Accelerate business performance with more leads

In a previous blog post, I told you about Brad Sugar’s simple formula for accelerating business performance and I promised to give you some ideas to generate more leads.

Brad’s formula (well, it’s not “his” formula) goes like this…
Leads x Conversion Rate = Customers
Customers x Average Dollar Sale x Number of Transactions = Revenue
Revenue x Profit Margins = Profit

… and the short story is that if you grow the five areas that you can influence (leads, conversion rate, average dollar sale, number of transactions, and profit margin) you’ll dramatically improve your business.

In this post, I’m going to give you some ideas for increasing your leads (and ensuring that they’re good leads):

  • Divide your leads into two categories: Your audience and then your leads. Your audience isn’t ready yet to be your leads. You’ve heard me bang that drum before.
  • Figure out what the difference is in your business between an audience member and a lead. Likely (but not always) an audience member is just a subscriber, and perhaps one who contacts you from time to time. A lead might be someone who is qualified to buy from you and has given you another piece of information. Once you know this, work towards getting this information and prompting leads to self-qualify out of your audience.
  • Create content that is targeted to your leads and offer it to your audience.
  • Make sure you have stuff for your audience and stuff for your leads and treat them differently. Don’t try to generate content that does double-duty. Stop trying to acquire email addresses and call those leads. Work on an audience and your leads will come out of that. Or, work on acquiring leads. Understand the difference.
  • Create a completely different site from your own, post an email opt-in report on it and collect names. Drive traffic to it with AdWords.
  • Partner with others who work with the same target market as you do and collaborate on projects that will expose you to the other person’s clientele.
  • Some advertising is designed to make sales. Some advertising is designed to generate leads. It’s far easier to advertise to generate leads and sell to them later.
  • Create leads on Twitter by adding value several times: Retweet something they say, comment on something they say, then DM them with something that adds value. Never sell in a tweet.
  • Put on a seminar. Back in the day when I was a stockbroker, this was a far superior (and dramatically underutilized) way to generate leads. Believe it or not, some of us went door to door or did cold calling. (It sucked, by the way). Seminars work so much better.
  • Treat lead generation just as you would treat a product launch: Blitz information in the weeks leading up to a focused lead generation time, then generate leads and build on that publicity.
  • Chasing down leads is fine but you need to build your business to the point where people are coming after you, desiring to become your leads. This will save you time and make you a ton of of money. To do it successfully, you need to have a powerful PR system in place that is creating a lot of attention on your behalf.
  • Systematize as much of your sales process as possible, including your lead generation. I got a huge boost to my business as soon as my assistant started combing through leads for me to find the most qualified ones. She highlights them for me and I target them and leave the others. It saves me time and effort and dramatically improved my revenue.
  • Go where your leads are but stop selling! Twitter, forums, blog comments. These are all great places to meet potential leads. But they are not places to sell. They are places to position yourself. When you’ve done that, you’ll attract leads and then you can sell to those leads. But not before. So, revisit your plan to do forum marketing but cross out the word “marketing” and put in “participation”. Go and participate on those places. Add value. Stop selling. Add lots of value and your leads will come to you.
  • Create something provocative that people want to talk about. Stop trying to do something that “will be viral” because virality happens on its own. But go for controversial and provocative and you’ll gain attention.
  • Triage your leads and focus on the best ones. When you’re done your triage, figure out why the best ones are the best ones and how you got them. (Oh, and if you don’t know, start recording every step diligently).
  • Connect others. Become known for being the person who connects others. Make introductions between your contacts. Build up a bank of credibility and connectedness and people will introduce you to others.
  • In spite of your best, efforts, you really can’t do it all. So test a whole bunch of ways to generate leads and pick the top 10% and relentlessly pursue them.
  • Although you do need to triage your leads, don’t worry at this point about how much a lead wants to spend. All leads want to spend zero (or close to it). Focus instead on those to whom you can add value and those who qualify to become your clients.
  • Get into your leads’ faces consistently… and professionally of course!
  • If you work with leads online, get them to talk to you on the phone. Build trust.
  • Create content that has your name on it that leads are prompted to download and keep in front of them. (i.e., resources, forms, ebooks, etc.)
  • Take the reins. Most of my leads want me to show them that I know what I’m doing and, more importantly, that I can take control of the situation. Don’t just talk to your leads that you have a solution to meet their needs; show them that you have a compelling, comprehensive, and effective plan.
  • Know exactly what it is that turns a lead into a prospect and work on getting just that information while building trust.

Published by Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and other books.

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