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lead generation

Lead generation strategies are all around you!

When we meet with a new client, we get them to fill out a questionnaire which asks them what their major concerns are in their business. What is the most common answer, you ask? Not getting enough traffic ‘in the door’. Unfortunately, one of the common reasons that 8/10 small businesses fail is their lack of strong lead generation strategies. Almost every business owner we speak with is looking for more new leads. And there’s a good reason for this: the bigger your list of leads, the more opportunities there are to convert into sales for your business.

So how long does your search party for more leads need to go for? You will be pleased with what I tell you next… you can call it off! Our clients are always left gobsmacked once they realise the simplicity of increasing the number of leads in their business.

Now, there are roughly 84 different lead generation strategies, but if you start with these four you will most definitely be able to generate enough leads to keep your business growing.

Referrals 

Being absolutely free of charge whilst providing amazing results, referrals from existing customers is a strategy not to miss. Every existing customer is a walking, talking testimonial! And considering that in today’s world, one of the major factors that deter or encourage someone to buy from you are the reviews that are shared face to face or written online, having your customers share a positive review of your business is imperative to generate more leads. An easy way to do this is by making a habit of collecting testimonials and reviews and using them on your website and other marketing materials. This is a great investment in the future of your business, because repeat customers mean repeat business – so this lead generation strategy has an exponential effect. 

Strong Online Presence

Over the past decade, there has been a noticeable shift in buyer behaviour with our access to the internet becoming much more efficient and reliable. These days, 60% of the buying decision is made before someone will pick up the phone and speak with a sales person. If you have a strong online presence, you will consistently find new customers at a higher rate than your competitors who don’t.

Understand Target Marketing & Customer Acquisition Costs 

Do you look at your marketing as an expense or an investment? Good marketing which gains new customers is most definitely an investment. With that mindset, you will be able to develop a more targeted marketing plan, allowing you to market specifically to your niche. This brings good customers to any business far more effectively than broad-based marketing. Test and measure different strategies then invest the money to “buy” more customers at an acceptable acquisition cost.

Using Strategic Alliances

Need a new database of your target market? Why not exchange yours with another business?! One of the greatest resources for generating leads for your business is other businesses. A strategic alliance allows you to sell your product/service to your target market, by using a database from another business that sells a different product/service. Make connections, and find new customers!

Start by making small improvements in the 4 lead generating strategies above and you will notice a dramatic difference in your sales funnel.  Keep developing these tools and you are sure to generate enough leads to get your business soaring!

If you want to generate more leads in your business, let us teach you more strategies that are just right for your business. Click here or call us on 9146 4439 to organise a coffee with one of our coaches!

Now that you have a clear idea of where to start with your lead generation, I want to share with you a few helpful strategies on how to convert these leads into clients. But I will leave that for my next blog. For now…

“…You can’t hit a target if you don’t know what it is”

lead generation

It’s never too late to increase your lead generation!

Okay, so we’re three months into the year and how are things looking for your business? Are you doing as well as you’d hoped or could it be better? As we all know, action speaks louder than words and it’s never too late to plan for a successful 2017, especially when you look at implementing lead generation strategies that work for your business.

The first thing you need to do is think about your lead-generating strategies in 2016.  Did they measure up to your business plan and expectations? If you were less than delighted with the results, what’s your game plan to improve on that? It’s an important question that’s linked to the success of your business.

Bottom line: what are the methods you use to generate leads and are they working for you? For example, if you’re not looking at your existing customers as the first port of call to generate leads, this is something you seriously need to re-evaluate. Use your current customers as “crusaders” for your business, and you’ll very much be on the right track. If they like your business, it’s human nature that they will want to pass on their recommendations and experiences by word-of-mouth to their family, friends, acquaintances and so on. Be sure to prompt them with appropriate questions or promotions so that is activity is maximised.

So what’s the best way to implement lead generation strategies that work for your business? Customer service counts for a lot. Do your staff know what to say to your customers and how to say it? Do they know how to talk about your business? This can be an extremely valuable method of lead generation.

Its also vitally important for businesses to understand that you don’t just get customers, you buy them. When you have that mindset, you can begin to understand just what you need to spend on your marketing. What can you afford to spend (in marketing activities) to buy a customer? Now go and spend that amount as often as possible in ways that generate them!

