There are many ways of attracting potential new customers and clients. The one that may immediately come to mind, because it is so commonly used, is advertising. However, depending on where the advertising is placed, it can be expensive and provide a relatively small number of new leads. The first rule of advertising is to appear in a place where the potential client is likely to see and respond to it. If they are not reading or looking at the places we advertise, we are not going to see many results - if any at all. This is true for social media also.
Another way of generating new business as well as professional contacts to help us deliver our aging in place services is through self-generation. This requires work and dedication. We may have some initial success and see results right away, but we need to be prepared to work at this over time. This is a long-term process.
The premise of self-generation is that we know people that we can interact with and we will meet people during the course of our coming and going that we can engage, briefly share our story, and learn about their needs and interests - including how or if they want to develop a relationship with us over time.
There literally is no end to the number of people we can meet and begin to determine who requires our help. It all starts with being willing to engage people wherever we see them and to be available for them to engage us as well.
So how does self-generation of new potential leads begin? We start with the obvious – people we already know in some capacity, regardless of how well or for how long we have known them. This includes friends, family, neighbors (current and former), acquaintances, former customers, referrals, and professional contacts.
Then we expand to those people we haven’t yet met – strangers. For most people, this has the most potential.
How do you meet strangers? Again, by being available and approachable.
If we are willing to meet people and have a conversation with them, we will meet new people. It all starts with the introduction. Meeting new people is not about booking an appointment or trying to make a sale. That will come later when, and if, the time is right and there is a need to have us help them.
The goal of meeting people is not to make an immediate sale but to expand our potential base. It’s the foundation of a budding relationship that can build into a sale or a referral. Without meeting new people by engaging them when we encounter them, we are going to be relying totally on referrals, online media (websites and social posts), and advertising.
The great thing about meeting people personally and then cultivating a relationship with them is that they are known to us and we are known to them. It's personal and direct. It's not passive like other forms of lead generation (advertising or online activity, for instance) where someone must first see our message, decide that they want to respond to it, and then choose to engage us. This is a multiple stage process before we ever get to put a name and contact information with a potential client or customer rather than having this information firsthand when we meet someone face-to-face.
Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.