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How to Choose the Best Lead Generation Company

By Shannon Lee

In these difficult economic times, it can be tough to find good customer leads. The old methods, such as direct mailings and yellow pages, may not be working as well these days. As the economy and customer attitudes change, many contractors like you have started using lead generation companies to get more customers.

Is lead generation right for you? If so, how do you choose the right provider? Each company might promise something a little different, and some of them might seem too good to be true. These tips can help you narrow the field down to the offerings that best fit your needs.

Why you should use lead generation

Are you questioning whether you need a lead generation company at all? If you want to grow your business in a substantial way, the answer is probably, "yes." Here are a few reasons why:

  • Get better-qualified leads. Lead generation companies can provide contact information for homeowners who are very proactive and motivated to get the work done.
  • Reach a wider audience. A lead generation company can widen your work opportunities by connecting you with potential clients in a wider geographical area -- and you don't have to do the legwork. Focus on capturing some of the audience that you may not be reaching because they are online and never open up the yellow pages.
  • Free up your time. Your time should be spent on doing work, not on tracking down new leads. Let a company that specializes in lead generation do that work for you, so you can be out there making money.

How to evaluate a lead generation company

Once you decide to use a lead generation company, choosing the right one comes down to careful comparisons. Consider these points before you make your final decision:

  1.  Cost per appointment. Consider how much you are paying for every appointment you make. Anything under $300 is okay, under $250 is good, and under $200 is excellent.
  2.  Return on investment for each lead. How many leads result in a sale? Remember that the cheapest leads might not be the ones that give you the most business.
  3.  Percent of less-than-optimal leads. Is the company really sending you the kind of leads that you want? Are the leads in your service areas? Are they strong leads from homeowners ready and willing to start the job? The percentage of suboptimal leads should be very small to non-existent.
  4.  Ease of returning suboptimal leads. If the leads turn out to be duds, how easy is it to return them to the company? What is their credit policy?
  5.  Ease of adjusting your budget. If you need to change your budget in the middle of the month, does the company allow you to do this, or are you locked in for a certain period of time?
  6.  Extent of geographical coverage. Look at the area the lead generation company can cover for you. Does it tap into areas you haven't explored before?
  7.  Customer support. You should always have ready access to good customer service, including email and phone contacts that respond promptly.

Doesn't it make sense to free up your time, target a wider audience and have access to more potential customers who are ready to make a buying decision? Choosing a lead generation company can be the answer you need to grow your business in a tough economy.

Shannon Dauphin is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. Her current home was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her necessary hobbies.

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