We used to “advertise”, then we bought email lists and blasted away, some got Google pay per click to work – most didn’t. The tactics around getting new customers is ever changing.
“Lead Generation” is the buzz in business at the moment. There’s even a whole industry with a stack of Apps “automating” the processes.
The “in-thing” is to build a sales funnel. A process where you contact, and recontact until either the sale is made or they unsubscribe and run away. Originally this idea developed from the need to “control” the leads in your sales process. If you operated a sales team, or had lots of inquiry, this technology was developed to streamline the processes, to ensure no potential sale fell between the cracks.
What is rarely mentioned is HOW you find new leads – then get them into the funnel.
Hopefully this article will trigger some ideas.
I’m a serial Entrepreneur. I live in the Philippines. I teach westerners how to best tap into the great skill levels at very low wage levels. During the past couple of years, I have come across several cases where Filipino’s are being used to find new clients. To me, it’s becoming apparent that the automation of CRMs combined with the lower wages of highly educated English-speaking Filipinos is creating a new marketing capability.
This prompted me to write this article.
Here are Five Strategies where I’m seeing results:
- Lead Generating Websites
I worked with a Real Estate guy to develop leads for clients BEFORE they call anyone to list their property. We workshopped the behaviour of people before listing. One significant thing we found is they “tidied up the house” and another is they often had it painted. As we worked this through we concluded because they were selling, they wanted it done quick and as cheap as it could be done – given it needed to be tidy. So we built a website:
Actually non-sellers – those who wanted a quality job – were NOT our target. We found that the more “cheap and quick” we made the offer, the better quality leads we generate for Real Estate.
The crazy thing is we sold these leads to several painters. This paid for the website cost and marketing. In effect it cost us nothing for a nice steady list of people in the area who were thinking of selling.
NOTE: we were tapping a steady continuous supply of hot leads – well before any competitors got a sniff. Think “behaviour before needing you”.
- Content writing, with a twist – “shouting or article bombing” (think bombing a selfie)
Getting “mentioned in” online articles, especially where you can align the article readership up with your target market can be very fruitful. The Travel Industry can be masters at this. You read an article about how wonderful some location is and a couple of businesses get “mentioned”. Often a link of rather obvious – all you really need is enough information that they can find you with Google (yes, SEO is important).
Imagine reading the comments in an online booking platform about a Hotel. “We stayed here it was xyz. This close to xyz hot Air Balloons which was a fantastic experience”. The comment costs nothing and stays posted for years.
This strategy also works well for most Professional services.
NOTE – this is about being where your target market is likely to look. Start with a list of these sites.
You can generate your own content in a blog that’s “not associated” with your main brand, get someone to write good useful articles and post them up in public forums (think LinkedIn/Facebook), encourage others to “mention you” or “bomb” someone else’s post – usually in the “comments” section.
The trick is to NEVER be obvious. Just mention a great service / your name.
So powerful are these tricks that I am aware of some people turning themselves into an authority of a particular matter, using these strategies.
The process would be: Use a Researcher (low end overseas) to find and list ALL the possible places you can play these games. Brief/scope out what you can do or say in each – give it to a content writer who can post them as well. SYSTEMISE IT SO OTHERS DO IT YOUR WAY.
- Leads from photographs
Generating leads from what you can “see” is a big growth area. In the Philippines, an American company employs 900 people who use Aerial Photographs (think Google maps but more up to date and higher resolution) to measure “roofs”. They are sitting at computers, working their way down the suburban streets using software where they can put little red dots on all the corners of the roof image which effectively measures the pitch and roof area – then they record in a database – the address, size, type and condition of the roof. Valuable LeadGen data.Another person has a person (we call then “Profilers”) working their way through all the streets looking for big back yards and no swimming pool. In this case, they screenshot the property, drop the image into a flyer with a message “Is this your house? How about a Swimming Pool?”, then “print” – the flyer prints out in Australia where they are snail mailed to the property. Receiving a flyer in the mail with a photo of your house helps get it read.
This principle could be used for anything you can see from Aerial Photography. Think sheds, tree lopping, solar panels, water tank cleaning, etc.
