Some of us have been operating our aging in place businesses for a while – offering construction, renovation, assessment, durable medical equipment, mobility solutions, or consulting services, among others. We have made inroads into the marketplace and are making a name for ourselves. Others of us are just getting started, thinking about getting started, or considering possibly changing directions.
If we aren’t established in our marketplace yet with the service area, product selection or enumeration of services, pricing, and other key parts of our business model, we need to take a step back and regroup.
We have a little preparation to do before we begin attracting the new customer – whichever method or approach we decide to use. The first step in attracting new leads is twofold: (1) figure out exactly what it is that we are offering and who we want to appeal to with our products, services, or solutions, and (2) determine where to find those people and how to approach them. This is not a simple process of just launching a website or opening our storefront and sitting back as people begin coming to us on their own.
In looking at what we offer and defining it in terms that are easy for us to convey to the public – especially the people we want to serve – and to allow the consumer to grasp and understand, we need to capture the essence of our product or service so that it is not generic (“we do remodeling or we install stair lifts”) and it sounds like we are excited about doing it (“we help people stay in their chosen long-term homes without needing to move from them by making the modifications necessary for them to do that”).
It should also sound like there is a need for what we offer and that the public embraces what we offer (“as people more and more are deciding to stay in their present homes and age in place, they are choosing to have people like us make the modifications that allow them to do that more easily and safely”).
Once we have a clear idea of what it is that we all about and what we want to present to the marketplace, we can proceed to the next step of generating our clientele. Prior to really having a clear idea of what we want to present to the marketplace, it is premature to solicit business. Any clients that we would get might be expecting services from us that we aren’t delivering, or we might be tempted to refocus our efforts to appeal to business that was available. In the short-term, it could have value in terms of producing revenue, but the longer-term impact of disrupting the business model we want to create could make such actions undesirable.
To begin generating new clients for ourselves, we need to consider who are attempting to appeal to and be available to engage them. Depending on how we market ourselves, people aren’t going to know that automatically that we are offering our services and seek us out to help them. We have to reach out to potential clients to take our message to them. One way to begin doing this is by investing time to contact and meet possible referring professionals and strategic partners. We won’t know of their interest in working with us or helping us and if they have clients who are likely candidates for what we offer until we make the effort to start a conversation with them.
Again, we must determine who we are trying to serve in terms of what they need, type of home they live in, age group, the budget they have for improvements, the value proposition we can offer them or create for them, and the amount or type of impact that we can have on improving their home or lifestyle. We then can approach referring partners to learn if they can match us with anyone they are currently working with or that they know. This can be a tremendous win-win-win situation for us, the referring party, and the ultimate client. This is why this is so important that we spend the time to create it effectively.
Meeting people we can work with is not hard, but it is not automatic. It requires a strategic effort. We have to put ourselves in a position where we can meet them or have others meet them on our behalf and introduce them to us. We have to make the first move and then be receptive to the responses we receive. Some people will be ones that we are interested in working with, and some won’t. Some will like what we have to offer and believe that we can help them, and some won’t. This is why this is a process – one that we must be dedicated to launching and maintaining.