They responded to your marketing message. They became prospects, then customers. If they're satisfied customers, they can also be the source for quality inexpensive leads.

Open House Format The smart marketer takes advantage of the completed job and uses it as a center for proximo marketing. Working around the job isn't complicated. Mostly it just isn't done wisely.

If your product is a sunroom, deck, pool, or spa, these easily lend themselves to an open house format. The agreement to have an open house should be structured during the sales presentation. Send out invitations to neighbors over your new customer's signature. The RSVP invitation can extend to 10 neighbors on either side of the completed job and to 20 on the other side of the street, plus those in the general neighborhood who are friendly with your customer.

A continental breakfast, lunch, brunch, or snack paid for by your company and hosted by one of your staff becomes an inexpensive “lead potential” and contact. Have each attendee sign a guest book page giving name, address, telephone, fax, and e-mail address, as well as permission to re-contact by phone for product changes, special offers, etc. Remember, you'll need the latter to meet the qualifications of Do Not Call. A PowerPoint presentation with before and after pictures and a lead form can make these neighbors ideal prospects.

Reap Multiple Rewards During the open house, provide an inexpensive gift (such as a gift card from a gas station, a supermarket, or a fast-food restaurant) as a thank-you for those attending. The presentation on your company and product should be limited to general information. You're not selling the job. That's the responsibility of the salesperson who gets the lead.

If you got the phone and fax numbers or e-mail addresses of those who attended, together with permission to call, you're now in a position to glean additional prospects as an aftermath of the installed job.

If your sales presentation to all prospects and follow-up include solicitation for referrals, you will find that proximo marketing pays off with low-cost leads. —Dave Yoho ( or is president of the oldest and largest consulting group serving the home improvement industry. You can reach him at his office, 703.591.2490.