Lead-generation is incredibly profitable for many home-improvement contractors. But many struggle to make it work for them. That doesn't mean lead-generation isn't a good fit for you. Sometimes contractors have misconceived ideas about how lead-generation should work for them. They stumble out of the gate when those assumptions don't bear fruit and feel confused and misled.

With a clear understanding of what to expect and an appropriate outlook, you'll prosper. Here are some realistic expectations for you to have about lead-generation. These expectations will help you accurately measure your success.

Expectation #1: Competition

10 years ago, drumming up business meant advertising in the Yellow Pages and waiting for the phone to ring. Consumers today have access to more information than ever and are much more knowledgeable. Nowadays, you can google "types of roofing shingles" and view thousands of ideas for what can be done. Usually, this knowledge plays a major role in the way they'll hire a contractor. Contractors used to be able to tell consumers what they need done, and then sell them on it. It was often a one-call close, but those days are over.

Today, homeowners are in control. They reach many contractors at once while they're sitting at their computer. They're calling the shots, and the contractors are vying for their business.

The adage, "If you want to be a dinosaur, you're going to be extinct," has never been so true. To stay competitive, you need to adapt to this ever-changing world we live in. You need to be savvy. You need to be online where the majority of people looking for home improvement work exists.

Expectation #2: Lead Quality

Lead-generation services do everything in their power to generate the highest quality leads possible. They want contractors to have the greatest opportunities for success. At the end of the day, some leads won't turn into jobs. Others won't even allow you to schedule an appointment or give an estimate. There will even be leads you won’t be able to reach. 

A key to success with lead-generation is to realize that the majority of leads are good and to focus on those. Don't let a rare bad one discourage you from pursuing the others.

Expectation #3: The Buck Doesn't Stop Here

Lead-generation services should NOT be your primary source of business. Consider it a tool to help you supplement your business. If you sit on your couch waiting for the business to start pouring in, you'll be disappointed. You need to get yourself out there in every possible way.

Most contractors swear by the power of word-of-mouth. With every completed project, you're adding to the list of satisfied customers who will use you again and refer you to their friends. An informative website and Facebook page will attract homeowners to you. So will a well-placed ad.

Expectation #4: Homeowners Need Your Help

Many contractors complain that homeowners are just "shoppers" and wasting their time. As mentioned above, homeowners are more knowledgeable and are calling the shots. They're driving the competition as contractors vie for their business.

But homeowners are knowledgeable up to a point. They did some online research and learned enough to "play the market." Beyond that, they need as much guidance from a professional as possible.  

The reality is, most homeowners have never made improvements of this size to their homes. Homeowners may feel overwhelmed about finding a contractor they can trust. And they’re begging for help. Anyone making a major financial decision on their home will be sure to make the best decision for themselves and their family. Understand what they're going through. It'll give them the reassurance they need and it'll set you apart from the competition. Oh, and remember: shoppers are buyers!

Expectation #5: Don't Wait For Your Dream Job

It's a good bet you've developed preferences of the types of jobs you're more likely to pursue. If you do remodeling, you'd rather renovate a full kitchen than an upstairs closet. And if you're a painter, you're more interested in the whole house exterior jobs than in the trim jobs.

Contractors tend to fall into the "I'm-waiting-for-the-perfect-job-to-come" trap. They miss countless opportunities to make money and expand their customer-base because of it. It's important to view every lead you receive as the incredible opportunity it is. It's never "just a small job." Every lead comes with the promise of more exposure, more happy customers, and more work down the road. Also, you never know when a small job will turn into something much bigger.

To sum it all up, understanding what you're going to get out of lead-generation will help you use it most effectively.  With the right expectations, you can steer yourself to success.

Learn more about the best way to reach the leads, how to talk to them, and how to become a closer.