Similarly, it’s critical to have an online presence for lead generation. Having this, and especially a presence on social media networks like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, is a great way to market to potential customers without the concerns of outrageous costs while creating the buzz every business needs to thrive.

One of the greatest resources for generating leads for your business is other businesses. Working in harmony with other organisations that sell to the same group you target as customers, but sell a different product, can be incredibly beneficial to all parties, including the customer.

As you can see, actions really do speak louder than words and there are countless ways to implement lead generation strategies that work for your business; in fact, there are more than 80!

To set up the right lead generation and sales and marketing strategies for your business, speak with one of our coaches here or call us on 02 9146 4439.

Selling from Stage

Selling from Stage is one of, if not the, most effective way for Professional Services businesses in particular to promote themselves.

Whilst it may not lend itself to mass marketing, it is typically a very high conversion marketing activity.  This is largely because, speaking to a group of people, it is possible to do two things that cannot be done by mail, by phone, or in an initial 1:1 introduction:

  •  Emphasise the pain felt by your targets.

There are questions you can ask and comments you can make about the specific challenges experienced by your prospects/clients that, in a 1:1 situation would be inappropriate and, by phone or mail, would be ineffective.

  • Demonstrate your capabilities. 

Sampling is a strong influencer in the psychology of decision making.  In a presentation situation, you can allow the audience to genuinely feel and experience what you do, how you do it and the results you could achieve for them.

 

The techniques below specifically to selling from stage. They do not constitute a complete set of tips and techniques for public speaking in general. To be able to sell effectively from stage, it is necessary first to master the generic skills of public speaking.  Those skills are not discussed here, although there are three in particular that are critical to underpin effective selling from stage and so those are worth highlighting:

 

3 generic skills of public speaking that you need to master to be able to sell successfully from stage:

 

1. Words tell, stories sell. 

Real life examples, case studies, testimonials and stories will be far more effective in engaging the audience. They will more easily relate to your material and, as a result, will be more likely to buy!

 

2. Tell ‘em…tell ‘em…tell ‘em. 

The overall structure of any presentation is just as relevant here as in any other situation: Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em….then tell ‘em….then tell ‘em what you told ‘em.  That is to say, begin by outlining what you’ll all be going through, then go through it and then summarize at the end.  In the initial outline and in the end summation, emphasise not so much what you, as the speaker, will do, but emphasise that they, as the audience will get out of it.  Use clear, directive language; for example, “what I would expect you to take away from today’s presentation is……….”

 

3. Any supporting aids are only ever that…..support.

There are certainly times when powerpoint, flipcharts and other presentation aids are valuable….just be sure to use them only as a minimalist support.  They should contain VERY little of your content and should just be used to demonstrate or clarify a point you’re already making.

 

Now to the specific skills of Selling from Stage…

 

1.       Before anything else, engage the audience! 

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Literally the first thing you say can (should?) be 3 or 4 short closed questions that ensure every member of the audience raises their hand to at least one of them and produces at least some form of engagement; usually a laugh!  This will wake them up, get the blood flowing, engage both sides of their brain and will also program them to participate.

 

These questions must be closed questions and must require every single member of the audience to participate.  For example, Brad Sugars usually begins with the same three questions: “Who in the audience owns a business?  Who in the audience is an employee?  Who in the audience owns a business but wishes they were an employee?!”

 

When asking the questions, raise your own arms – left arm first, then right, then left.  People tend to mirror and the majority are right-handed.

 

2.       Ask questions…..a lot!

 

If asking questions is the most important skill in selling, then it applies equally to selling from stage.  This is an effective technique for engaging the audience in general and also a very effective technique for emphasising their pain and challenges.

Often, these can be rhetorical questions but should still be accompanied by hand-raising.  Open questions can also be used, albeit sparingly and typically more with smaller audiences.  It is hard to get long and varied answers from 1,000 people!

 

3.       Position the audience to take action at the end.

 

From the very beginning of the presentation and then again during the presentation, prepare the audience for the fact that they will have an opportunity to buy/take action at the end.  Whether you have a particular special offer for them, whether you have a particular package you’re selling at the end, or whether you’re simply looking to arrange meetings with attendees, allude to this opportunity early in the presentation and then again during the presentation.  That way, their sub-conscious mind will be preparing to take up the opportunity and won’t be taken by surprise when it arrives.

