by Jim Mastin Sr

This seems to be the time for being critical of leads received from lead generating companies.  I hear constant complaints in discussion forums on the internet.

Yes, there are some companies that may intentionally send some bogus leads, or send the same lead to too many contractors.  But far the majority are leads for people that are genuinely interested in a home improvement. They may be shopping prices.  They may be accumulating ideas before they start.  They may seem like a waste of your time.  But, I believe any lead is a good lead, and if you will stick with me, I can tell you why.

Have you ever thought about buying another car and gone car shopping?  We don’t go out really intending on buying a car today.  All of us have.  I wonder how many of us actually ended up buying a car that very day and often times at the first place we visited.  I know I have.

So, how did that happen?   Now, car salesmen are not my favorite people on earth. They are a bit pushy, sometimes overbearing, persistent, etc. but they sell cars.  Most all people who walk on a car lot would fall in the category of a “poor lead”, “just shoppers” but salesmen make a living selling to them.

Let’s take the average lead that we might call a worthless lead because all they are doing is getting prices and ideas.  How far have these potential customers come already?  They may have sat in their living room on many occasions for many weeks and talked about a project they would like to do.  They have talked colors, materials, how they want it to look, how they would use it, how convenient it would be, how much they would enjoy it.

Then they jumped on the web and googled kitchens, bathrooms, pools, landscaping, or whatever they have in mind.  They discussed these pictures they found and shared them with the rest of the family.  They talked about if they could afford it or not. Then they finally googled to find a way to meet contractors. Stumbled across a lead website, filled out a form, submitted it to someone they never met in hopes he  will be a good guy interested in their project.

Now are you going to tell me they are not a good lead?  They may not know how much it will cost.  They may not understand they can’t just knock out a bearing wall.  They may not know the time frame involved in such a project.  They feel they need to investigate for a while before taking the plunge. Does that make them a “poor lead”?

To hear some contractors you would sure think so.  It sounds like we want a man and wife to call us and tell us they know exactly what they want, they don’t care how long it takes, money is no object, and how soon can you start.  That’s what we call a “good lead”.  To be sure, it would be, but don’t hold your breath.

OK, why is most any lead a good lead? First, because they do have a genuine interest or they wouldn’t be here.  They may not know exactly what they want, but that is a great opportunity to offer advice and become the director of their project.  You get in the drivers seat early on and they trust you because of all the good ideas you have.

I know, after you have wasted and hour and get to the price, they say, “That’s more than what we expected, I think we better wait.”   Would the car salesman walk away from that?  Are you kidding?  He says, “ let me talk to the manager and see if we can earn your business”.  These people are a lead, don’t let them get away!

“I understand the paint job is more than you expected. Why don’t you let us paint 3 or 4 rooms now and we can come back later and finish it, and we’ll keep the price the same.”  Now, what’s going to happen when you get pretty well through? They are going to love it so much they will find the money and let you go ahead and finish it.  The idea is, get creative.  Help them out making a decision.

Just last week a customer requested a contractor contact them.  We called the contractor to make sure he had gotten the message. He had and already talked to them. We said, “Are they going to do the job.” He said, “No, they aren’t near ready, just started shopping.” “Not a good lead”.

A few days later we followed up with the customer. They had gotten another contractor and the job was already started.  “Not a good lead”?  “Not a good lead”?

OK, let’s summarize.  Carpenters don’t just drive nails, they sell too!

Painters don’t just paint, they sell too!

Plumbers don’t just install sinks, they sell too!

Learn how to sell the job to the customer and you will be the one working rather than the one saying, it’s a poor lead.

Will there be those that really aren’t ready after you meet with them. Sure!  So isn’t that a bad lead?  No!  Two reasons.  If you have been a decent and helpful person to them, if they have another project, who will they call?  And, do you suppose they have any friends that will one day need a contractor?  Who do you think they will recommend to their friend?  Yep, yours truly.

So, the next time you get a “bad” lead, turn it into a “good” lead. Because, there really aren’t many really bad leads.



  1. Your blog is full of fact’s. I feel the same way my last lead was) phone # going right to voice mail I left a office # cell # and web page link. Then I sent a e-mail with all of my company info and it was returned undeliverable. That is not a good lead in order to sell you must be able to make contact.

  2. I do believe that there are both. But to be fair, some of my long term deals have come from my own effort and not a lead company. I went on a sales call for whole basement make over into a man cave. I sepnt maybe three hours with the client and walked out with “We’ll call you.” A year later I got a phone call around lunch time and it was that old prospect. He said, “Do you remember me?” I did and I said, “Your the guy whos wife is grazy about football. He said, yes that is me. I ask what was going on and he said they were ready to go with the project. I found out upon my next meeting that over that year he had taked with about a dozen other contractors and none of them made the sense that I had made when I was there. This guy had an almost empty basement with alot of steel posts and no clue what he wanted. From the start, he told me out of all the contractors he talked with, I was the only one that made sense to him. What did I tell him: Well, first I could not even begin to give him a cost, but I told him, based on what he was talking about, the price would be some place between $50,000 and $75,000 depending on how much of the work he would do. You see, I told him I could not make this great space for him, as I could not get inside of his head and see what he was thinking. To him that made perfect sense. Yet all the other contractors has given him a fix price not knowing anything about some general ideas he had expressed to them. I.E. Wet bar, big screen t.v. etc. We signed a cost plus contact that day and began to do computer drawings of the space as I saw it and put in the ideas he had given me. We had to engineer everything as he wanted open spaces and that would mean taking out steel posts and putting steel beams, etc. After a few weeks of draswings we had reach a point where he liked what he saw and we began. At the end we spent over the $75,000 and he was happy with what he got.

