Leads are the lifeblood of any service-oriented business, but when you and your team get busy, it’s easy to forget the importance when your day is spent putting out fires. One tip is to remember that every single phone call is a lead.

How is that possible? Read on for our take, and a few easy suggestions.

Incoming phone calls are generally made up of people interested in your product or service, people who are already in your sales process, existing customers and people who want to sell you something. Every one of those represents a potential lead.

People interested are the natural leads – they are calling to learn more by asking questions, or to schedule an appointment. These are high-value contacts, and even if they aren’t a good fit today, they may be in the future. And they know people who are a good fit. Treat them right from the start and you’ll have a referral source at worst, and possibly a customer AND referral source!

Existing leads call because they have questions, need to confirm or reschedule or otherwise need nurturing. Don’t assume they are a lock just because they are on the calendar. Good customer service when they call will have them looking forward to the appointment, and feeling good about moving forward.

Existing customers are your best source for new business – either as repeat buyers or referral sources. Every interaction with them should reinforce that they made the right choice in selecting your company, even if they are unhappy when they call. Every customer is a potential golden goose for new business and should be treated as such!

Sales calls are frustrating, but if it’s someone local, they may have a current or future need for your service, or know someone who does. Every person who calls has friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers who are potential customers of yours. If you or your staff get tired of incoming sales calls, make it a game to turn those calls into referral sources for your company! Add them to your newsletter, suggest they follow your company on social media and treat them like potential sources of new business.

Every time the phone rings, you and your team should hear the “cha-ching” of a cash register. Think “That’s money calling” and you’ll improve customer experience, and the potential for more business.