If you’re like most businesses, the tool you need most to succeed in your business is a steady supply of qualified leads. What happens when you don’t have this all-important resource? If you’re like many, you focus on prospecting only when your well has run dry. But then it’s too late because it takes time to farm those new leads. So not having a steady supply of qualified leads yields peaks and valleys in your business cycle. You either have too much work or not enough!
So, we all need a steady system of lead generation activities to keep the sales flow even or at least devoid of large peaks and valleys. But how do we do that?
First, we can find a few networking opportunities that we work continuously to generate new prospects. As we discussed last month, networking opportunities come in two main types: The first type, I call “Cattle Call Networking Opportunities.” These are events that bring together a variety of individuals eager to build their referral network and to get new business.
The second, I refer to as “Relationship-Building Networking Opportunities.” These are membership groups like BNI chapters that focus on building a referral network for the long term. We recommend regular participation in both types of groups to keep the prospect hopper full.
But most of us find that networking alone is not enough to keep fresh leads flowing. We recommend a formal lead generation process that continues to unearth new business leads as well as referral sources.
One way we have found to be extremely successful is to mine promising business categories and referral sources using a combination of LinkedIn, email and telemarketing. We use the recruiter version of LinkedIn that allows for maximum search potential by industry type, position in the company, number of employees, etc. Let’s say you’re a commercial insurance agent. You would look for business owners in industries you have found success with in the past, such as building contractors. Let’s say you’re a mortgage broker looking for referral sources. You would search for real estate agents.
First, you would invite these prospects to connect on LinkedIn and perhaps to meet for coffee. Statistically, about 25% of these new contacts will list their email address and phone number. You could follow up with them in the second and third weeks by email and phone. Generally, you should see success rates of 2% for recruiting leads and 10% for referral sources.
Sure, this is time-consuming. Depending on how much your time is worth, you could outsource this process to a marketing firm like ours. We recommend an initial trial of ten hours per week for four weeks. We plan the campaign, tweak it to optimize it, then build on it once it is performing well.
If you’d like to discuss lead generation further, call me at (502) 897-3020 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.