Lead generation for contractors: how is it done?
My friend Dan is a landscaping contractor and the effects of the 2020 quarantine devastated his business.
Not only was it hard for him to find new business, even his existing clients were failing to pay their invoices.
But despite the crazy circumstances that was 2020 — with everything from massive political and social upheaval to the challenges that COVID-19 presented — there are numerous businesses who, not only continue to operate, but many of them who were able to think outside the box thrived and grew when other businesses were shutting their doors.
Dan’s business was one of them on the brink of failure.
But desperate times call for desperate measures.
And the old, comfortable way of generating leads that was easy to rely on in the past, needed to be replaced because it wasn’t working.
As the opportunities dried up everywhere, there was one place where everyone was spending a lot more time, and that was a field ripe for harvest.
And that’s where the most creative businesses, like Dan’s business, looked to not only keep things going, but to open up new revenue streams and actually grow.
That field was the “internet“.
There’s an entire world out there that traditional brick & mortar businesses know nothing about – the world of digital marketing.
And not only have digital marketers endured the last year and come out looking pretty good on the other side, they’ve exploded in growth by helping old school businesses learn how to operate in 2021 and beyond and leverage new tools to help these old school businesses survive and thrive during some of the craziest times we’ve seen in a century.
So what’s the difference?
Lead generation for contractors: how is it done?
2020 was a year of externally imposed growth for all of us.
We were forced into a situation where the world as we had known it up to that point had irrevocably changed.
And those forced changes made their way through every aspect of life.
But where there is great challenge there is also great opportunity.
Businesses shifted gears, and even the professional sports world made substantial changes.
One of my favorite examples of adaptation to the challenges that the quarantine produced was what Major League Baseball (MLB) did.
Threatened with the very real possibility that there would be no pro baseball for the first time in decades, MLB not only adapted, but they took it as an opportunity to experiment.
And the reason I’m using MLB as an example is that as an institution, they’re about the most traditional and resistant to change among all the major sports, and quite possibly across the business world as a whole.
You’ve heard the phrase, “it takes an act of congress to get [insert change here] done.” It means that it’s profoundly difficult to make changes sometimes.
And you know how well our government here in the United States works (don’t get me started – that’s another discussion for another day).
But MLB did some stuff that was really radical:
They implemented the designated hitter rule for both leagues, relief pitchers when brought into a game had to face a minimum of three batters, started extra innings with a runner on second base, among many other things.
This may not seem like a big deal to you, but for MLB it was on the level of trying to add another amendment to the U.S. Constitution, or rearrange the the canonical books of the New Testament.
It was that big of a deal!
What does any of this have to do with generating leads for contractors?
Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in the old way of doing things just because that’s the way you’ve always done it.
And contractors are no different.
If yo’ve been around for any time at all you’ve heard all the standard answers on lead generation for contractors:
- Network with realtors
- Join BNI groups
- Ask for referrals from existing clients
- Sign up for a leads generation website
And a lot more.
But everyone else is doing those same things and generating little to no results.
Because the world has changed.
And with the world changing as it has if you want to continue to tread water in your business, or you’re looking to grow, you have to be ready to take the next step and be the innovator to reach your dream clients where they’re at.
How to generate leads for contractors online
So what I’m going to tell you about is how innovative contractors like Dan are generating leads online.
No one is telling you to put all your proverbial eggs in one basket.
But the key to generating leads for any business is to run enough lead generation campaigns so you can have a good sample size for what works, and what doesn’t work.
And the stuff I’m telling you about here works.
First things first – define & validate your target market
Do you know who your dream customer is?
Stick with me for a minute – it’s worth it, I promise.
Let me ask you a question:
If you don’t know who your dream customer is, how can you know how & where you can help them?
I know it sounds all “woo woo”.
Trust me – I get it.
I never really understood it myself until it clicked for me one day.
The reason is this:
Not everyone who picks up the phone to get a quote from you fits your dream customer profile.
And, dare I say, there are probably a lot of those people who pick up the phone and call you who you’d probably not want to work with anyway.
So how do you get rid of the ones you DON’T want to work with, and fill your sales funnel with the ones you DO want to work with?
You build out a clear, concise but detailed, dream customer profile.
There are questions and struggles that are UNIQUE to your dream customer that won’t be true for the rest of the people who pick up the phone to call you.
