Your team can be an excellent resource for lead generation. Learn more about how to build a team that keeps the leads rolling in.
Customer satisfaction is a known contributor to business success, but continuing to build on a strong customer base is the key to growth and longevity. At the management level, lead generation is a top priority to keep cash flowing steadily into the company and ensure employees have the hours they need to support themselves and their families.
Although there are several actions managers can take to attract new clients, referrals are one of the most powerful lead sources available, and tapping into this resource requires a focus on the customer experience. To really make an impact that will turn your customers into future recommendations, the most critical investment you can make is creating a team that knows how to impress your clients and generate the leads your company needs.
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Lead Generation Starts At The Bottom
Management often interacts with clients when it comes to setting up appointments, providing quotes, and establishing the contract. However, the real client experience comes from interaction with the employees as they complete the project. If a homeowner hires a local painting company to update the outside of their house, their impression of the business is largely going to come from how well the job was completed and how the employees conducted themselves while performing the work.
These days, it isn’t enough to just do a job well. With the internet becoming the first resource for people looking for a contractor, customers can see all their options at a glance. Chances are your company isn’t the only one that does good work in your field, so you’ll need to provide something more if you want reviews and recommendations that set you apart from your competitors. That something more is likely to come from the men and women you send out to the job site.
Four Skills And Values That Lead To Successful Lead Generation
It’s often the little moments that have the biggest impact on a customer’s memory. Brief interactions when an employee was thoughtful or small issues that were resolved in a positive way can make all the difference to a client who appreciates being seen as a person rather than a contract. There are several skills and values you can instill in your employees to ensure they capitalize on every opportunity to establish a relationship with the customer that's built on communication and trust.
Good communication skills are the foundation of positive working relationships between team members and customers. Expectations from all parties are managed through their communication efforts, and this can create a better experience for everyone in a variety of ways:
- Client expectations match the services being provided
- Issues are addressed clearly
- Team efforts are better coordinated
- Better opportunities to anticipate customer needs
Trust is the backbone of any relationship, and this is especially important when hiring professionals to perform work in a personal space. Nothing makes a job more uncomfortable than working with a client who doesn’t trust the team. This leads to closer oversight from the resident, which can disrupt the team’s rhythm and cause unnecessary mistakes that will slow progress and justify the customer’s suspicions. Having a team with a reputation for integrity can minimize client mistrust and allow the team to work freely. When mistakes do happen, a team that takes ownership of the issue and offers to make it right creates a more positive experience for the resident.
It's also important for team members to have trust in one another. Suspicions between team members breeds division, making it difficult to work as a solid unit. This is especially critical for construction employees, who often depend on their coworkers to keep them safe while performing dangerous tasks.
3. Efficiency And Focus
Most complaints from homeowners about the contractors they've hired revolve around the time it takes to get the job done. Home service jobs are often disruptive, getting in the way of a client's normal daily life. This makes it ideal to complete the contract quickly, but that isn’t always an option. Unfortunately, having a long-term project can cause clients to be extra-sensitive to any evidence of being off-task, leading to baseless complaints. Having an efficient team ensures work is done with fewer delays, giving your customers visible evidence of progress being made and establishing greater trust in the team's work ethic.
4. Conflict Resolution And De-Escalation
There will inevitably be times when a mistake happens or a misunderstanding frustrates the team or the customer. These issues are often handled with management, but not before they impact the work being done or the employees get an earful. Having team members who are empowered to resolve conflict and de-escalate emotionally charged situations can make them feel greater control over these experiences. The conflict between team members can be resolved professionally, projecting a better image to anyone watching and allowing work to resume. Angry clients can have their concerns validated and addressed through face-to-face interaction in the moment, making them feel respected and heard. As an additional bonus, this saves time for management as many smaller conflicts will be resolved on-site.
Encourage Personal Investment
Having employees with the proper skills and qualities to personalize your customers’ experience won’t get you anywhere unless your team feels motivated to maximize each opportunity. When an employee is focused on just getting in enough hours to cover their expenses and stay in the good graces of the supervisor, it might help maintain work quality but won’t go much beyond that. After all, if the employee feels their situation stays the same regardless of the amount of work coming up or feels the additional work is going to make the job harder with no benefit, there isn’t much incentive to help your company grow.
