|December 28, 2015||Comments Closed|
Recently, I met the owners of a mid-sized financial services firm, who were looking for a quick way to generate sales leads to fill their sales pipeline and improve overall sales results. Their theory was that once they were in front of a qualified prospect, making the sale was easy. The problem was generating qualified leads and converting those into appointments.
So they hired a telemarketing firm to cold call a mailing list of local business that was purchased from a list broker. The telemarketing firm charged an initial set-up fee plus a fee for every appointment they provided.
This turned out to be an expensive exercise, and the only thing this firm had to show for their investment was an expensive mailing list that is now collecting dust.
Effective marketing can be learned
Marketing and lead generation is a skill that can be mastered by any professional. In fact, many of today’s top producers were not effective marketers when they started. Like technical knowledge, marketing is something that can be mastered with time, practice and a little effort.
Here are seven market-based tactics that top professionals use to drive new business growth:
1. Comfort zone marketing – Top professionals understand that their existing clients and personal contacts are their private, captive network. Using these contacts is an ideal marketing tactic for both new and experienced professionals.
Having a selling system to ensure that you maintain regular contact with existing clients, keeping your personal contacts up-to-date and asking for their advice and referrals is a smart way to market. This allows you maximise your marketing time by working with people that already know and trust you.
2. Attraction marketing – It’s much easier to sell to someone when they come to you, as compared to cold calling. Top professionals use attraction marketing by packaging their specialised knowledge into free information, such as reports, e-books, newsletters and podcasts.
These can be offered on your website. When a prospective client requests your free information, they become prospects, and you have the opportunity to build a relationship. Free information is sometimes referred to as “bait pieces,” and this marketing tactic is frequently used by large and small firms to generate new leads and opportunities.
3. Seminar marketing – Many organisations and individuals are looking for an expert to explain and interpret trends and opportunities in today’s market. Top professionals position themselves as experts by proactively contacting organisations and groups.
When done properly this technique differentiates the professional as being a teacher and authority rather than a salesperson, allowing the professional to generate leads and follow-up appointments more easily.
4. Client advisory board marketing – Many top firms use this technique, making their top clients and centres of influence a part of their new business acquisition process. To introduce this idea, you can invite 8 to 10 clients to a dinner in a nice restaurant or private room. Have an open discussion about your business and let the clients do most of the talking.
At the conclusion of the dinner, provide each person with a questionnaire or survey and let them know that you’ll follow up. Call and meet with each person a few days later to review the survey, solicit referrals and discuss any next steps.
5. Networking – One of the strongest business development techniques, top professionals approach networking with the right mind-set, which is that “you have to give before you can receive.” Networking is about helping other professionals get business.
There are many different ways to network, including joining a networking club or association, creating your own network and joining charitable organisations, chambers of commerce and professional associations.
6. Social media marketing – For years, top producers have used the concept of six degrees of separation (the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away) to identify and meet prospective clients. Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter have made this process easier.
The mind-set of top producers is that their best clients are happy to refer others to them, as it is in clients’ best interests for their producers to have a thriving business. Using LinkedIn, for example, enables you to search your client’s connections, identify potential prospects and ask your client for a referral.
7. Event marketing – Some top firms hold quarterly events, such as group discussions with an author, wine tasting, and cooking class with a chef. They invite some of their top clients and prospects, encouraging them to bring along a friend who might also enjoy the event.
This is an easy way to build relationships and obtain referrals, allowing you to work from within your comfort zone and quickly fill your sales pipeline.
Don’t rely on others
Instead of relying on others, top professionals select a few marketing tactics and learn how to do them well. This allows them to maximise their marketing time to achieve the greatest return on their time invested. Top firms and professionals are constantly expanding their comfort zone to generate multiple sources and ways of getting business.
In today’s market, professionals who can combine their technical expertise with the right marketing tactics are able to build a healthy sales pipeline and produce consistent growth results each year.
Stop wasting money on telemarketers and so-called magic lead generation methods that promise a lot and often deliver little. At the end of the day, there are simply no shortcuts.
Instead, if you invest your time, energy and resources on mastering two to three marketing tactics, you’ll never go hungry again.