One thing all businesses have in common, large or small, is they all have to generate sales leads.
If you are not generating sales, well, you are not in business!
A lot of my customers come to me because they have had so much referral business over the years they have never really developed a functioning lead generation system. Now, when those referrals start to dry up, they turn to me to help them turn the flow back on.
I want to help you develop your sales flow before that happens to you, because there is not much joy in digging your well when you are already thirsty! 🙂
None of this is instant, push-button stuff. It’s hard and it takes time and energy. If that is not what you signed up for then sorry to disappoint you. The good news is because it is hard, a lot of people avoid doing what is necessary!
Turning on the Lead Flow
For the sake of this discussion, I will call a lead someone who is in the market for what you do and has given you permission to talk to them.
Remember this diagram from my previous article about getting people from your website into your physical business?
What we are talking about here is Attraction, Permission and Engagement – getting as many people who are a good fit for how you help people, to give you permission to talk to them and keeping them happy until they take action. That’s it in a nutshell, but don’t mistake simplicity for easiness.
Start by Being Helpful
OK, we pretty much know how that works. You are helpful in small ways and people ask how they can pay you for more help in big ways. How does that look in reality?
- Robert is a business advisor so he has a free guide to (coincidentally) “Ending the Famine and Feast Cycle of Sales” – the people who go through his free guide give their permission for Robert to communicate with them, and a percentage of people become consulting clients. The real clever thing about what Robert does is he also generates sales leads by being super helpful on LinkedIn – of course the LinkedIn networking connection is the permission there initially, but it quickly moves to the telephone.
- Cody is a Realtor in Calgary who has a great deal of expertise about Calgary communities and local “lifestyle” knowledge. How does he express that? By posting a handful of useful articles about Calgary every week. Like Robert above, he was already doing a great job before I started working with him to take his efforts to the next level – their helpfulness is a genuine part of their nature.
- When I worked with Procter & Gamble as a marketing agency team member, one of our gigs was to generate leads for their fine fragrances products. Until we could communicate smells digitally, what we had to do was generate what is now called “Content Marketing” that attracted the key target customer and encouraged them to add their contact details to receive free smelly samples.
Before a prospect takes action they will evaluate if they really want to work with you or not, so you have to make it easy to see if they are a good fit.
Ikea has started developing videos showing how to assemble their furniture. While obviously attractive and useful content, the content also helps to dispel a key objection (“I don’t know if I could build this thing I want to buy”).
Another part of overcoming objections is proving that you can help people. Littered around my site you will see testimonials from happy customers. I would much rather have an actual customer talk about the experience of working with me versus a friend in the business give me an endorsement, but those kinds of testimonials serve a purpose too. The best proof is showing results rather than telling people how awesome you are.
Qualify Your Offer, Who You Help, and How
Don’t try to attract just anyone. Work to pull in the people you can best help. Other than Authority Blogger, there are many blogging products out there, so before anything else can happen I have to explain my course is for people with “advice based businesses” – people like consultants, financial advisors, coaches, speakers, authors, and so on. (I don’t teach people how to make money from adsense, and that kind of thing). While that obviously puts a lot of people off, it attracts the right people who I can help the most (and who can afford the program because one additional sale will more than pay for the entire cost of the training).
The webinars I run always have pre-sales questions such as “will this work for people like me?” and “who have you helped in the past”. Answer honestly, I would much rather turn someone away from buying (and I do, all the time) rather than have someone buy who is just not the right fit.
This means you have more fun because you only get people you can really help, and their testimonials and case studies further reinforce your proof 🙂
After focusing your message on who you help, what you do for people, your proof, and who you don’t help, then you need more and more people to hear about you.
- Network your niche – face to face is still a great way to have an accelerated relationship, but also use the online tools. Make sure everyone knows who you help and how.
- Spread your content – share and encourage sharing – tell people why they should care rather than ask people to share just because.
- Turn up anywhere your prospect hangs out – get in front of your audience where they already are and bring them home. That means guest posting. That means doing YouTube videos. That means public speaking (see networking), interviews, webinars.
- Publish – Write for industry magazines and consumer magazines that your prospect reads. Writing a book is also a good way to generate leads … as long as you connect the dots for the reader between your book and contacting you. Amazon as a lead generator? Try it!
See? I told you it was simple but not easy. Business is often that way … But this is really what you have to do.
Have I got it wrong? Doing these things but not getting leads?
Please share your experiences in the comments ….