Editor's Letter: Keep Your Lead Sources Diverse

The Basement Guys, this month's cover subject, has an interesting take on sales and marketing.

When they founded the company in 2000, Luke Secrest and Andy Rehner decided they weren't going to rely on home builders and general contractors for their business. Instead, they would go directly to the homeowner to sell their services, which include driveways, patios, foundation repair and excavating. It means a significant investment in marketing and advertising, but it has led to rapid growth for their firm.

Depending on the focus of your business, this may not be the right approach, but the reasoning behind it is important to any contractor. The Basement Guys didn't want to be too dependent on one company for all of the firm's business, a situation in which too many companies find themselves.

I'm constantly amazed by how many concrete contractors rely on just one or two companies for the bulk of their business. It's a dangerous mistake, but a tempting one to make. It's a lot easier to just say, "I'll pour all of Dave's foundations next year, and that's all the business I'll need" than to go out and look for new business.

The simple fact is you never know what's going to happen to that builder you've tied yourself to so closely. No matter how successful he is, there could be problems. For example, what happens if the owner dies suddenly? Most construction companies don't have any sort of coherent succession plan in place. That situation happens all the time, usually leaving the company to slowly fall apart and the specialty contractors suddenly without the source of income they've come to count on.

The important thing is to make sure you have plans in place so that doesn't happen to you. Be certain you have enough sources of jobs so if a major builder or general contractor goes under, you're ready to deal with it. Whether it's by keeping good relationships with many builders or going directly to home and business owners, it's critical you have a diverse lead base.

Jonathan Sweet