Leads are the lifeblood of any sales organization and you just cannot get enough of them. Are you receiving good quality leads? Do you know the source of these leads? Do your sales people receive their leads in a timely manner or are they months old? Would you like to receive notification in real time? How long does it take your sales force to follow up with those leads?

It seems that these days, everybody has a lead generation story. There are companies that specialize in ways to generate leads. The questions are what really works and how can you make it work for you and your organization?

If you are looking for a company to assist you in lead generation, do your homework and research the company. Talk to their clients to see if they are happy with the service. Legitimate companies will always let you talk to their satisfied customers. Find out what their customers would have done differently if they had to do it over again.

Use an opt-in methodology as opposed to opt-out. With opt-in, your customers give you permission to contact them. In an opt-out methodology your customers have to tell you not to contact them, they often miss this step, and customers may become angry when you contact them.

Regardless of whether you set up your own lead generation program, or hire an outside firm to handle it for you, immediate follow up is critical to success. When you receive a lead, either through your own efforts or from a vendor, what is your follow-up procedure? Do you call the lead personally? On the other hand, do you assign it to someone in your office to handle the follow-up? How long do you wait to make the call?

When you think about leads, a name without a contact method is not a lead. In fact, a name without contact info and the date you received it is worthless. A qualified lead is a lead that gives you the person’s name, contact information, the date they contacted you, and the information they would like to receive from you. However, if you don’t receive that lead for a couple of days or a week, and then you don’t follow-up for a couple of more days, the quality of that lead quickly begins to degrade.

Having a lead in your hand the instant the potential customer wants something from you is as good as it gets. Consider building a lead generation tool into your website. With the right steps, you can set up your tool so that you receive an email the moment you receive your lead. The sooner you follow up the on your lead the better the response that you will receive from the potential customer.

The Home Depot, has a philosophy about lead generation, it believes that there is a wow factor with leads. The timeframe for the wow factor is 10 minutes from the time the potential customer generates the lead until you make contact. When you call the customer during this ten-minute window, they invariably say, “Wow, how did you contact me so fast?”

When you contact your lead during this window, he or she is more inclined to make a buying decision. You approach them when their guard is down, when they are interested in your product, and when you have the most influence with them. Think about it, they have just spent time on your website, they liked what they saw, they believed in what you told them and now they want you to contact them so they can make the next step to purchasing your product or service.

If you intend to use your company website as the source of for lead generation, then you will want to ensure that your website generates enough traffic to sustain you lead generation program. Take advantage of manufacturer lead programs, but ask if they have a way to forward the leads to you in real time so that you receive the lead as it is generated. Follow up on every lead; regardless of how old it is because you never know if the person just might be ready to make a decision.

Lead generation works very well when you get qualified leads, you act very quickly, and you make your initial phone call within 10 minutes of receiving your lead. If you think this is something that you would like to try, but you don’t have the expertise to do it yourself, contact a marketing professional to assist you. I am available to assist you in your lead generation efforts. If you need a consultation or a complete strategic marketing plan, feel free to call or send an email to discuss your needs.

Andy Fracica is president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, PR, social media, and lead generation strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and startup companies find their voice in an ever increasingly crowded market by do more with less($). Contact him at 260-338-4554, andy@fracicaenterprises.com or visit the website www.fracicaenterprises.com.