It’s not your equipment, building, employees or your training, credentials or experience.
All of those are important, but they do not generate income on demand.
Having a quality list is like owning the printing press whenever you need money.
If forced, you could replace your tools, equipment, and even employees overnight, but it takes time to generate a quality list of customers and prospects that know, like and trust you.
Let me show you how.
It’s relatively simple to make money following up with your customers, but at some point you have to build a list of new prospects to grow your business.
There are many ways to acquire customers, but the way I’m about to show you is the most efficient and scalable.
And it sucks less too.
If you were a chiropractor for example, knocking door to door soliciting cold prospects might generate business. I know chiropractors who’ve successfully done that, but it’s slow and painful.
Instead, you could use direct mail, as one example, to contact people who are already looking for back pain relief.
The latter method takes more set up to build a system, but it’s scalable. Networking, cold calling or similar strategies, require no set-up time or money, but your business growth is limited by how much time you have in the day.
Once you learn this way of client acquisition, you’ll be disappointed you wasted time and money trying it any other way.
With your customer list, by default you have a qualified list. You’ve already done the hard work finding people who want and are willing to buy what you offer. You only have to organize their contact information and follow-up with more money creating offers.
In contrast, building a prospect list requires a few more steps.
There are three components that make building a prospect list work.
All three components are integrated, and no one works in isolation. You need bait to generate traffic and that traffic is worthless without a capture system.
Stick with me. It will makes sense at the end.
A common mistake business owners make is to generate leads (traffic) before they have a system in place to capture prospect information. This happens when a business owner runs brand style ads, receive a referral, or similar, but the prospect who responds is not ready to buy.
In part one I described how shoppers are in the research phase most of the time. In other words, they are “window shopping.”
Typically, a consumer will stop in your business or call with a few questions, then leave without buying. “I’m just looking” is the typical response.
If you spent money driving them to call or visit your store, and do not get their contact information, you’ve thrown money in the trash.
Without a way to follow-up with your prospects, you will probably lose them forever.
When you shift your marketing from branding to lead generation, you gain the ability to follow-up repeatedly instead of having to make the sale on the first contact.
Since most shoppers are not ready to buy the first time they meet you, you’re better off capturing their contact information and then following up until they shift from the research to the buying phase.
Building your lead capture system can be complicated, but it does not have to be. Sophisticated online tools with automation are powerful, but depending on the size of your business, a simple manual system may be all you need to get started.
All you need is a tool, or process, to capture your prospects’ contact information when they inquire about your “bait.” I will explain “bait” in a moment, but for now, it is anything that will entice prospects to share their contact information with you.
At the most basic level, whoever answers the phone could write down your prospects’ contact information when they call. That can be as simple as a paper form, notebook entry, or online spreadsheet or database.
You could accomplish the same goal with a voice message system where the prospect leaves their contact information on the recording.
Live speakers and seminar promoters often have prospects turn in business cards or fill out a form. Another common lead capture tool is to have prospects complete a postcard and return it by mail.
Now days, the most common lead capture systems are online. The internet has made lead capture systems inexpensive, fast and automated. You’ve undoubtedly seen a webpage that offers something free in exchange for a name and email address.
Every online marketer is using this style of lead capture because they work, you can measure the results, and the automation is impressive.
Online tools are good, but don’t rule out using simple methods too. Which lead capture tool or tools you use will depend on how you plan to generate leads and which media your market prefers.
When fishing you can throw out a single line and wait for one fish to bite. That’s like networking where you talk one-on-one with people until you find someone who’s interested. It works, but it’s terribly inefficient.
Instead, you can throw out a net and bring in a lot of fish. But with that approach, a lot of the wrong fish end up in the boat.
A wide spectrum of people will see your marketing, but many of them will be the wrong match. That’s the nature of the game, so we cast a wide net, but use the right bait to narrow the list to only the right prospects.
Bait can be anything that your ideal prospect wants. The more irresistible the bait is to your ideal prospect, the more effective your lead generation will be.
The wrong people will self select by not expressing interest in your bait.
Bait can come in many forms, but it’s often free information that will help someone who is researching your services. It can also be a low, or discounted, priced product or service to entice someone into taking that first step with you.
The better you know your target market, the more effective you’ll be at finding the right bait. It often takes a lot of trial and error to find something irresistible to the right customer.
An example from the auto industry might be a free report titled
“The 7 Ways Your Auto Mechanic Can Rip You Off.”
I have never tested that title, but I would respond if I needed car repair.
You are not limited to written reports. There are as many options as you can dream up. In that same industry, you may try a free or discounted oil change.
Restaurants often use the “Buy one, get one free” coupon, but that is not very powerful. The more common something is, the less attractive it becomes. A completely free meal for two, however, would be hard to pass up.
Software companies are keen to offer limited functionality editions of their software free to lure you in. I’ve seen car dealerships offer expensive gifts in exchange for a test drive. All these strategies are designed lure you into their marketing funnel where they can continue promoting until you buy.
It is not easy to find the right bait to match your market, but once you find it, you have the beginnings of a very powerful marketing system.
Once you find the right bait, and have a lead capture system in place, it’s time to drive traffic to your bait.
There are many ways to drive prospects to your bait. Below are a few.
- Public speaking
- Joint ventures
I dive deep into the various lead generation options in the Complete Business Building Blueprint, but below when I mention an ad or advertisement, I am implying any of the mediums you can use to create traffic.
We know from part one that a brand style ad alone, which is usually a glorified business card with a slogan, usually is not enough to sell your product or services.
Instead of trying to sell directly from the advertisement, shift to promoting your free or low cost offer – your bait.
The only job of your lead generation marketing is to promote your bait — nothing else.
The ad doesn’t even need to mention you or your company. Instead of pushing your business, you need to sell the benefits your prospect receives by requesting your bait.
Trying to do too much with one ad will diminish results. That’s why company logos and other branding often do more harm than good. The narrower your focus, the more powerful your message becomes.
When crafting the message to promote your bate, don’t forget the three elements of an effective offer I shared in part two. Not only do those elements apply to selling, they also apply to your lead generation advertisement.
Just because you’re giving something away free, you still have to sell it.
Consumers are smart. They know you are going to send them “junk” mail as soon as they provide you with their contact information, so you have to make it worthwhile.
If you attract the right people with the right message, not only will they want your bait, but they will also want to hear from you when you take the next step and follow-up and present them with offers.
After you build your prospect list, this system comes full circle and you send follow-up an offers just as I showed with your customer list in part two.
In this three part series, I’ve introduced the foundation of the Complete Business Building Blueprint
In a nutshell there are two sides to this. After the first sale (customers) and before the first sale (prospects)
- Lead capture
That’s the essence of the system. If you’re ready to take this to the next level, CLICK HERE for the detailed, step-by-step blueprint to building your own system.
But I also have something else to give you that will really put all of this together for you.