So you have to figure out who your dream customer is, what they’re struggling with, and how you can specifically help them with that question.
Feed them from their “Pooh plate”
A few years back I went to a sales training seminar and the speaker was teaching us the concept of meeting your clients where they’re at and he told us this hilarious story.
He put it this way:
His mom would tell him that when he was a toddler she really had a hard time getting him to eat.
Sometimes he’d just sit there.
A lot of times he’d just play with his food.
But rarely would he eat.
Just picture Randy from “A Christmas Story” playing in his mashed potatoes and not eating.
That was him.
So his mom, just like Ralphie’s and Randy’s mom, did her best to figure out what she could do to get him to eat.
After she tried several different things she finally realized that whatever she put on his Winnie The Pooh plate he’s gobble it up.
She unlocked the code!
So she started serving him on his Winnie The Pooh plate all the time to get him to eat.
Once you’ve figured out who your dream customer is, the next step is to feed your dream customer the things they need on their “Pooh plate”.
You do this by providing them specific solutions to their specific problems in a way that shows that you understand who they are, what they need and how you can help them solve it.
A lot of times these days it’s done via what we call in the digital marketing world, a “lead magnet”.
This is a resource that delivers tons of value for your dream customer, helps them to get a quick win, and shows them you know what you’re talking about.
Your lead magnet can be a guide, or a checklist. It could be a video or an audio interview.
When you know who you’re dream customer is, you’ll have an idea of what’s going to resonate with them the most.
Building top of mind awareness
Ever wonder why you see all those different ads on TV?
Sometimes, especially for car commercials, they don’t say anything about the features, benefits or advantages of their product.
Sometimes there is no dialog at all, just visuals.
And those visuals are communicating a feel – luxury, performance, stability, reliability, etc.
And they run over and over again.
And the reason is that, whenever it comes time for you to buy a new car, they want their brand to be the first thing that comes to their mind – “top of mind awareness”.
When generating leads for contractors online we’re going do a similar thing, but we’re going to use the internet to do it.
By now, you’ve defined your dream customer, you know the specific things they need help with and you’ve created a resource that will get them a quick win.
Now that we’ve got their attention with the lead magnet we created we’re now going to nurture our relationship with them via email marketing.
Once your dream customer gives you their contact info, you don’t necessarily want to jump right into a hard sale.
(There’s a time and a place for selling there, but we’ll have to talk about that later.)
This gives you the opportunity to build a relationship with these new prospects over time and to be present when they’re ready to make a buying decision.
Build out a value ladder
Many contractors’s businesses are transactional, project-based jobs. You write the quote, the client agrees or disagrees and you’re off to either do the job or on to the next prospect.
As a web developer, I feel your pain.
This can be incredibly challenging.
But I’ve found a way that you can overcome this and make more money while doing it!
The way you do this is by building out a value ladder.
I’ve got another entire article here on how to build out a value ladder, what a value ladder is, etc. so I won’t go into all of that here.
But once you’ve found new ways of serving your clients who are at different stages of the customer life cycle, your business will be filling in those income gaps and making money on autopilot.
Inside this value ladder, if you’re not already doing it, you need to figure out what’s new that you can sell to your existing customers.
Hidden revenue gem that most overlook
What a lot of business, regardless of their industry, overlook is that it’s much easier to sell to someone who’s already bought from you than to bring in a new customer.
So the lead you may be working so hard to win could already be in your customer list!
This is where your value ladder comes in.
Think about it this way:
If you just did a job for a client that cost $5000 to do, that’s a $5000 buyer lead! What’s the next thing that you can sell them?
You’ve already qualified them, you already know they’re ready and willing to spend money, so what’s the next thing you can help them with?
Build out your scalability system
The scalability system begins by knowing how much it costs to bring in a new customer. How much money can you spend on marketing to bring in one new client?
Dan Kennedy points out, “The business that can spend the most to acquire a customer – wins”.
Think about the services that your business offers: what can you do to put the various parts and pieces together to create something that’s even MORE valuable?
Now, combine that with the concept that the one who can afford to spend the most to acquire a new customer will win, and you should see how the pieces of the puzzle start to fit together.
This means that when you have your products and services lined up correctly and your offers deliver outstanding amounts of value to your customer, you can spend MORE and MORE to acquire a new customer, and outpace your competitors!
