The industry seems to have had a roaring start to this year, and this was evident in our showroom last Saturday where we had 21 couples visit us in the space of a six hour day. We haven’t had a day like that in a very long time. All being well we’ll be reading lots more positive news from installers all year round. But whilst I welcome good news and positivity, there is one thing that continues to bug me.

Installers and manufacturers seems to have got into this habit of calling things like brochure requests and visits to showrooms by customers leads. Now when I first started selling 8 years ago, a lead was where you sat down in front of the customer in their home and did the usual demonstration and measuring up of whatever they needed you to measure up for. So in that time, when was the term “lead” redefined?

To me a lead will always be that, a physical sales meeting between the business and the customer. A lead to me is NOT when someone asks for brochures without making an appointment to see a member of staff. It also won’t be a lead if a couple comes to have a look at the showroom only. It also won’t be a lead if a customer rings up to make enquiries over the phone, again without making a follow up appointment. Last one – a lead is also not when someone downloads brochures from a website.

If companies are going to be recording stats like these, then for me they should be being recorded as enquiries. And enquiry is just that, when someone makes an initial attempt to gain information – this is NOT a lead. I realise I am going to get quite a few of you which disagree with that stance, but if we are going to look at this in the strictest terms, leads and enquiries are completely different things.

I think lines have blurred like this over the years because many have realised that a redefining of the word lead would mean that enquiries or brochure requests could also be added to the numbers and give them a significant boost. This is fine, but stuff like this needs to be recorded accurately so it’s not misleading.

It might seem a very small irritation for some, but when companies are boasting about how many “leads” they have had, it isn’t always accurate. For example, I mentioned that we had 21 couples in the showroom. I could have said that we made 21 leads on Saturday, or at the very least had 21 enquiries. But no, the reality is that a third of those who came in made actual appointments (leads), the rest took brochures, explored the showroom and intended to make an appointment with us later on when it suited them.

So, lets keep leads and enquiries defined! Anyway, that’s my bugbear off my chest. Feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comments section below!