 

4.       Any sized audience is made up of individuals. 

 

The most effective way to engage with anyone is 1-on-1.  In the course of your presentation, engage 1:1 with as many members of the audience as you can.  It may be by picking up on their answers to your questions or may be by responding to their questions.  Ideally, it is in a way that adds value to them.  Their direct connection with you and the law of reciprocity will then increase the chance of them buying from you or taking action at the end.

 

5.       It’s only relevant if they have a challenge or a situation.

 

In all likelihood, the only reason they’re in the audience in the first place is because they have a challenge that relates to what you’re talking about, or they want something you’re talking about.  Furthermore, if there is to be any chance of the taking action or buying from you at the end, they must have a challenge relating to what you’re talking about or they must want something you’re talking about.  So make sure that your questions, your stories and your content emphasises the challenges and/or opportunities that are relevant to your subject matter.

 

The biggest hurdle to clear with an audience before they will take action or buy from you is simply getting them motivated to do so.  The only two things that motivate people are pain-avoidance and goal-achievement so be sure to bring real emphasis to the pains and the opportunities they may be feeling!  In reality, pain-avoidance is typically the stronger motivator so usually it is most effective to bring more emphasis to bear on pains than on opportunities.

 

6.       If you don’t brag about yourself, who will?

 

This is also a great opportunity to demonstrate just how good you are.  Not only can you emphasise pains and opportunities that your audience are likely to be feeling, but you can also let them experience and feel just how great you can make things.

 

In the course of your presentation, case studies, stories about the results you achieve and how you achieve them, statistics about the results you deliver and testimonials from clients, can all be effective in emphasising this point.

3 Ways to Grow Your Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What’s the best form of advertising?  Word of Mouth!  Anyone who’s ever received one of those phone calls “Hi, my friend Peter recommended that I call you – I’d really love to engage you to do XYZ” knows the feeling – it’s exciting, it’s efficient and its great business!

 

Word of mouth referrals do sometimes happen with absolutely no effort on your part, other than the continued delivery of great service.  However, there are a number of ways to proactively stimulate increased word-of-mouth business:

 

1. Customer referrals – mandatory!  Be sure to have a program in place through which you actually ask customers for referrals.  It’s as simple as ABC:

  • Do your customers know who you’re looking for?
  • Do they know how to articulate your key messages?
  • Have you offered a reward to them or to the people they refer?

 

2. Referral partners – to increase your referral sources beyond just clients, join a group of like-minded (but non-competing) businesses and start referring business to each other.  The best-established, and probably most effective, is BNI.  Attend breakfast once a week and enjoy the inflow of business!  Apply the same ABC as mentioned above – educate other members of the group so that they can become great referrers to you.

 

3. Strategic Alliances – how many other (again non-competing) businesses are out there targeting and serving the same clients and prospects that you’d love to have?  Identify a few and start building your relationship with them.  Referring business to each other (ongoing or just as a one-off promotion) is a great way of generating word of mouth marketing.  To make it work well, apply the same ABC as listed above.

 

If you implement just two or three such programs and maintain the delivery of real “WOW” service, you’ll have a constant stream of word-of-mouth clients knocking at your door!

5 Fast Ways to Convert more Prospects to Customers

Conversion…among the quickest, easiest and most controllable ways to grow your business!

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Conversion” is the percentage of people who know about you and consider buying from you who actually do buy from you. Of everyone who calls you or walks into your shop, how many buy something? Just tracking the answer to that question will get you on your way to increasing it!

 

Once you know your starting point, then you can start improving it. Here are my favorites of the 80 different conversion strategies:

 

 

1. Sales scripts. Have you scripted the most important parts of your sales discussions? The opening? The questioning? The close? Do those scripts employ effective rapport-building and persuasion techniques? Have you tested different scripts to choose the most effective?

 

2. Sales Process. What is the process through which you lead your prospects? Are there sufficient interactions to build trust? Does your collateral communicate the right messages to the right people at the right time? Are you employing the most effective methodology for delivering proposals?

