We’ve all heard about the sales funnel–that inverted pyramid that directs prospects through your sales process and eventually, produces a paying client. But how do you find the leads to hop into your funnel to begin with? Times have changed. It’s not as easy as it used to be. Customers are jaded to all of the marketing noise. And the economy is still in the tank. That means you may need to re-think who you’re targeting. And once you do, how you’ll get your message in front of them. Here are a handful of ideas that reveal how to generate qualified leads:
1) Be Strategic: Before you go out hunting for new leads, it’s critically important to identify exactly who you’re looking for. Remember, you only want to share with people that want what you sell & those with the authority (and means) to buy it. Your first step will be to build an ideal customer demographic profile that includes your customers age, gender, education, income, marital/parental status, career, and if applicable to your biz, race & religious affiliation. Then, you’ll want to create a psychographic profile. This article will walk you through the process. Once you know exactly who you’re looking for, it’s a lot easier to find them.
2) Be Social: Once you’ve got your profiles nailed, find out where these people hang out, and go there. Chances are, your customers are engaging on at least one of the social media platforms–be it LinkedIn, Facebook, P’interest, Google+, Twitter or YouTube. Once you figure out where your audience hangs out, jump in and join the conversation. Look for opportunities to share your expert advice by answering questions or revealing insights. Your target market will eat up your brain dumps! And then they’ll begin to trust you and inquire about your services.
3) Build alliances. Who do you know that shares your target market, but doesn’t compete with you? How can you cross promote each other? For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, you’ll want to develop strategic alliances with florists, caterers, d.j.’s and other wedding industry professionals. Take the time to get to know the best in your class. Then, propose a way to cross-promote each other and watch the qualified leads start to flow both ways.
4) Give away good stuff: Once people find you, they’ll likely jump over to your website to check you out. When they get there, give them something in exchange for signing up for your list. Something good. (You do have a list, right?! If not, hurry up and do something about that. You’ve got to stay in front of your prospects if they’re not ready to buy the day you meet them!) Make sure your freebie is valuable–really valuable. If you’ll make thousands of dollars from securing just one new client, giving away something worth $50 shouldn’t even make you blink. You’ll know you’ve picked a good freebie when you find yourself sitting on the fence thinking “should I really give this away for free? This is valuable!” This is one very effective way to get your prospects to give you permission to stay in front of them. And that’s worth its weight in gold. Once you’ve successfully captured their info, follow up with fiercely targeted communiques and you’ll have a full pipeline of qualified leads in no time.
5) Be present: Get out there and network the old fashioned way, face-to-face. Ask the people you meet thoughtful questions. Listen 2x more than you talk. Instead of bringing your usual stack of business cards, bring ONE. And give it out when you meet the person that really wants and needs what you sell. Be purposeful.
And there you have it. How to generate qualified leads in 5 simple steps. Sure, there’s a lot more that I could add to this list, but this is probably enough to keep you occupied for a bit! What are some of your favorite ways to generate qualified leads?