Prospecting & Lead Generation Pt. 2 – Lead Generation

Part 1 of our series laid the groundwork needed to implement a prospecting process – making it a priority, identifying the ideal prospect, choosing the best prospecting methods, and making it a habit. With a prospecting process in place, it is time to start generating leads.

Generating new leads requires gaining the trust of your prospects. It is not enough to have an online presence. Prospects need to see you and understand you as a brand they can trust. Trust in a brand is created by showing expertise using blogs, webinars, videos, and other tools.

Become a Brand

Never underestimate the power of branding. Your brand is how your customers view you, so it needs to be authentic. Begin by defining your brand.

  • Review your company mission statement and company goals
  • Determine how your product or service benefits the customer
  • Choose how you want customers to see the company (luxury, reliable, affordable, etc.)

Once you determine your brand, it is important that you express it clearly and consistently. Integrate it into every aspect of the business. This includes the voice in communications, décor, and employee activity. For example, you would not want to write casual communications for a luxury retail brand.

Make sure that the brand is communicated in advertising. This includes marketing materials, logos, and taglines. Once the brand is communicated, you must be consistent in the execution.

Webinars

Webinars are wonderful tools you can use to generate new leads and demonstrate your expertise. Webinars do require considerable work and preparation, but they are worth the effort.

  • Create a webinar with a title that is likely to be searched by prospective customers.
  • Choose a provider such as Adobe Connect, brightTALK, and WebEx.
  • Develop a landing page for registration.
  • Advertise the webinar. Use social media, ads, blogs, and newsletters.

The webinar needs to be prepared well in advance of the scheduled post date and completed flawlessly. A well-executed webinar should be rehearsed. Additionally, the technology should be tested beforehand to ensure there are no surprises.

Blogs

Blogs are effective marketing tools. Blogs can be written content or done as a video so anyone can create a blog. Do not create a blog unless you are committed to it; create a blog posting schedule and stick to it. Blog posts need to be well-written or filmed, and blogs should be updated regularly. Your content should demonstrate your expertise and engage your audience with valuable information.

Tips for increasing blog exposure:

  • Comment on other blogs
  • Ask for comments
  • Guest blog for other outlets
  • Make the link to your blog easy to share
  • Choose topics that your prospects are likely to search

Engaging Videos

Companies can benefit from creating videos for various purposes. Videos can be entertaining or educational. When creating videos, however, it is important to produce a high-quality video – both in content and production –  so that they will become visible in the rankings. There are specific steps that must be taken to create effective and engaging videos.

  • Create videos that will appeal to your target audience
  • Introduce your topic immediately (the first 10 seconds)
  • Spend adequate time planning the production
  • Write an intriguing title with likely keywords in search engines

Avoid Common Lead Generation Mistakes

The failure of lead generation to be successful can often be tied to common lead generation mistakes. Being aware of these common mistakes will help you to avoid them. This list is not all-inclusive, but it is a great starting place.

Limiting Channels

A common problem that occurs in lead generation is limiting the channels being used. While it is reasonable to invest in activities that have a history of success, you should never limit yourself. Try new strategies because the marketplace is constantly changing. For example, do not limit yourself to traditional methods of finding prospects and generating leads. This will cost you exposure and potential customers. Likewise, limiting yourself to high tech channels means that you are overlooking avenues to new prospects.

Failure to Provide Value

Part 1 of this series stressed the importance of providing value to prospects; providing value is a critical piece of earning prospects’ trust. Unfortunately, prospecting and lead generation is often relegated to a sales pitch. Your prospects and customers do not want to feel like they are being forced to listen to an individual who is only interested in their money. Failure to provide value will almost always result in potential customers tuning out your message. Remember to always provide value when you are prospecting and generating leads.

Failure to Connect

Lead generation requires building relationships. Failing to connect with prospects often occurs in the follow-up stage. Sometimes people forget to follow up or wait too long to connect. It is important to follow up within the first three days of meeting a new prospect at the very latest. Additionally, you need to do more than making a phone call and a sales pitch. You need to build a connection. This will create trust and help solidify the relationship, which will improve the chances of a sale.

