Five Ways to Create Business Leads
You know your business needs people to sell to. You also know you need leads to make that happen. Here are five ways to create them.
Q. What is the one thing every business needs?
A. People to sell to.
You can have the best shop, the greatest website, all the talent in the world. You can even have products or services that beat the opposition hands down. If you don’t have people to sell to, you’re not going to last very long.
There are a few industries which can literally follow the ‘build it and they will come’ model and experience success. Lucky them! A sneaky secret, though – there really aren’t that many of them, and most who think they are in that sweet spot, are in for a rude surprise.
If you know you need to go out and get clients and customers, you’re already several steps ahead of many of your competitors. The problem is, how do you find prospects?
Fortunately, there are a few tried and tested ways which have worked for centuries. I mean, if they’ve helped grow the biggest companies in the past, why reinvent the wheel, right?
1. Perhaps the most effective, but arguably most daunting, method is calling people. But who, I hear you ask? Simple, your target market. The bad news? Unless you happen to know everybody with whom you could possibly do business, you’re going to have to make cold calls. Scary, huh? Well, yes, at the beginning, but trust me, you’ll get used to it. It’ll also go more smoothly if you take the time to create a short phone script first.
The only problem is cold calling is much more practical with B2B marketing. With B2C, you need to be sure the people you’re phoning haven’t registered not to receive marketing calls. Negligence of this aspect could land you in hot water!
2. Networking and referral building are powerful ways of generating business leads. By getting to know others, you’re making important contacts. They may well have an interest in your services or products, but they can also recommend you to others. When they do so, the person hearing about your business will automatically have faith in your ability to deliver. They’re being told about you by someone they already trust, after all.
3. Positioning yourself as an expert can make you the go-to person for your product or service. You can do this by appearing on radio, podcasts or in local print media. You can also build a reputation by writing a blog or adding quality content to social networks. Spend time thinking about which platforms your prospective clients are most likely to engage with and target them. If you do decide to go down the written word route, and let’s face it, seeing your name in print does carry a lot of weight with potential clients, there are a couple of options open. First, you can write the material yourself. Alternatively, if you want a very high quality of writing, or are short on time, you can hire a copywriter.
4. Did I say cold calling is the most daunting method? There will be some who doubt that when I make the next suggestion: public speaking. Again, like number three, this positions you as an expert. If standing in front of a room of people is your thing, and there are many who thrive in this environment, then start looking for suitable organisations in your area which need people to speak at events. The added bonus is, if you gain a strong enough reputation, you may even have a very profitable sideline as a guest speaker ahead of you!
5. Advertising works... for certain industries. Businesses selling products are likely to benefit from using adverts, ones focusing on services less so. That’s because the buying processes are different for tangible and intangible items. If you want to buy a bar of chocolate, a product, you can go to a shop, pick one up off the shelf, hold it, perhaps even smell it, all before making a purchase. You can’t do that with financial advice or a massage. That means there needs to be trust before a client will buy a service.
That’s not to say services don’t benefit from advertising. Banks, insurance companies, even law firms are regularly seen during commercial breaks. If they’re putting serious money into TV ads, you can be sure they’re getting clients through the door as a result. Their reputations are already solid though, trust has been long-established, and the publicity serves more as a reminder to potential buyers. Faith is important when paying for a product too, particularly when the item is expensive, but it is absolutely critical for services.
For product-based businesses, advertising is proven to be successful, otherwise why would all the biggest companies do it? To maximise your chances, you’ll want to carefully craft your advert or have someone, for example, a copywriter, who has those skills and the time to do your campaign justice write it for you.
One thing is absolutely key if you do decide to go down the advertising route: make sure you measure your return on investment (ROI).