- Data merging
There are many services that combine information from various sources to develop a good potential lead. These leads they sell, typically to several competitors at a time. As most of these leads are cold and untested, they usually offer some great guarantees with these services.
In my opinion these work where you get a chance to pitch directly. This way you get to “stress the VALUE” of your offer and pricing. My only hesitation is you are head to head with your direct competitors.Personally, I prefer leads that are ongoing and no one else has.
NOTE: Set up you own small team targeting what you need – on the side sell the information to your non-direct competitors.
- Social media and Behaviors
Large accessible data bases like LinkedIn and Facebook have helped the LeadGen business. Two rules. Do NOT blast everyone. Do NOT throw yourself “at” a potential client.
You need to target your exact potential clients and you need to “start a conversation” as opposed to hitting them between the eyes with your sales pitch.
This is where low cost solutions are, like in the Philippines really help.
An example is a friend who sells services to business owners who “want to grow their businesses”. After much red wine and white board activity we decided that the behaviours of his clients include – applying for business awards, joining business help websites and groups, and a few others he will not let me mention.
We set up his LinkedIn page properly. Ticking every box, disclosing his real self and history and making him look good – this oozed “trust”.
We then engaged a Filipino Researcher (Profiler) to find all the Awards, website and groups. This is what we set up as a source list.
They mined (ongoing) the source lists – which gave them business names.
Then using the Businesses Website, LinkedIn, and occasionally the likes of Facebook, they determined WHO the Business owner or decision maker was. This became the “target”.
Using LinkedIn and Facebook, they invited the target to “join/connect” with my friends’ page.
Typically they invite 60-80 a day.
When the invitation was accepted – roughly 50 a day – they added them to a CRM program and send a personalised “thanks for connecting – if you are interested I do XYZ. I have a PDF around this topic – can I send it to you?” message. This is called “the bait”. The objective is to sort those interested from those who have no interest.
About 10 a day respond – so 10 a day show themselves as INTERESTED in my friend’s products. These are POTENTIAL LEADS.
This moves them into the sales funnel – and a more detailed sales pitch with a follow-up process which included a phone call (nowadays this could be Skype, Facetime, Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp etc.).
The average sales using this process is 1.5 a day.
I’m aware the product will vary this number – I’m using a couple of real examples I’m involved in the give guidance numbers.
Volume is not an issue using this method – I know a business generating 1800 to 2100 leads A DAY, generating $250,000 worth of sales a week using some of these principles.That’s LeadGen.
I am seeing teams of Filipinos constantly researching, contact – starting the sales process. In some case even CLOSING the sale. I teach how this is done on www.MikesManilaTours.com
Typical processes – Look for behaviour, hunt down decision maker, connect, soft contact, extract an interest, start your sales process. This process (combined with the low labour cost in the Philippines) is where I see outstanding results.
Think a 5 step process:
One: Look for behaviour online (in a computer) that helps you narrow in on your potential customers
Two: Research from what information you have – to determine the “decision maker” and their contacts
Three: Ask to Connect.
Four: Soft contact – use some sort of bait to extract an interest Result (an “interest” is a warm lead)
Five: Drop them into a sales funnel and send in the salespeople – start THE conversation
NOTE: Most of these examples provide a steady ongoing stream of potential leads-sales.
A final word on CRM programs. Automation is the current “buzz”. I have seen lots of money wasted here. Each CRM solution exists to suit a particular need. Every salesperson says there’s suits you. Ask business FRIENDS what they use and what their likes and dislikes are. I believe the more functional “tracking” and auto send systems are, the more likely they still need more development. I’m aware of several instances when using automated sending and tracking, the spam filters have led to low open rates. So please be careful – use common-sense.
Avoid the “technology trap” where time and effort is being consumed “building rather than simply doing”. Focus on the targeting, messages that work are more important.
Start simple and small. Use a spread sheet. Develop – streamline your processes. I’ve built several systems – EVERY ONE of them evolved and changed as we got into “results”. Add the CRM funnel as you develop from RESULTS.
LeadGen is an ONGOING process. It’s NOT a start and finish project.
I also have a FREE EBook on Offshoring – The Efficient $100 a Week Worker – happy to share – email me email@example.com and I’ll send a copy.