You have the right attitude and mindset. You have goals, a powerful goal statement, and you have an action plan. You have great products and services. You have sales and marketing tools. You have teams of professionals to support you from sales appointments to project managers to technical support. You have administrative tools, such as transparent reporting. You have the most sophisticated tracking system in the MPCP. So, what’s missing? What is the most important thing you need in order to create more sales and more business partners? Leads! Possibilities!
More Than Just Contacts
It goes beyond just having lists of people and list of businesses in your local area. It goes beyond having a Facebook profile, Twitter channel, and LinkedIn Profile. It goes beyond having a pile of business cards on your desk. The most important thing you need is to cultivate possibilities. By developing relationships, you can grow your business exponentially in 2020. People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Therefore, succeeding in B2B Services, like your WebCenter business, or your UnFranchise is all about who you know and who knows you.
It starts with a contact list, a raw list of names written down. Using a memory jogger may be helpful. Go through your phone, your email address book, and your phone contact list. Print your social media profile contact lists. Cumbersome? Yes. Worth it? Like gold!
It is through these exercises that allows you to realize that within existing relationships are contacts that need your products, services, and business. These will become your candidates and prospects. Is the list enough? Not nearly. You need to work this list and develop possibilities by building relationships, reconnecting, and establishing rapport and trust. You must add credibility and value to each relationship. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Therefore, the most important lead generation tactic you can use is networking.
Becoming a master networker will ultimately lead you to the right people who need your products and services at the right time. Meeting people, learning about them, discussing their needs, and genuinely caring more about the relationship than the outcome is the objective. Through this process, you will gain trust in your community where you will be able to meet with candidates and prospects, gain referrals, and establish great business connections. You are only as rich as the relationships you build. Join professional networking groups, social clubs, or just be active in the community.
Spread Out Your Spending
We are creatures of habit, which means we go to the same stores, same coffee shops, same restaurants, use the same auto repair facilities, hire the same landscaper, are comfortable with our barber, stylist, fitness facility, and have a doctor, attorney, accountant, and insurance agent for years. We drive the same way to work, we tend to have the same recreational activities, and this means we have limited our exposure to new potential leads or targets. So, if you haven’t put these businesses and self-employed individuals on your list, write them down. For every category, every business where you spend money, you should start to build a stronger relationship with them, their staff, and their patrons.
Now, it is a good idea to change it up. Start driving a different route and pay attention to the businesses you pass, the new buildings that may be opening, closing, or moving. Stop into a different coffee shop, order food from a different deli, try the new pizza shop on the other side of town, ask friends for referrals of other services. Now you have an entirely new-to-you list of contacts. Greet them, meet them, follow them on their social media, subscribe to the email newsletters, check out their websites. It starts there!
Here’s a tip: businesses that advertise have a budget for marketing expenses! They see value in investing money into their marketing, promotion, and exposure. It’s time to meet them! Check your coupon mailers, newspapers, lettered vehicles on the road, and the job site signs you pass in your travels. If you contact them, it is a cold call. Businesses prefer not to accept these cold sales calls. However, all business owners would agree that word of mouth marketing and referrals are their favorite clients to receive. So, why not network and meet them? Introduce yourself as a business owner in the area that would like to meet them to discuss their business and needs and share yours in hopes you may be able to help each other out. Ultimately, it will always come back to relationships and perceived value!
Have you ever seen a local business sponsor a recreational team in your community? Have you been out and about and seen people with promotional apparel, T-shirts, Hats, Sweatshirts, etc.? They are active members of the community and investing their time and money to support the community. They are well-connected, influencer, business-minded individuals. Meet them!
Internet Marketing and Social Networking
Establishing a strong in-person network may seem daunting and time-consuming to many. And with the advancements in Internet marketing and social media, there are many leads and contacts available at your fingertips that you have no other way of meeting. Is there value there? Tremendous. However, it comes at a price: time, money, and know-how. Determine your goals, your target market, your ideal candidate or prospect, and develop a strong action plan surrounding your Internet marketing and social media efforts. If you want to find people that are searching for your products and services, then Search Marketing may be of interest. However, in order to build a lead system, it will take advertising dollars using paid ad programs, such as Google AdWords. Or it will take content marketing by creating valuable online content that will assist in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), where searchers may find your content in search results. This will take a blog or website and well-written content in the form of articles, posts, or searchable images or videos.
What about social media? Well, there are 2.45 billion users on Facebook, 1 billion users on Instagram, and over 600 million active users on Linked In (https://www.statista.com/topics/951/linkedin/). It cannot be denied that there is promise in Internet marketing and Social Media Marketing. However, driving users to a website or blog still requires something the Internet cannot deliver to convert to sales, the relationship. So, while you may want to use Internet marketing tactics and social media as a source of possibilities, they are really just cold contacts. Therefore, the true art is to take the science of online lead generation and build offline relationships with those contacts. Using tools such as messenger apps, texting, email, and eventually video chat apps and video conferencing software, you can transition online contacts to offline relationships.
For those that are hesitant to invest their time or money into online sources, and don’t have the know-how to do this, you can start by being active on social media sites. Join online groups and follow other groups. Engage in these groups, and you will begin to establish rapport and trust. By liking, commenting, and writing messages to members, you have the opportunity to enhance your value and image, thus, leading to business possibilities. It takes time to develop your online voice and your brand. Share valuable content on your pages and within these various groups, and you will see your possibilities list grow. Social sites and apps such as meetup.com and Shapr are becoming more popular as it is evident that even through all of this technology, what people are really looking for is to connect with like-minded individuals.
In your action plan, you want to continue to add sources of leads. You want to add contacts to your database. And ultimately you want to cultivate these contacts to develop a list of possibilities that can possibly lead you to business: a customer, a referral, or a UFO prospect. But you’ll never know if you don’t meet people and engage in relationship building. Give yourself a goal. How many contacts will you add each day? How many new conversations can you start each day? How many possibilities and relationships can you establish on a weekly basis that you can advance through the process based on what you learn?
This is not personality dependent. It is process dependent. Just take action and be a friend-making machine! If you take this part of business building seriously, you can’t help but succeed!