Let’s say that you’re a landscaping company like my friend Dan’s company that I mentioned before.
And let’s say that the average amount you charge for a standard job is $100 (it’s just an example and I like round numbers).
Now let’s say that you do 12 jobs a year, that equals $1200.
When you consider all the various costs that go into providing a service – your insurance, payroll, equipment, and overhead, etc. – let’s say that your profit after all that’s paid is 25%.
That means that 25% of $1200 is $300 – and this is the amount of money you can spend to acquire a new customer.
And you can then use that $300 to get in front of your dream clients, and this will scale infinitely as long as your numbers are accurate, and your business can handle the volume!
How cool is that?!?
Create and promote your offer
Your offer is the collection of products and services you offer to your dream customers.
So now that you know who they are, how you help, and how much you can spend to acquire a new customer, it’s time to get your offer out in front of your dream customers.
This is where YOUR creativity comes into play.
There are two factors that are most important:
Tailored specifically to your dream client
Limited availability and scarcity
It could be something like a seasonal promotion.
It could be a limited availability suite of services, only available to the first 10 people who buy.
You then use organic social media traffic as well as paid ads to drive traffic to a highly targeted landing page on your website.
And that landing page is the gateway into your sales funnel where you’re able to present an offer designed specifically for your dream customers, that’s virtually irresistible.
There’s nothing else on this page except for this offer.
There’s no link to your home page.
There’s no navigation or menu bar that will take them somewhere else.
The goal of this page is for them to either grab the offer, or to close the page.
All the copy on that webpage is specifically written and tailored to your dream customer, their specific challenge they’re facing, and how you can help them solve it.
Launch, observe, revise, relaunch
Here’s what you’re going to figure out pretty quickly.
Some offers are going to be fantastic and work immediately.
But those usually aren’t the first ones.
The ones that you get to first are the ones that flop.
It’s kind of like Thomas Edison when he said something like, “I’ve not failed. I’ve just found the ways it won’t work.” (not an exact quote, but you get the idea.)
Your first offers and campaigns are going to fail.
Yep, I said it.
But so did the first time you went cold-calling for new customers.
So did the first time you picked up the phone book and started calling everyone starting with the letter “A”.
So did your first networking event.
You have to fail enough times to figure out the things that you don’t know.
I’m not talking about wasting money.
I’m talking about putting in the hard work to make it all work.
Because it will.
There are too many businesses out there, like Dan’s business, who are proof that it works.
So what are you waiting for?
How to get 100 new customers in 100 days
If this whole sales funnel thing is foreign to you, I understand.
Traditional brick & mortar businesses sometimes feel out of touch when it comes to this whole online game.
And if you’re like me, you want to see how other businesses like yours have done it.
So if you’ve been struggling to get new clients and customers into your store or professional practice, I’ve got the perfect solution for you.
Russell Brunson at Clickfunnels asked 14 of his brick and mortar 2 Comma Club winners (those who have sold more than $1 million through one single sales funne in their digital marketing efforts) a simple question:
“If you had to start from scratch, how would you get 100 new customers into your business in 100 days with ONLY an internet connection and a ClickfFunnels account?”
The responses to those questions are amazing! So Russell put them all together in a free, 4-day long interview series that gives you their 100-day action plans for generating 100 new customers and clients.
He calls it the “Brick and Mortar Summit” and it gives you the insight into their businesses and how they’d start from nothing and the exact steps they’d take.
And you can watch over their shoulder as they do it.
The best part is that it’s completely free.
Online Lead Generation Training
If all this is new to you then I want to recommend a training that I’ve completed myself along with several of my clients. It’s called The One Funnel Away Challenge, and it’s by far the single best training I’ve ever come across when it comes to learning the basics for how to put all this together.
If you’re new to the online business world or just want to level up your digital marketing skills, there’s nothing I’ve come across in all the years I’ve been doing this, that’s better.
You can learn more about my experience in The One Funnel Away Challenge here.
If you want to learn more about digital marketing and this whole online business thing I want you to come join me in my private Facebook group, Digital Marketing Mastery. This is a new, small group of other business owners and entrepreneurs of all kinds, who are working hard to build their businesses online.
Join me in Digital Marketing Mastery here.
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