I’d like to share my years of experience and knowledge of sales to help you generate more leads for your business, so here are my top 10 methods. You by no means have to implement ALL of these to be successful in lead generation, and you may well have a proven method which isn’t mentioned, but the aim is to provide you with a golden nugget that you can take away and put into practise right away.
- Know your customer
- Use LinkedIn
- Ask for referrals
- Nurture existing customer relationships
- Have a rock-solid website
- Give value in everything you do
- Show an interest in others
- Implement automation
- Interrupt the pattern
- Pay for them!
To scale any business, you need a consistent flow of leads. This may be from multiple methods, or it may be with a strong focus or investment of resources in one or two.
Know your customer
It goes without saying that a strong customer profile helps you aim the right message at the right person at the right time. You need to keep an eye on your customers’ needs, wants, fears and desires to make sure you can provide what they need in changing times. The pandemic has shown how we have to keep close to the market and adapt to any changing needs or expectations.
Profiling your ideal customer provides you with great information about the words you can then use to attract their interest and importantly, clearly communicate how you can really help them.
You should be able to create a profile that when it is read by your ideal customer they think ‘yes that’s me you’re talking about! I want to work with you’, and they lean towards you with interest.
Now you know who you want to speak to and what to say, you can make use of LinkedIn and Google to find them.
Speaking of LinkedIn
I have an article on the website Start Your Own Business, containing ‘10 Ways to Optimise Your LinkedIn Profile’. It would advantageous to go through those steps before you continue any LinkedIn activity, just to make sure you’re sharing the information people need and that your profile is attractive and valuable to your prospects.
You can then begin to search and connect with people that you want to engage with. I would strongly advise you exercise the highest etiquette standards and refrain from using sales techniques in your connection messages or even in your first two or three follow up messages. A good tactic is to initially thank your new connection for connecting, and then give them something of value, something that will be of interest, perhaps a blog that shares your story and business ethos.
Ask for referrals
Satisfied customers are often happy to share their favourite supplier or provider with others, they just may not think to do it without prompting! You can also utilise your connections that have complimentary businesses for referrals and consider a token of thanks.
TIP: when asking for referrals be clear about the type you want.
Collecting testimonials and recommendations on Google, LinkedIn, Trust Pilot and similar are also great ways of providing ‘social proof’ of your service, so don’t be shy about asking.
Nurture existing customer relationships
Too often a customer is forgotten once they’ve purchased. Consider your relationship as the customer continues their journey with you. You can implement certain automation tools to ensure you continue a relationship with past customers that will remind them of your service, and prompt them to either buy again, or refer you on. As they say, it’s easier to take care of an existing customer than it is to find a new one, so remember to put some effort into that relationship rather than constantly chasing new ones.
Have a rock-solid website
Your website is the digital shop-front where leads go to be converted. It should convey your brand voice, be easy to navigate and help your potential customers make the decision to purchase. It can be written in a more formal tone than social media but will ideally avoid too much industry related jargon.
Don’t be tempted to say too much, but say enough! Too much content can confuse the prospective customer or enable them to incorrectly pre-qualify themselves.
For it to serve its purpose, your website should be safe for people to visit, so it’s advisable to engage a professional designer to keep up to date with plugin updates and security certificates etc.
Utilising Google Analytics shows you where improvements can be made, and your designer can you help you navigate this. It also shows you which other digital platforms have referred users in and which search terms were used to find you online. This information will help shape your online presence in other places such as social media, magazine publications and affiliate websites.
Give value in everything you do
Value can also be provided in all areas where you engage with potential customers and referral partners. Give tips, advice, share information that changes the way they view something for the better, give a gift; whatever it is share it on social media, in networking meetings and on your website as well.
Show an interest in others
Employ active listening, both online and in person. Could your product or service be of importance to them or someone they know?
Showing you’re listening on social media is also important so your audience can see you care about what they care about and more importantly, can help.
Some social media platforms include auto-response messages which help you provide answers to common questions quickly. Most CRMs (Customer Relationship Management systems) allow auto-response emails to be triggered along the customer journey, and online calendars allow reminders to be set for you to take action on a topic.
There are lots of ways automation can both save time and increase lead engagement, I have more thoughts on this topic in ‘What Business Processes Can be Automated?’.
Interrupt the pattern
This is a term I heard only recently and it refers to that moment when you receive an email, or see a social media post that stands out from the rest. TikTok claims to be the best at pattern interruption by adding graphics, stickers and music to each post, but there are other ways you can do it.
Try handwritten envelopes in an unusual size or colour, add emojis to email subject lines or social media posts, choose images and headlines that will ‘stop the scroll’.
Pay for them!
It would be remiss of me not to mention the opportunity to pay for advertising to find leads. This can be online, or in print, and it is very effective.
It’s advisable to ask a professional to help with PPC (Pay Per Click) ads, to ensure they are set up correctly, running efficiently and tweaked where necessary. If you are running a paid for ad campaign, have a think about the rest of your marketing and make sure the messaging aligns. Can you run the same ad in more than one place? Are you talking about the ad content in real-life meetings? Do all your departments know about the ad? There’s nothing more upsetting to a customer if when calling to place an order they discover marketing has run with a campaign the sales department weren’t ready to fulfil…
I hope this article has provided you with some ideas and motivation to begin or continue prospecting for new leads. You may also be interested in my free business e-book which contains 51 proactive ways to win more customers, which you can download here. Or if you’re unsure which methods will work best for you and your business, then let’s have a conversation.