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

 

 

Leadership Pt 2 – Building Trust

The second article in this leadership series is on trust, one of the most critical traits of a strong leader and necessary for success in the workplace.

Trust is defined as the reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, or surety of a person or thing – confidence. A 2016 survey by consulting firm PwC found that 55% of business leaders believed lack of trust in the workplace was a foundational threat to their company. Yet, to have a trusting workplace, leaders must first be trustworthy.

Below are exercises that can help develop and strengthen in all leaders. Remember to execute these steps with a clear purpose in mind, and then reflect on each upon completion. Build these exercises into your daily, weekly and quarterly schedule, to ensure completion and achieve greater frequency.

Building Trust

  1. Work with a small group and identify “trust busters.”  Discuss ways to avoid or eliminate trustbusters.
  2. Identify three team members who you trust the least and list those things that you distrust about them. Are there some common threads in all three? What is it that drives you to react to them cautiously?
  3. Over the next few weeks try at least one strategy to build a positive connection with each of the identified team members.
  4. Find a short article on trust and give a copy to each of your team members. Ask them to discuss it with you over lunch or before or after work.
  5. Establish a feedback group in which you discuss the level of trust on your team. Identify positive things that you can do to build trust.
  6. If you made a leadership mistake, admit it, and discuss it with your team. Note how the team reacts.
  7. Define authentic behavior for yourself.  Set some standards for authentic behavior and hold yourself accountable to them.
  8. Make a short audio tape in which you affirm your commitment to building stronger levels of trust. Listen to this tape periodically for motivation and affirmation.
  9. Survey your leadership peers to discover what they do to build trust with their teams.

Driving Positive Work Values

As you continually build and model trust, be mindful that it is only one of the values critical for success. While the specific values of each business will vary, a regular and mindful focus on developing those values is necessary to instill them at all levels of the workplace. Try these exercises with your core leadership team:

  1. Engage team members in casual conversations around the question…” What is a values-driven team?”
  2. Discuss ethical standards with your team members.
  3. Develop a matrix that shows the relationship between your values and your management behavior.
  4. Research managerial ethics. Report your findings to the team.
  5. Identify and clarify team norms or rules of professional interaction.
  6. Link professional behavior to workplace values.
  7. Write down the workplace values that define your approach to leadership.  Share them with your team members.

 

By Christine R. Spray