The average owner of a home improvement business would not knowingly throw away a customer's check, leave expensive tools or equipment on the jobsite, fail to bill a customer, or give away company vehicles to complete strangers. So why then would a business owner overlook leads, which are one of the most commonly squandered assets in the business today?

In the last quarter of 2005, the value of an issued lead averaged in excess of $225. (That's an average. Obviously a direct mail or TV lead might cost more than a self-generated or canvassed lead.)

The Property is the Prospect Your attitude regarding leads can be an important factor in how you capitalize on their potential value. If your lead was not sold today or if it was sold and the job was cancelled — or even if it was rejected for credit — it might still be a worthwhile lead.

Look at it this way: The property is the prospect. If you presented a product or service and it was not sold or installed, the property probably still needs the product or service that you presented.

There are any number of different reasons why a homeowner might not have committed to your company or product. Sometimes factors that you cannot control, such as timing and economic climate, come into play. Or the homeowners might have received a poor presentation, or there might have been some malfunction in the sales process that caused them not to buy or to rescind after the sale.

Protect Your Investment The lack of value placed on an unsold lead and the misuse of it by salespeople is a waste, not just to the company that acquired the lead, but also to the manufacturer that provided the product, and even to the financial institution that provided the financing.

Remember, several parties invested in developing this asset. Although nothing may have been sold yet, the asset remains a viable prospect that can still use your product or service. —Dave Yoho is president of the oldest and largest consulting group serving the home improvement industry. His company presents seminars on “Solving the Marketing Dilemma” and “How to Sell Value vs. Price.” For more information call 703.591.2490 or go to