This article was co-authored by Annette Bau.
Oh, good grief. Everyone and his pet dog has a lead generation strategy!
Let’s face it – leads are the lifeblood of any business. If you don’t want to continually suffer through peaks and valleys, it’s critical to have a few steady sources of qualified leads.
Because the options for generating leads are endless – from LinkedIn, Facebook, direct mail, blogging, referrals, etc., it can feel like you are in a never-ending maze. What to choose? Which is the best avenue?
We are all different. One size does not fit all.
First of all, save yourself a bit of time on the upfront research. Courtesy of Annette Bau of MillionaireSeries.com, here are some of the best strategies culled from the 25 experts on this year’s Lead Generation Summit, along with some of my own reflections:
1. Speaking for Free
Tom Hegna shared that one of his best strategies is to offer to speak to groups for free. For example, if your target audience is pre-retirees, some great speaking options include civic, business, or professional groups, such as a Kiwanis Club or Rotary Group. And if you know their interest is in reducing taxes and maximizing their retirement benefit, then tailor your presentation to those topics.
In my first year of business, I did a small public talk on Networking Strategies at a coffee shop. I had low expectations – my goal was simply to get out there, meet people and practice what I preach. About forty people showed up. Afterward, a quiet woman approached me with her card. She was an insurance advisor, and thought that their team would benefit from my knowledge. From that one humble, free talk, I ended up getting seventeen clients and the positive results continue to ripple through my business and my life.
2. Leveraging Connections on LinkedIn
Jeremiah Desmarais addressed prospecting through LinkedIn. He suggested that you identify your ideal clients, locate them on LinkedIn, ask them to connect (do not exceed asking 50 people per day), and then content with them and provide valuable articles and information.
LinkedIn continues to be an exceptional way to reach out to people. For now, at least, you can reach almost any CEO directly without having to make your way past a gatekeeper. I’ve found clients, developed professional friendships and gotten speaking engagements through LinkedIn.
3. Networking With Your Value Statement
Maribeth Kuzmeski tells us that while networking and meeting prospects, the first critical step to generate leads is to differentiate yourself and share your value proposition. Your message should include your “Simple Repeatable Statement of Value,” so that your prospect can identify who you are, what you do, who you work with, and what you will provide to them. This then allows you to rise up and stand out from the others who are also trying to get their attention and their business.
My added thoughts here are to make sure you put ‘what you will provide them’ up front in order to capture their attention.
4. Getting Referrals Without Asking
Bill Cates, one of the foremost authorities on warm introductions, shared the three components for becoming more referable: the new prospect experience, the new client experience, and client segmentation. He explained how critical enhancing the experience is for generating referrals, and for maintaining clients for life.
Even the most hard-headed businessperson is a human first! Paying attention to each prospect and client’s experience as Bill suggests, both feels great and is a shrewd business strategy.
5. Generating Leads through Millennials (Your Client’s Children)
Libby Dubick made a great point about how critical it is to meet and connect with the next generation so that you retain your current client’s assets (as well as acquiring their beneficiary’s assets). A great strategy is to create a relationship with them in a casual setting, such as conducting an annual family meeting where the children can learn about the finances and the plans for the estate. This solidifies your relationship with the entire family, as well as providing you with an opportunity to connect on a deeper level so that you won’t lose the assets when the parents die.
How are you feeling? Overwhelmed yet?
Has this reading turned into a quick-scan that you’ll probably ignore?
Wait! Ssslow down. Take a deep breath. Read through the rest of these strategies as you might peruse a travel magazine… just viewing potential adventures. You can narrow down and choose the right ones for you, later.
Here are five more field-tested and proven strategies to power up your leads:
6. Using the Power of Videos
Steve Savant revealed that in 2015, video became the #1 source for online consumers. Once you create your video (which needs to engage your audience and share a message), convert it to a podcast, and then transcribe it to your blog post (text). This allows you to meet your prospects where they are and to provide them with the format they desire.
It’s hard to compete with the power of video for quickly establishing rapport with your potential clients!
7. How to Attract Clients (So You Don’t Have to Chase Them)
Bruce Wright conveyed that the key to generating a consistent stream of ideal clients is to attract them. He explained how to accomplish an inner shift in order to become the person you need to be to connect to and work with those you want to serve. The secret is to stand out and present yourself differently, so that your business is relevant, and will resonate with the clients that you want to serve.
I love Bruce’s approach. My regular readers will know that this inner alignment has been a lifelong journey of mine. The more connected you are to your own core values, and more open you are to making a genuine connection with the people you serve, the happier and more successful you’ll be. Hands down.
8. Doubling Your Leads in 7 Days
Brian Appleton shared the power of leveraging your contacts. If you don’t have a funnel of ideal prospects, you can create leads through others’ connections by way of events, such as a masterclass, training, or even a webinar. The key is to identify a topic your ideal client wants, and then provide that insight, teamed with another firm or individual who already has a list of ideal prospects. This is an easy way to generate leads and to gain access to people that could otherwise take you years to reach.
We do business with people we know, like and trust. Brian’s got it bang on, here. Your connections have already ‘vetted’ you. Put together a quality offering that you’re passionate about and a percentage of your network will get behind you and make introductions. If you are respectful, personalize each request and never abuse your personal relationships, your contacts can be an ongoing source of business!
9. Lead Generation Conversations for Building a 7 Figure Business
Bill Bachrach reiterated that while trust is critical to an advisor-client relationship, it is simply the byproduct of other things an advisor does, such as their behavior, communication, and quality of work. By being able to understand what your prospects/clients truly want, need, or are concerned about, you create a business model that enables your business to thrive, ultimately for a lifetime.
10. Lead Generation through Direct Mailing Strategies
Richard Bufkin imparted that one of the best strategies for generating leads is direct mail. He explained that once you are able to identify the right message for your prospect, you gain their attention. From there, consistency becomes the key tool for turning that prospect into a client.
One of the reasons direct mail is successful, is how unusual a strategy it is these days. With email being so overused, direct mail gives you a chance to stand out.
Okay! You made it through the list!
Now, for these strategies to be more than just ‘lead generation candy’, and instead be genuinely useful to you, have a look back through the list. If you had to pick just one strategy, which one feels good? We are far more likely to sustain a new business practice when we choose something that not only seems to make good business sense, but that feels enjoyable and in alignment with your beliefs.
Wishing you a rich, happy and deeply satisfying career!
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Kira Callahan is an expert sales conversation coach serving the financial industry. Her private clients typically experience 30% – 100% increase in appointments and business booked. Click here to find out more about Kira.