have to tell somebody who is not marketing savvy what you do, you most likely tell them that you find ways to attract people to a business.

Lead generation expands on this premise to become: Finding ways to make a person interested in your company and make them want to request more information from you.

The tools you use to generate leads:

It is a method of starting to funnel-in eventual customers of your product or service down the path of buying.

As a matter of fact, I talk to hundreds of contractors a year and find that many, even though they won’t admit it, are horrible at sales and don’t understand the process, flow or buyer journey.

Some of the comments are “They are just shopping or tire-kickers” or “They are price shoppers.”  Well they are a marketing opportunity  just the same, but in different phases of the buyer journey.  

Your marketing A.K.A. lead generation needs to nurture those tire kickers and educate the value to the price shoppers.  

But that is for another article. Here is a simple way to sell a service to a cheap customer.

Why is lead generation important to contractors?

Lead generation is very important for the growth of a contracting business. Not just growth, but the sustainability of the business. 


No leads, no cash flow, let alone profit.

Why cash flow is important.


The buying process has changed and business owners need to rethink and refocus their efforts in order to stay relevant.


If people demonstrate to you that they are interested in your business, when you go to contact them about your offers, they are no longer a stranger– but rather a true sales prospect who has “told” you they are interested in your product or service.


They took their valuable time to contact you.


You should look at it that way. Even if you are up to your eyeballs in work.


Yeah, I see your sarcasm in Facebook Groups. 

Wonder if Buffet and Bezo say, in public, “Who do these people think they are?”


Treat every contact with business like respect. You may be doing well, But, not Buffet or Bezo well. 

How do you collect a lead?

The standard way to collect a lead online is through a form on a website, a phone number for the customer to call or an email to get in touch with their needs or questions.


The new alternatives are:

Older people are getting more familiar and the younger already use these.

  • Facebook Messenger
  • Direct Messages
  • Text (SMS)
  • and others

Do you have one place to store these leads? One place to collect, store, segment and use the lead collection system.

Other ways are opt-in and lead magnets. But this article is a primer, to get you to understand what a lead is and the basic process of the lead meaning and process to turn an opportunity to a lead. 


Many contractors believe that lead generation is easy.  You build a website, have a Facebook page, you verify your Google My Business and away we go right?


Lead generation spoiler alert: It is not that easy.


Lead generation is simple in theory, but it’s definitely not easy to execute effectively.

In fact, only 1 in 10 business owners, said that their lead generation efforts are highly efficient and effective.

What percentage of leads should come from marketing? Click here to find out.


Why do you think that is?


Well, 61% of marketers blame the lack of funding, staff, and other resources. But, is that really true? Is the lack of a decent budget and a dedicated sales team the only things stopping you from getting results with your lead generation efforts?


Not really!


The sad reality is, the world is changing, marketing is changing and 90% of small business owners are not. It’s tough to point at one magic reason why most lead generation projects fail, but it’s usually because of one (or more) of these mistakes:


  • They’re using the wrong or no strategy.
  • Their content is lacking or non-existent.
  • Their landing or website pages sucks.
  • Their follow-through or follow-up isn’t good enough.

I know this is general, but don’t worry–I’ll dive into all of these mistakes and offer expert tips for how to solve every one of them in articles to come.  This article is one of a long yet detailed series.

Let’s look at the History of Lead Generation

Lead generation is not new. It has existed forever.


In fact, it could be traced back to cavemen going cave-to-cave for recommendations on the best round-wheel to buy or the best cave drawing material to get (this is a very accurate recount of human history). It continued evolving generation after generation until the cavemen became a salesmen and cave-to-cave became door-to-door.


Throughout the years, we can see, how the methods businesses use to generated leads have changed drastically.  Usually fueled by new technologies, customer buying behaviors and media outlets.  (Newspaper, to Radio, to TV to Internet and now mobile)


We’ve seen the billboard and sign era take over the marketing world in the early 1900s as Americans began to drive. Radio commercials dominate the early 1900s. Door-to-door “lead generation” rose in popularity after World War 2.  TV advertising took us from the 1950s into the end of the century.


Cold Calling for Lead generations.


No Thanks!

And …telemarketing in the late 1970s.  (Yeah, it is still annoying to this day)


I really don’t like call centers, the ringless voicemail or the spam calls.


No, I don’t want to talk about my cars extended warranty and I really don’t want to hear from Home Advisor, Yelp or some Indian dude trying to sell me SEO services.


Anyways, technology keeps evolving and as a result, so does the techniques used to generate leads.

Recently, with the rise of the internet, smartphones, Google and social media, lead generation is not only more competitive than ever…but also much more complex and sophisticated.


Long gone are the days where a contractor can get by with a Yellow Page ad or a lettered truck magnet and yard sign.  Not that those don’t help, but it is a much more competitive business world now.


To conclude this article, it was my goal to explain what a lead is, the basics of generating one and a little humorous history lesson to boot.

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