Leads, Simplicity and meeting the homeowner


Much has been said about how to handle a lead.
By The Paul

So how do you handle a lead?

We all need a system to track and keep up on this most sought after item when you are in business. Leads are tomorrows jobs, if a business has no leads it’s done. So what do you do with your leads?

Systems abound.

I lost a lead once after answering a call at the job site. The caller and I had a great rapport and I was happy to hear from such an excited and motivated homeowner. I got the information and wrote it on an 4 x 8 piece of drywall, then went to do something else and 45 minutes later that and 12 other pieces of drywall were screwed into place. I had lost that lead. Obviously my system for managing leads needed work. I’ll never forget that.

Then even after that moment of carelessness I still went on and wrote leads on the face of a 2X10

Used Car Salesman
Your Gonna like the Price on This Beauty.

that got nailed somewhere, a scrap of plywood that looked like a hundred other scraps of plywood and a bank deposit slip that went into the black hole of modern banking. Like I said, my system needed work. Regardless of how you track, you must track your leads. You need to know where they came from and if that source gets you quality contacts.

Company size counts with leads.

Smaller shops need to spend time recording their leads, I have a 2 book system, I write the lead down and record it also into my hard drive. I always get name, address, phone and email.

Larger companies may have more involved systems, they also have the staff to do even more with a lead. The larger outfits may record the lead and give it a rank. I worked for a Big 50 contractor 25 years ago and we had a complete lead form that asked about 20 questions, we wasted a lot of time on this but it’s what we did, we then ranked the leads for their perceived worth. If you sold for this company you might get a lead that was a 90 score, if you weren’t a very good salesman you might get a lead with a 20 score. None of this worked well but the boss loved it. This was never proven to make sense and some low score leads were great jobs and conversely some high score leads smelled worse than road kill in July.


Regardless of the size of your company you need to qualify your leads. I got one today where a woman called and in broken English she asked if I was a contractor and could I come out tomorrow to look at her bathroom, hold on, first I need to know how she found us, if she owns the home, what she’s thinking she wants, what is she planning to budget and when she plans on starting work. That’s the basics and for me covers what I need to know. As a business you must do this.

Ask questions and ask as many as you need to feel this call is worth your time. I might also ask who else she talked to and how long has she been thinking about this, and ask where she lives, do you want to drive 30 miles in traffic to visit a bored homeowner who can’t afford your services?

Scoring leads.

I don’t score my leads, that’s something for people with more time on their hands, I’m a small shop and don’t get to detailed with the paperwork. Be polite, be blunt, show interest and if the caller is keeping up with you, you can call it a lead.

The woman who’s in a rush that called me today will probably not get a visit. She’s looking for anyone that will be there quickly, after 30 years of selling I can say that the ones who are in a hurry to get a price are never in a hurry to hire. That isn’t 100% certain but I’d grade her a 10 out of a 100, I would ask her for a description of the work and give her a ballpark, I’m an owner and won’t waste time without qualifying. So, am I scoring my leads, only in the sense that I personally feel this caller has a low chance of turning into a customer.

What about seeing all callers without qualifying?

I did that when starting out, I didn’t know better. Later I became a salesman for a general contractor who ran a phone room, in that case everything was a lead and you better know how to close because now your selling full time on commission and the only result you can achieve is the type of unflinching objection busting moocher blasting resoluteness a true closer can muster. There are salesmen and there are closers, you have to decide which of these suits your perception of what your trying to accomplish. When your not the boss the meaning of the word lead changes.

All in all.

If your a small shop and you work the field and sell, or run the business and sell you need leads that have value, qualify and learn how to sell. Qualify so you aren’t spending valuable business time on people that will never buy from you, maybe they will never buy from anyone, let the jump up and run all over guys take those, they will pay dearly for them.


  1. Refreshingly honest reality check, Paul. When you say you have a ‘two-book system,’ is the first book a notebook or something that you always carry around with you? I would imagine you get some of these calls while you’re on the road and away from your computer.

    • Yes it’s a simple notebook, when I get back then it goes into my computer along with simple observations. Fast and easy, and for a small shop company effective and it’s backed up. You don’t want to lose those leads.


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