- Creative (and Free!) Ways to Grow Your Business By Alan Melton
- The Best Business Coaching Programs: Getting Referrals
- Selling: Ten Things to Know and Do Before Making a Proposal By Alan Melton
- Measure Twice – Cut Once: How a Carpenter taught me successful marketing!
- Your Customer is looking through a different Windshield than Yesterday
- Design A Bonus Program for Your Team
- Selling: The First Meeting with your Prospect By Jim Sullenger
- Selling: The Art of the Business Conversation By Jim Sullenger
- Make Your Business Networking Count!
- Creating a Sales and Marketing Plan
Generating an Unlimited Amount of Leads for Your Business Part 2
Continued from Part 1
Get More Leads from Your Existing Strategies.
Increasing your lead generation doesn’t necessarily mean diving in and implementing an expensive array of new marketing strategies. Marketing and customer outreach for the purpose of lead generation can be inexpensive, and bring a high return on investment.
You are likely already implementing many of these strategies. With a little tweaking or refinement, you can easily double your leads, and ensure they are more qualified.
Here are some popular ways to generate quality leads:
Direct Mail to Your Ideal Customers
Direct mail is one of the fastest and most effective ways to generate leads that will build your business. It’s a simple strategy – in fact, you’re probably already reaching out to potential clients through direct mail letters with enticing offers.
The secret to doubling your results is to craft your direct mail campaigns specifically for a highly targeted audience of your ideal customers.
Your ideal customers are the people who will buy the most of your products or services. They are the customers who will buy from you over and over again, and refer your business to their friends. They are the group of 20% of your clients who make up 80% of your revenue.
Identify your ideal customers
Who are your ideal customers? What is their age, sex, income, location and purchase motivation? Where do they live? How do they spend their money? Be as specific as possible.
Once you have identified who your ideal customers are, you can begin to determine how you can go about reaching them. Will you mail to households or apartment buildings? Families or retirees? Direct mail lists are available for purchase from a wide range of companies, and can be segregated into a variety of demographic and sociographic categories.
Chet Holmes, author of The Ultimate Sales Machine recommends that you should develop a “Dream 100” list of your ideal clients. These would be your most profitable clients who are a great fit for your business. Not only is your advertising cheaper with only 100 clients to pursue, you are able to focus on them more until you win them as clients.
Craft a special offer
Create an offer that’s too good to refuse – not for your entire target market, but for your ideal customer. How can you cater to their unique needs and wants? What will be irresistible for them?
For example, if you operate a furniture store, your target market is a broad range of people. However, if you are targeting young families, your offer will be much different than one you may craft for empty-nesters.
Court them for their business
Don’t stop at a single mail-out. Sometimes people will throw your letter away two or three times before they are motivated to act. Treat your direct mail campaign like a courtship, and understand that it will happen over time.
First send a letter introducing yourself, and your irresistible offer. Then follow up on a monthly basis with additional letters, newsletters, offers, or flyers. Repetition and reinforcement of your presence is how your customer will go from saying, “who is this company” to “I buy from this company.”
Advertise for lead generation
Statistics show that nearly 50% of all purchase decisions are motivated by advertising. It can also be a relatively cost effective way of generating leads.
We’ve already discussed the importance of ensuring your advertisements are purpose-focused. The general purpose of most advertisements is to increase sales – which starts with leads. However ads that are created solely for lead generation – that is, to get the customers to pick up the phone or walk in the store – are a category of their own.
Lead generation ads are simply designed and create a sense of curiosity or mystery. Often, they feature an almost unbelievable offer. Their purpose is not to convince the customer to buy, but to contact the business for more information.
As always, when you are targeting your ideal audience, you’ll need to ensure that your ads are placed prominently in publications that your audience reads. This doesn’t mean you have to fork over the cash for expensive display ads. Inexpensive advertising in e-mail newsletters, classifieds, and the yellow pages are very effective for lead generation.
Here are some tips for lead generation advertising:
Leverage low-cost advertising
Place ads in the yellow pages, classifieds section, e-mail newsletters, and online. If your target audience is technology savvy, consider new forms of advertising like Facebook and Google Adwords.
Don’t give them all the information they need to make a decision. Ask them to contact you for the full story, or the complete details of the seemingly outrageous offer.
Grab them with a killer headline
Like all advertising, a compelling headline is essential. Focus on the greatest benefits to the customer, or feature an unbelievable offer.
Referrals and host beneficiary relationships
A referral system is one of the most profitable systems you can create in your business. The beauty is once it’s set up, it often runs itself.
Customers that come to you through referrals are often your “ideal customers.” They are already trusting and willing to buy. This is one of the most cost-effective methods of generating new business, and is often the most profitable. These referral clients will buy more, faster, and refer further business to your company.
Referrals naturally happen without much effort for reputable businesses, but with a proactive referral strategy you’ll certainly double or triple your referrals. Sometimes, you just need to ask!
Here are some easy strategies you can begin to implement today:
Give your customers a reason to refer business to you. Reward them with discounts, gifts, or a free service in exchange for a successful referral.
Offer new customers a free product or service to get them in the door. Then, at the end of the transaction, give them three more ‘coupons’ for the same free product or service that they can give to their friends. Do the same with their friends. This ongoing program will bring you more business than you can imagine.
Forge alliances with non-competitive companies who target your ideal customers. Create cross-promotion and cross-referral direct mail campaigns that benefit both businesses.
Lead Management Systems
Once your lead generation strategies are in place, you’ll also need a system to manage incoming inquiries. You’ll need to ensure you receive enough information from each lead to follow up on at a later date. You’ll also need to create a system to organize that information, and track the lead as it is converted into a sale.
Gathering Information from Your Leads
Here is a list of information you should gather from your leads. This list can be customized to the needs of your business, and the type of information you can realistically request from your potential customers.
• Company Name
• Name of Contact
• Alternate Contact Person
• Mailing Address
• Phone Number
• Fax Number
• Cell Phone
• Email Address
• Website Address
• Product of Interest
• Other Competitors Engaged
Lead Management Methods:
Once you have gathered information from your lead, you’ll need a system to organize their information and keep a detailed contact history.
The simplest way to do this is with a database program, but you can also use a variety of hard copy methods.
Electronic Database Programs
- High level of organization available
- Unlimited space for notes and record-keeping
- Data-entry required
- Examples include: Microsoft® Outlook and Excel, Maximizer
- Customer Relationship Management Software
- Variety of sizes: 3×5, 4×6 or 5×8
- Basic contact information on one side
- Notes on the other side
- Easy to organize and sort
- Maintain more contacts than index card system
- Easily organized and compact
- Basic contact information on one side
- Notes on the other side
- Can keep phone conversation and purchase details
We’ve discussed a number of ways to generate leads for your business. Take a look at some ways below that you can generate leads at no cost!