The ability to set a revenue goal and turn that number into reality is one of the most empowering feelings as an entrepreneur. It comes from the confidence in your ability to not only sell prospects on buying your product or working with you as a consultant, but generate the leads that bring those prospects to your door. We talk a lot about closing the deal on MOMeo Magazine.com, but what about lead generation? How can we find new sources of leads to continually fill out sales funnel and avoid those nasty cash flow crunches?
So happy you asked.
10 Ways to Generate New Leads for Your Business
Not all the suggestions below will work for your business or suit your personal selling style, but hopefully it will inspire you to take action. The #1 way to generate more business for yourself is to start d-o-i-n-g something about it, even if all you do is start talking up your business to your next door neighbor.
#1: Reach Out to Ideal Clients — Decide which companies or people you would absolutely love to work with and let them know. Flattery goes a long way in getting you in the front door, but it has to be done sincerely. Pick 2 to 3 companies that you admire and reach out to them. Remember, approach is everything so the more creative, the better.
#2: Send Out a Press Release — Ask yourself what expertise you can offer to the marketplace and turn that idea into a self-serve story (aka a tips sheet) to send out as a press release. You NEVER know who is reading that press release or what will come of it, but one thing is for sure, if you don’t send it, nothing will happen. It’s always a good idea to include earned media in your marketing matrix.
#3: Interact via Social Media — Start engaging with the companies you want to work with via social media. Treat it as you would any networking venue and share valuable insights and give thoughtful feedback on their content. People decide many things about you based on your social media interaction so get out there and show them how smart you are!
#4: Write a Blog Post — Think of your blog as an extension of your social media interaction. It’s the perfect opportunity to strut your stuff and show prospects what you can do for them. The simplest way to turn your blog into a client attraction tool is to put yourself in their shoes and address key pain points they may be currently experiencing in their business and offer up a few ideas on how to solve it (just remember not to give it all away).
#5: Ask Your Network — Be specific about your asks. For example, if you attend a regular networking meeting, ask your group for introductions into specific companies. You can even go so far as to request an introduction to a specific person or job title within that company. A colleague of mine kept a list of three people he wanted to connect with in mind at all times and would ask everyone he met if they had a connection to those individuals. You know what? It worked.
#6: Schedule Strategic Meetings — Set up a catch-up meeting with a former colleague or coworker who you know has the potential to help you. Be upfront about your intentions and find a way to make it a reciprocal process by asking them how you can help support their current business or position. Relationships are everything so give more than you get.
#7: Pitch a Specific Idea — Bring a specific idea to a company that you would like to work with. This is different from the flattery approach in that you can coming to the table with a solution that you hope they will buy off-the-shelf. It means doing your homework and coming up with an entire presentation to support your pitch to show that you are worth the risk.
#8: Align with a Partner — Find another business in a similar or related industry that has the same target audience as yours and propose a strategic alliance where you each sell the other to prospects. Leveraging partnerships is a great strategy for solopreneurs looking to grow their business without the risk of hiring an entire team.
#9: Advertise Locally — Don’t underestimate the power of advertising in small publications. Often the cost of the ad makes it affordable for even the smallest of small businesses. Track your advertising costs and compared to the total sales it generated as a way to gauge if it was worth the investment. A homebuilder client of mine once shared that he pulled millions of dollars in home renovation contracts out of $30 ads in local community papers.
#10: Send Out Your Newsletter — Dust off the corporate newsletter and send out that pithy blog post you wrote as a newsletter. Sometimes the reason you haven’t heard from past clients is that they either forgot about you or that they are too overwhelmed to call for help. Either way, it’s worth reconnecting via email.