    I guess my point in all of this is, I do not mind spending money for leads, but I would much rather spend that lead cost after I get the work and I would be happy to pay a percentage of the contact. It is getting a lead and you try to follow up and the people have beeen contacted by three others and at this point I am told we do not need any more contractors. So I am out of the lead cost. (I get a lead and I call or try to make contact within the hour of getting the lead.) I do not give up until I reach someone.


    Great thoughts and a great example of turning, what others would consider a “dead lead” into a great job. I especially like the little things, like remembering he liked football. Great and impressive touch.

    Good story!

  4. A bad lead is when you spend time and don’t get the work. Your time is very valuable, and the cost of that time has to be added to the work you do get. I am not interested in the client that is shopping price or just mining my knowledge, Consequently I have so far avoided paying lead companies. Hopefully my good reputation will continue to get me word of mouth leads/work.

  5. I agree with Michael, paying for leads that won’t even respond to phone or email,is worthless.

    When you check out how the “magic” lead company generates those leads,it is very misleading to the consumer.

    Get the lowest price,get three prices in 30 seconds, are what they tell the consumer. No wonder they don’t respond,they thought that they would get 3 prices in 3o seconds! Plus the invite the low price shopper.I’ve had a few people tell me this directly. We lasted a few months with them,but the “magic” wore off!


    David, Like someone posted in response on another post location, the problem is usuially not with the lead, but with the company sending the lead out. Spreading a lead too thin with too many contractors, can easily make for a bad lead. That’s why with our approach, we don’t send any leads out, only the customer does.

    Best wishes.



    You can say it, it’s music to my ears. 🙂

  8. Are there really any bad leads? The answer is and the posting that talks about the lead source that sells leads to three contractors and then when the lead is contacted they never return a call or email, that is a bad lead. The simantics of the questions is sales, how well trained are we as sales people? That is really the question.
    I can honestly state that after 40 plus years in several businesses and having been a top producing sales person, I’m tired of the BS we get from people and as such in my business I have simply adopted the attitude that if someone does not like my price or me than we can both go our seperate ways. I’m not offended and I don’t take it personally. I believe that if we do the work it will be the very best that they will ever receive and the best price for what is being done. End of story.
    If they wish to shop price that is their right, my loyal customers who appreciate both our work ethics, quality and attention to detail are what we are looking for.
    I can state without hesitation that there are bad leads as someone stated above some people are looking for the most for the least and will shop till someone “drops” them or the contractor and let’s be honest, compition is bruttal and you have many companies that are using “scad” labor (we are not a union shop) but you don’t get craftsman at $10/hr you get what you paid for.
    We always provide to the potential customer, copies of our insurance, license, and references and that does not guarantee anything but it is the way I like to do business.
    I’m done.

  9. Love the post Jim. I agree spreading leads thin is no good. The system you have in place could not be more fair. I get people just shopping all the time. I have been stopped while in a work truck or in line at a big name box store. Some people just need to know what it will cost. There is no such thing as a bad lead…bad delivery yes (magic) uughh…The lead should always be an oppurtunity to sell yourself and your expertise. Do not ever hang up the phone or leave the side of a potential customer without sharing your phone number or these days just your buisness name. Thats leaving money on the table…


    Thanks, John, you are always supportive.


  11. Isn’t it our duty to qualify a lead? If you are receiving that is more money than I thought or I have to think about it there was not enough front end work done and is the fault of the sales person and not the lead company. It is our duty to discover budget right away and then to design a solution to fit into that budget concern with options that may exceed the budget when the want and value beat the need.

  12. I like all the comments and I myself have never yet paid for a lead but because of the economy I am willing to do so now. Salesman is part of my craft, but I need the calls to sell. “magic’ is a joke and I’ve even called them for contractors and I saw how it happens. Jim, your new idea and approach will catch on and become big. I’ve been in this business for 35 years and there’s nothing more fair out there than what you’re doing and in time, no more “magic”, only used to be “magic” customers that climb on board and help make this work.



    Thank you for your kind words. Working on some new additions we hoope will make it even better. Thanks for your support,


  14. It is the best time to make some plans for the long run and it’s time to be happy. I’ve
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  15. This is exactly what I tell contractors that visit, but are afraid to buy leads from us, because they were so-called burnt by leads from other lead generation companies. Weezoo offers training seminars to contractors on how to sell homeowners.

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