A major issue for many small business owners is they do not have enough qualified prospects in their sales and marketing pipeline. Without prospects, there is no one to sell to, and no revenues are created. It takes time to generate leads, something which the average small business owner is already short of having.
To compound the problem, once a lead is generated, a weak or non-existent follow-up strategy is in place. So, a once-warm lead is forgotten, and a sale lost. Meanwhile, the small business owner gets back to generating more new leads. Talk about a merry-go-round and a frustrating experience! What a small business owner needs is a leads generation solution which takes the least amount of effort, and works.
Before embarking on a journey of finding new prospects, the first thing to do is choose a target market to direct your prospecting efforts toward. To do this, look at your customer history, and determine who your Best Buyers are—your Best Buyers are the 20% of your customer base, whom give you 80% of your business.
Look at this list. Do these buyers share any common characteristics, such as age, gender, income level, stage of business, type of business, geography, problem, etc? This buyer has already proven they are attracted to you and your work, so go find more buyers like this! So, look at your customer history, and write down a profile of your Best Buyers that you will prospect.
Top Lead Generation Systems
Generating leads can be a combination of both offline and online activities. Following are some of the most effective and best ways to generate solid leads.
You can start a direct mail campaign using postcards. Direct mail is not that hard to do, nor as expensive as you may have heard. This is especially true if you send post cards, and use a targeted approach to your mailings. Here are some quick tips to help you run your own post card direct mail campaign:
1. Identify a group of 25 to 100 people who will hear from you at least one time per month
2. Send a monthly postcard offering your free report, audio, gift, etc. to get them on your list
3. Have a clear place to send them to, such as your website, to sign up on your list
An alternative approach is to send out one postcard, each week, for four consecutive weeks. Then begin your monthly mailings. This approach is called a ‘blast,’, and shortens the amount of time to build name recognition of your brand.
Pay-Per-Click Search Engines
Another approach is to buys leads from Internet search engines, through what is called ‘Pay-Per-Click Search Engines’ (PPCSE). The two best PPCSEs are Google AdWords at google.com/ads, and Overture at overture.com. This strategy puts your website directly in front of people who are actively searching for what you are selling. You only pay for leads when a person clicks on the ad through to your website. Running a PPCSE campaign isn’t that hard, but there are some tricks to it. I recommend reading Google AdWords for Dummies to learn more.
Another way to build leads is to offer free teleseminars to your target market. Teleseminars are an excellent way to build a relationship and trust with your audience, because they can hear your voice, experience your style, and get to know your personality.
When planning a teleseminar, be sure you are offering it to a very specific market, and the teleseminar addresses a specific problem your market is struggling with, all-the-while making the seminar content very broad. In the program, talk about ‘why’ people need to know ‘what’ information you is presenting. “How’ information is always reserved for your paid-for services.
Speaking at Live Events
One of my favorite ways to generate leads is to speak at live events, where you can present your signature topic to a group. Whether you are presenting for free, or for a fee, this is a golden opportunity to collect leads.
An easy way to collect leads is to prepare a flyer that details your ‘irresistible free offer.’ If people attending the event are interested in receiving your free gifts, have them put their business cards in a basket you pass around. By doing this you’ve easily collected a group of leads! When you get back to your office, have your assistant add the people to your list, and send them the free gifts they requested. (If you have a double opt-in service, they will have to opt-in to receive the gifts. You may want to mention this at the event where you are collecting leads.)
Getting leads by referrals is the most cost-efficient, fastest, and most loyal leads you will generate. People referred to you tend to buy quicker, negotiate less, and refer more business to you. The key is to have a proactive referral system in place, and not leave this powerful lead generating system to chance.
Some ways you can generate leads by referral are by simply asking for them before you deliver services to your client, by making this request part of your contract. You can position this by saying to your client that you guarantee your services, and want them to be 100% pleased. Being that you expect this to happen, ask them if they are happy with your services, if they will offer you three referrals. Most people will say “yes” to this request.
You can also build a dynamic ‘Business Referral Network.’ Simply identify 10 occupations that already do business with your target market. For example, a wedding planner may identify a printer, baker, dress shop, stationary store, etc. as business referral partners. From each of these occupation groups, identify 10 ten individuals you want to develop relationships. Doing this will yield you a total of 100 business referral partners (10 occupations x 10 individuals = 100 partners).
These lead generation systems are effective, fast ways to generate leads for your business, and take the least amount of effort to yield startling results. Try just one method, or try all of them. Doing them on a consistent basis will help you increase revenues of your business.
Copyright 2009 Bonita Richter