What is Lead Generation?

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.

Frustrated with getting leads.
I Need More Leads!

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 and cold-calling.  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.

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.

If you are a marketer 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.

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 lead just the same, but in different phases of the buyer journey.   You marketing AKA lead generation needs to nurture those tire kickers and educate the value to the price shoppers.  But that is for another article.

Why is lead generation important?

Lead generation is very important for the growth of a business. 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.

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. 

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

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?

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.

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 voice mail 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. 

Check out the “Resource Library“.

There are some great business books to download for FREE. The E-Myth, The Art of The Deal, Think and Grow Rich, plus Gary V’s best seller and Grant Cardone’s “If You’re Not First, You’re Last”

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