The leads your company develops cost an average of $212 each, according to figures produced by this magazine. Some never result in an appointment. Some become appointments, but not sales. And some are sold, but the transaction, for whatever reason, is cancelled.

That unsold lead, when returned, still has the same cost to your company as it did when it was issued. When you add up the number of unsold leads in the average marketing-oriented company, you end up with a major asset. How do you use that asset? We suggest a system called “asset recovery” to help you turn unsold leads into net good business.

Scripting It First, asset recovery requires not just a proper structure for implementation, but a change of attitude by owners and salespeople. It starts with scripting for processing the initial inquiring party to ensure that your company gets at least the minimum information required. That information, once in hand, goes into a database for follow-through — or later recovery, should that be necessary.

A script is also critical for converting that lead into an appointment, at which time it becomes an “issued” lead. Once a lead is issued to a salesperson — who should be aware of the cost and value of that lead — the rep has the responsibility of returning the lead (sold or unsold) with updated and additional information about the property and the prospects.

Database Retrieval As you proceed with an asset recovery program, you'll be able to develop scripts for rehashing unsold, cancelled, or credit-rejected leads. We have many clients whose business plan includes a minimum of 20% of the current year's business coming from their database of unsold leads.

Numerous companies provide software for database management. Such services are surprisingly inexpensive when measured against the value of the unsold lead.

Most businesses have to find ways to make better use of their leads if it is their intent to continually make a profit. —Dave Yoho is president of the oldest and largest consulting group serving the home improvement industry. His recent recorded album, “Leads, Leads, Leads,” contains many scripts required for asset recovery;, 703.591.2490.