Inspiring personal investment in the company and the team is the best way to encourage excellence from each worker. If your employees feel pride in their position with your company, they’re more likely to see it as a career rather than just a job. Their attachment to the business makes the company’s reputation an extension of their own, giving personal meaning to the impression they make on the customer. Additionally, a team that takes pride in its shared responsibilities will hold itself accountable and set higher expectations.
Training & Development For Lead Generation
It'd be great if you could simply hire employees who already have the above-listed skills and values, but that isn’t always an option. Fortunately, each of these things can be instilled or enhanced through employee training and development. The trick to getting the greatest return on your training investments is to identify programs and techniques that are thorough and specific to your goals.
When Should Training Be Scheduled?
Timing is an important factor when it comes to training because it can affect how well the subject is applied on the job site. New-hire training should be a primary focus because it establishes company expectations before stepping foot on a job site. When new employees know how high to set the bar, it’s much easier to make minor corrections as they're needed rather than catching big mistakes due to a lack of awareness.
The second-best time is after an incident occurs. If something happens on a job site that reflects poorly on the company’s skills and values, it can show additional development is needed in that area. It’s also a good idea to provide scheduled sessions as reminders every so often. Many companies choose annual training opportunities, but you should base the timeline on the needs of the company and the team.
What Makes Employee Training Effective?
Putting time into employee training is a wasted effort if the techniques and tools used aren’t effective. Knowing the elements of effective employee training can help you make the most of each development opportunity:
- Materials should match employee knowledge and be relevant to the industry
- The program should be engaging and high-energy
- Supplementary training should include new content to keep it interesting
- Should include real-world application stories
- The program should include opportunities for employee interaction and reflection
- Content should be short and specific to keep attention
- Should take a multimedia approach and cover different learning styles
- There should be some type of measurable gauge to determine how well the material is retained
Training that doesn’t include these elements can fall flat with employees, leading to disengagement. Common training mistakes are often the result of going against these suggestions or eliminating them altogether:
- Training that includes irrelevant material or is set below the experience level of the trainees can make trainees feel their time and skill set aren't respected.
- Slow, repetitive, or lengthy programs may lose the focus of trainees, causing them to miss important information.
- Omitting real-world examples and opportunities to participate can disconnect trainees from the material, losing the impact of the lesson.
- Focusing on one learning style leaves out any trainees who struggle to retain information in that way, creating gaps in their training.
- Failure to utilize some type of retention measurement allows training gaps to go unaddressed.
Individual, Self, & Group Training
Group training and individual training have different strengths and limitations. Knowing which training program is best for the subject matter can have a significant impact on engagement and retention.
- Individual training: Employees are placed individually with a trainer. Good for new-hire programs and skill enhancement that are position-specific. Use this type of training for subject matter that needs extra focus or is centered around personal employee goals. It also works well for faster-paced programs.
- Self-training: Training is self-paced and completed by the employee without oversight. Good for continuing education and information-based subjects. This type of training is often delivered through a training app on a mobile device or a computer program. These programs tend to work well for general information.
- Group training: Groups are guided through the program by an instructor. Good for team building, safety, de-escalation, and general company values. Use group training when cooperation and communication are featured or when the material is meant for the entire team. These programs often need more time to get through.
How Will This Help Me Grow My Business?
People interact with hired professionals frequently, so it’s important to find a way to stand out from all the other positive experiences they may have had. Even if a customer is happy with the work you’ve done, you may not always come to mind when a referral opportunity presents itself. When you have a team that operates smoothly, takes pride in their work, plants the seed, and goes the extra mile to make a positive impression, lead generation is the natural result.
People like having professionals that they can count on, and it makes them feel good to have solid recommendations to offer their friends and family. If you want them to make the extra effort to share your information with the people they care about, your team has to provide the kind of service that goes beyond the industry standard. Ideally, you want an experience so impactful that the customer is inspired to keep your company's details just in case they, or someone they know, needs your assistance in the future.
When your reviews consistently reflect your additional care and attention, it raises the bar for the potential client's expectations and supports any of the positive things they may have heard about your company. This benefits your business by increasing the leads you generate through internet browsing and personal referrals. If you start your interaction with potential customers who already have a favorable impression of your company, converting an estimate into a signed contract becomes a much easier task, giving you one more opportunity for future lead generation.
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