Leads are an essential growth component of every business. A constant stream of leads is one element of many that creates sustainability within a small business. Leads can come from many places. A business owner should have at least three different places that generate lead flow. One of the first places I like to see leads come from is your website. The site should be optimized and search engine friendly. Positioning your website to be on the first page of Google will produce qualified prospects who want what you sell. The only thing the prospect will need is more information to make a buying decision.
Advertising is another way a business owner can generate a lead. Understanding how to leverage the strategic side of marketing can help achieve phenomenal results. Too many business owners are quick to say direct mail, social media, radio or TV doesn’t work. It was not the medium (tactical side of marketing) that failed you; it was what you said and how you said it (the strategic side) that failed you. Once the business owner understands how to effectively convey the value they provide, generating a lead is a breeze.
Prospecting is the act of generating leads without advertising. Prospecting could involve calling a target list or foot canvassing in a specific area. Do you have marketing materials? Prospects need time to make an informed decision at the speed their brain can process information. You telling them everything during a sales visit will not always be enough. A marketing piece (leave behind) that can support the prospects decision-making process will move them along the sales process and ultimately compel them to buy.
Having sales collateral allows your information to be shared with someone the prospect knows who may need your product or service right now. Where I see small business owners over look an opportunity in their marketing material is their business card. Offer more than just your contact and website info. Provide a link on your business card that leads to a video or free report that can educate and move a prospect along the sales process.
When you don’t have a lot of money to spend on creating leads, networking is an excellent solution to create new opportunities to obtain new business. Attend networking events and engage contacts strategically. Your goal is to connect with the people in the room who have relationships with referral partners who are already doing business with your potential clients. Please do not attend these events looking to sell to the people in the room. Go with the goal of getting connected to your target. The power words here are strategic alliance. Please don’t be selfish, once someone has offered to introduce you to someone in their network, be sure to ask them, “How can I help you?”