This subject could evolve into quite interesting rabbit trails in different directions.

And don’t get too professionally snobby on me either. All of us in business pay for leads in one way or another.

Our Quad State region is a microcosm of business breadth and depth of the greater USA as a whole. And ALL of us pay for leads. Let me explain.

Depending on What Business You Are In, Leads Cost Different Amounts

When I cut my teeth in marketing in the mid-1970s, I was working with professional advice marketers: attorneys, accountants, consultants and so on.

Advertising and marketing are two different disciplines of business. Yet so often we lazily lump them together as meaning the same thing–to our bank account’s peril.

If you are an attorney or an accountant, just an average client may be worth $50, to $100,000 and much more over the client’s lifetime with you. Therefore, you reason, you can spend maybe $3,000/month or more on advertising to troll for clients.

Let’s leave out strategically segmenting your potential client pool so that your ‘ideal client’ is closer to the bulls-eye of your target market. (We could go on!)

All I want to get across is that you have to take into consideration a) the average worth of your customer’s piece of business over, say, a 12-month period; and b) the lifetime value of the same customer.

You Work with MARKETING to Determine Short and Long Term Value–not ADVERTISING

Obviously, if you have a retail store with walk in customers, you can still figure out what each walk-in is worth to your cash flow.

I don’t think I’m telling tales out of school, but the senior Mr. Martin of Penn Avenue Meats in Hagerstown had all this down to the type of sandwich or amount of groceries he sold. It was a genuine pleasure talking marketing with him a few years ago.

Do You Have an Active Referral Program In Your Business?

Once you determine what your average customer, patient, client is worth to you, you can set up your marketing strategy to hone in on the 20% of your customers who provide 80% of your revenue.

That could mean cash payments for referrals. (Gasp! Cash?)

Yep. Money really does move markets. OK, I know that the ‘professional organization’ to which your trade belongs frowns on giving cash for referrals.

But ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to say that after over 40 years working in many different marketplaces, there is ALWAYS a way to find the sweet spot in a ‘professional courtesy’ program. And it doesn’t always have to do with cash.

There are bartering potentials, too, that you can explore.

And I am not saying that you should be attempting to do ANYTHING illegal or unethical. Those who know me know that I’m a stickler for doing what’s  right.

What I am saying is that if two parties want to do business on a quid pro quo manner, there is ALWAYS something legal and ethical that can be created from a happy medium understanding.

Are You Making Your Website Do Double and Triple Duty as to Lead Generation?

You’ve seen a lot of digital lead gen stuff here in the Quad State Business Journal. Making the search engines find your customers is a whole lot better than paying for them on a case by case basis. (Although some clients I’ve had would rather pay me for the bird-in-hand customer results as opposed to setting up their own lead gen system. Granted that does take a little extra work–for the one managing.)

There are some terrific webmasters here in our Quad State region. And many of them know how to set your website to ‘Fish!’ mode for 24/7/365 customer searching.

But all webmasters are not the same. Some simply do not know how to set up your computer for lead generation. Others just stick to one or two disciplines.

However, there are always rainmaker marketers that will be willing to take a few hundred bucks in return for giving you a fish. Feel free to check with us! But you may figure that it’s well-worth that few hundred bucks to snag a $10,000 customer.





About Steve Lanning

Steve Lanning is a nationally recognized entrepreneur who has been creating his own paycheck since 1975 and loves to help others do likewise. As the founder of both the National Association of Business Coaches (sold in 2002) and the Consultants National Resource Center (for all marketers of professional services), he and his family have lived in three of the four states in our Quad State region. His passion is to see individuals and small businesses, start-ups to mature, discover and promote their strengths in building revenue streams individually, that, collectively, make for a strong region as reported on and celebrated by the Quad State Business Journal. He can be contacted at

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