Networking and Lead Generation

      Woodworkers describe how they cultivate the relationships that bring them work. October 11, 2012

What has been your most successful tool on marketing dollars spent to generate leads, especially if your starting out in this economy? A website, yellow page ads, home mailers, or pay basis lead referrals programs?

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor G:
Number one is to farm your existing customers (a monthly mailer/email to former customers, prospecting at the end of the job). Number two is networking. People in general are isolated/dismissed, more so these days, they crave being able to talk to someone which is what networking allows.

From contributor Y:
Make personal contacts with as many people, organizations, friends, enemies etc. as you can.

From contributor J:
Referrals are the number one way of obtaining new clients for me. However, that said I also use my website a newsletter and a couple blogs. At the risk of getting everybody way too excited or upset, I've also been using Custom Made very successfully this past year.

Whenever I am working with a client I discuss several times over the course of our work together just how important referrals are to my business. I try to make it very clear that my clients are my marketing department and they are paying me to be the very best designer/maker I can be and not a pretty good designer/maker and a pretty good marketer! Most of them are so excited when their piece is done that they often throw a party or get-together and often I am asked to come so they can introduce me to their friends. People love to meet the guy who made the new piece and can immediately begin to see themselves with something too.

So the comments about networking are spot on and the comments about using all these tools are on the money, you have to work hard at finding what works for you and your client base.

From contributor M :
I sometimes ask my clients how and why they chose me for their project (if I donít already know). I have been getting more people just Googling their need and location and finding me. Iím still getting a few phone book leads. Referrals used to translate into a for-sure job but clients are doing more cost comparisons now. People say I am helpful during the first call and like my laid back selling presentation.

From contributor A:
I don't know what you build/make/do, but all this above is good stuff. Like Contributor J said, you have to find the fit of what works for you and your particular personality/locale/market. For me, there are a couple particular homeshows in our area that work for getting my face in front of people. I know that does not work for everyone but is does for me. It is a large reason why I have work at the moment. You need to be friendly, not a bump on the log waiting for people to come up and talk to you when you are there and the people that are in attendance need to at least loosely fit your target market. Invest in a nice (it can be small but well done) vignette or displays that engage the people.

From contributor K:
We do a fair amount of advertising and track lead sources on every contact. For dollars spent, my two best sources have been; number one my website at about $10k over the last eight years has brought in millions in sales. Number two is the vehicle wraps on my three install vehicles, about $6k spent in the last seven years, produces about $100k in sales per year.

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