Failure to Try

A far too common mistake is the failure to try. We have already addressed making it a priority, but some people refuse to even try. People use a number of excuses to avoid prospecting and lead generation. This might include time, money, and lack of customer interest. Most excuses boil down to a fear of failure. For example, someone who has failed at lead generation might avoid attempting it again. It is easier to assume that lead generation does not work than to make changes and risk failing.

As stated in Part 1 of this series, success in prospecting and lead generation ultimately comes down to the salesperson. As renowned author and businessman William Clement Stone said, “Sales are contingent on the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect.”

 

By Christine R. Spray

 

 

Prospecting & Lead Generation Pt 1 – Prospecting

Every business needs customers willing to pay for the product or service the business provides. Finding and cultivating new customers should be a never-ending process for any business with a desire to succeed. Surprisingly, many businesses either take a lackadaisical approach, do the bare minimum necessary, or simply overlook prospecting and lead generation.

Prospecting and lead generation, while critical, does not need to be a complex process in order to be effective. Quite the contrary; a business with the commitment and mindset to consistently nurture leads and prospects has already crossed one of the biggest hurdles. Renowned author and businessman William Clement Stone said, “Sales are contingent on the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect.”

This article is the first in a series dedicated to successful prospecting and lead generation. People sometimes ask about the difference between these two. The simplest definition is that lead generation is a one-to-many activity, such as sending out a direct mailer, and prospecting is a one-to-one activity, like a phone call. However, after working with hundreds of clients, my advice is to consider prospecting and lead generation holistically, because both are required for success. This first article is a broad view of prospecting.

Prospecting is essential to any sales endeavor but is often overlooked or poorly implemented. In order for prospecting to be successful, it is essential that it becomes both a priority and a habit. Additionally, it is essential to understand your prospect and choose your methods of communication appropriately. Implementing these steps will help to improve prospecting results.

Make It a Priority

Although everyone knows that the prospecting is important to the success of any company that relies on sales, it rarely becomes a priority. It is often put off in favor of tasks that provide instant gratification. Prospecting must become a priority. This requires:

  • Scheduling: Choose a time for prospecting. Many experts advise people to schedule prospecting early in the day, but you need to choose the time that is effective for you and your prospects
  • Preparation: Prepare what you will say ahead of time but be flexible. Do not simply read a script.
  • Professionalism: Remain professional throughout the process. Do not allow an internal negative attitude towards prospecting affect your communication. Similarly, don’t take it personally should you encounter negativity from prospects.

Identify Your Ideal Prospect

Prospecting is time-consuming, which is why it is necessary to identify ideal prospects before beginning the process. Your ideal prospect is your ideal customer. Your company is able to fulfill the needs and wants of your ideal customer. Conduct research to determine who benefits from your product or service. The information you must find beyond how your business meets client needs includes the following:

  • Values and priorities
  • Budgets
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Buying habits
  • Profession
  • Interests

Once you have identified the ideal customer, you will be able to focus time on prospects who are likely to become your customers.

Choose Prospecting Methods

There are numerous prospecting methods available, which will be addressed in greater depth in a later newsletter. While you will probably choose multiple methods of prospecting, you must focus your energy on methods that your prospects will respond to when they are exposed to them. For example, younger prospects are less likely to respond to cold calling and more likely to respond to social networking and webinars. The better your research on your ideal prospect, the better you can select the best prospecting methods! Prospecting methods commonly used include:

  • Cold calling
  • Referrals
  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Networking
  • Seminars
  • Social networking
  • Webinars
  • Advertising

Every method is considered a “touch”. It will take multiple touches to convert a prospect into a client. Be sure to provide value in every touch you make with a prospect – how your product or service will ultimately make their life better or easier.

Make It a Habit

It is not enough for prospecting to become a priority; it must become a habit. There is a common misconception that habits are easily made within 21 days. Recent studies, however, show that it takes roughly 66 to 200 days. When you first decide to make a new habit, the first few days are easy. After the honeymoon phase ends, it is easy to become disillusioned and fall back into old habits. When this happens, it is important to focus on the positive outcomes and follow your schedule of prospecting activities. After struggling through this phase, prospecting will become second nature. In order to truly make prospecting a habit, you need to ensure that you are working at it daily.

 

By Christine R. Spray