Sales figures reflect the health of a business, wherein the higher the number, the better is the prognosis and vice versa. To sell more, the business must have high-quality prospects, and to acquire these, lead generation is one of the several methods that an entrepreneur can employ.
While a well-established brand sells on the basis of its reputation, the scenario is not as straight-forward for a small business or a start-up. A new kid on the block should be prepared to try out every possible trick in the book not just to take off but also to survive and sustain in the long run. Your priority should be to garner as many high-quality prospects in your kitty as possible, and this is where lead generation techniques can prove to be truly handy.
What Is Lead Generation All About?
Leads are basically high-quality prospects that can potentially convert into customers. Since these may not always be readily available, the onus is on you to help find them by using various techniques. To this affect, there are several options, some of which are cost-effective and easy to apply, while others may come for a price, or may require expertise and market know-how.
Before you start looking for leads, how about cultivating an in-depth understanding of this method? Listed as follows are the hallmarks of an effective lead generation method –
- Provides all details , like names, addresses, email ids and so on, of potential prospects who might have shown an interest in the product;
- Identifies customers who might be willing to undergo a sales presentation related to the product;
- Should be able to operate on ‘autopilot’ mode with minimal interference from the user;
- Projects a positive image of the product as also the business;
- Must be viable enough to sustain in the long run irrespective of internal and external factors;
Like every system, lead generation is based on a few basic rules. Once you have an ideal campaign in place, the next step entails figuring out how to derive maximum benefits. To make the most of the chosen lead generation system, you must –
- Follow the 80-20 rule wherein 80% of your business is provided by 20% of your customers, who can be described as being your ‘Best Buyers’;
- Create a profile of who a best buyer can be, and then identify and cultivate a segment of dream clients who would account for a large chunk of your sales;
- Attend to every single lead in terms of responding immediately, engaging with the customer, answering all queries and following up at regular intervals; the fact that someone has chosen to become a lead implies that they are interested in your product and have the potential of evolving into loyal customers;
Not following the leads or ignoring the 80-20 rule could spell disaster for your business in the long run. Therefore you must adopt a proactive attitude while tackling leads, from following up to interacting at every possible opportunity.
Commonly Used Lead Generation Methods
Given that there are several lead generation methods, it is but natural to feel overwhelmed as regards which to choose. To help you with the task, following is an overview of the commonly used lead generation methods that business ventures usually employ either singly or in combination –
Keeping In Touch With ‘Best Buyers’
Persistence and patience form the core essence of this particular lead generation method because it takes at least 12-14 months for the results to manifest. This method requires you to singlehandedly focus on the ‘Best Buyers’ by first establishing communication and then keeping in touch as part of relationship building exercise.
While following this method, prepare yourself to face a number of initial rejections before the recipient transforms into a ‘dream client’. Secondly you need to be creative in your approach, like adopting different formats, and offering engaging content every time you touch base with them.
Depending On Lead Brokers
Indeed this niche is sufficiently specialized to feature entities whose sole objective is to support business owners. Known as lead brokers, these entities thrive on collecting leads and selling them to business owners who require high-quality prospects. Going by the calculation that one-fourth of the total number of leads convert into dream clients, you must be prepared to invest a sizeable amount in this method.
Also make it a point to diversify your investment by relying on at least three different lead companies instead of one. This is one of the lead generation methods which, on being used judiciously, could augment your sales figures by at least 50%.
Utilizing Search Engines
Every time someone types a query on Google, where does your product page/website rank in the search engine results? Unless you are ranked on the first page, chances are you might not get as many visitors to be able to make a decent profit. Lead generation can come to your rescue at this point through one of its strategies namely ‘Pay Per Click’ Search Engines, normally abbreviated as PPCSE.
Investing in a PPCSE entails paying only when a potential buyer clicks on your page, thus becoming an active lead. On your part, the strategy proves to be good value for money because it makes you privy to specific searches related to your product and allows you to set the amount you wish to pay for every lead. Google Adwords and Overture are some PPCSEs’ that are universally used by small business owners, as they have been known to provide more than a 100% return on the investment in form of high-quality leads.
Very few people in the world are successful in resisting a catchy advertisement, particularly if it comes with a headline which is hard to miss and an offer which just cannot be refused. Advertising is one of the oldest tricks in the book to convince people to make a purchase, and because you can use it as a tool to attract buyers, it also qualifies as an effective lead generation method.
Common advertising channels include print media, like publications, newsletters and billboards, word of mouth publicity through satisfied clients, and direct response ads wherein the customer responds spontaneously to the questions asked. Regardless of the medium, as long as your advertising campaign is energetic and impactful, it should be able to transform neutral viewers into potential buyers.
Having a referral system in place is one of the most effective lead generation tactics because in addition to being economical it is also result-oriented and persuasive. The best referrals would be old customers, who have enjoyed your product/service and are sufficiently satisfied to recommend the same to their contacts.
What you must do is build up a strong referral system by offering an incentive/gift to people who refer your product. Another effective motivation is the lure of a free sample wherein those who use it can spread the word around while being awarded a certificate and filling out a survey form. This lead generation technique is all about relationship building and has the power to create for you a huge network to boost your sales.
Contrary to the popular myth, lead generation is not as complicated or technical as most small business owners think. In fact it entails putting into place all the usual online marketing strategies that put the spotlight on your product and boost your earnings. As a business owner you can use multiple lead generation techniques or just focus on a select few that click well with your model or product.
Do bear in mind that the ultimate objective is to earn profit, and the chosen lead generation methods should justify their selection by meeting this end.