 

3. USP. How clear, tangible and differentiated is your proposition? Do your prospects have absolute clarity about how their lives will improve as a result of working with you?

 

4. Guarantee. Is your USP backed up by an effective guarantee? Risk and the fear of making a mistake are among the most common reasons people don’t buy….how do you overcome this?

 

5. Testimonials. Are your prospects receiving sufficient evidence of the quality of your products or services, of how many people are using them and just how much they have benefited from them?

 

Any prospect who fails to buy from you has used up some of your time, effort and money…..the great news is that the frequency of this can usually be reduced quickly, easily and cost-effectively!

get other business to generate business for you

How to boost your profits by partnering with other businesses

One of the best ways to generate business is to have other businesses generate it for you. We all know word of mouth can be very a very powerful marketing tool; getting organizations to promote or recommend you to their clients is akin to word of mouth on steroids!

 

So how do you go about finding the right partners and inducing them to endorse your product or service? Before getting into that it is important first to understand the underlying dynamic in all word of mouth activity. Successful word of mouth, whether from individuals or businesses, essentially comes about in three stages:

1. Prompt

The first step, often overlooked, is simply to ask (and keep asking) people or other businesses to recommend your service or product to anyone they know who would benefit from what you have to offer.

 

get other business to generate business for you

boost your profit by partnering with other business

 

2. Educate

Secondly it is important to teach potential referrers on what your target market looks like and on why they should be interested in talking to you. As an example instead of saying: “if you know anyone who may be interested…”, say “if you know any young mums living in Sydney who are struggling with work-life balance” or “if you know any local small business owners in the IT industry who are currently hiring”. Similarly make sure potential referees understand everything you have to offer and what makes you stand out from your competitors.

 

3. Reward (optional)

Depending on the situation, it may be appropriate to offer a reward to either or both the referrer the referee.

 

Keeping this process in mind, let’s now have a look at how you can solicit word-of-mouth promotion from another business rather than an individual.

 

The first step is to identify a list of potentially suitable partners. To do so it is crucial that you know your target market. Be as specific as possible: “females who are between the age of 20 and 30 living in the Sydney Eastern Suburbs, have no children and are interested in healthy lifestyle” or “businesses which have a turnover between $500k and $1m, between 1-5 employees, are located in Sydney and have been in business for at least 2 years”. Once you have a clear idea of whom your target market is, you can start putting together a list of organizations that tick some if not all of the following boxes:

– They serves exactly the same target market as you;

– They are not competitive to you;

– They have an excellent reputation;

– They have an extensive and up-to-date customer database (and are happy to share it with you).

 

The next step is to approach the companies on the list and pitch the idea to them. The key point here is to think through what it is you can offer – what’s in it for them. It is important to highlight from the start that you are not just wanting them to send you leads but are looking for a mutually beneficially relationship, a win-win partnership.

 

The partnership could take different forms.

 

The first one is a full-fledged strategic alliance. This is where the two companies agree to recommend each other to their respective customers and/or prospects on an ongoing, long term basis. The promotion to each other databases can include newsletter articles, joint seminars, blog entries etc. or simply verbal communication with clients. This type of alliance typically requires quite a bit of relationship building upfront, and for it to be successful it will require you to keep proactively managing the relationship as the partnership may wither after a while when the initial enthusiasm has ebbed.

 

The second form of partnership is a more short term, possibly one-off promotion called a host beneficiary. This is where you come up with a compelling offer or giveaway to pass on to the other company’s customer database. A good host beneficiary is a win-win: one company gets new leads, the other gets more customer loyalty as customers appreciate the value of the “gift”. As an example, a beauty salon could approach a hairdresser serving a similar type of clientele with a special offer for a beauty treatment. The hairdresser sends this offer to its database, presenting it as a gift to thank their clients for their loyalty. Later on, the companies could swap and the beauty salon could forward a special deal from the hairdresser to its client database. Host beneficiaries are powerful because prospects receive the offer from a trusted source, who therefore lends their implied (or explicit) endorsement to the product or service. A host beneficiary can be a better option if you are looking for a quick boost in leads, as strategic alliances tend to be a slower drip-feed of leads.