As a business owner, generating leads is one of the most important tasks for growing your business, but it can also be the most daunting.
How do you generate leads? And how do you do it in a way that doesn’t feel slimy, shady, or overly “sales-y”?
Here are five effective strategies for generating strong leads for your business—that won’t make you feel like a used-car salesman.
1. Join a networking group
Joining a networking group is a great way to attract more leads in a personal, genuine way. Some of these groups meet monthly, some meet weekly, and others meet every other week or every other month. If you’re not sure where to begin, consider joining your local chamber of commerce. They will certainly have networking events that you can attend.
I’m a member of several different networking groups, and I find them an incredibly valuable resource for generating leads—not just in terms of networking with potential clients directly, but in terms of meeting other business owners who can refer people to me from their own network.
When you clearly explain what you do, who you help, and what problem you solve for your clients, the people you meet while networking can send you prospects. Once they get to know, like, and trust you, they essentially turn into your salesforce.
2. Develop your “elevator pitch”
The most important thing about networking is having an effective 30-second elevator pitch. This must include not only who you are and what you do, but most importantly, it should also include what problem you solve for your customers.
In my elevator pitch, I explain that Profit Minds helps our clients create unique strategies to grow their business and create the life of their dreams, and that we can find 30 to $50,000 or more in untapped revenue for any small business in under 45 minutes. This often sparks a conversation about how we do this, which allows me to get more specific about the strategies that I use.
At a regular networking meeting, your elevator pitch should also include what to listen for, with phrases stated in the first person. For example, I might say, “If you hear a client or friend or family member say something like, ‘I need new sources of revenue for my company,’ or ‘I can’t afford this year to be just like the last,’ those would be great referrals for me.” This way, the people I meet know exactly who they can send in my direction.
3. Cultivate relationships with “power partners”
While offering potential partners a referral fee is straightforward and can work, I’ve found there’s a better way to incentivize referrals. To do this, seek out partnerships with businesses that serve the same type of client that you do but offer a complimentary product or service. I call these “power partners.” Then, when you present the referral opportunity, seek to solve a problem your referral source has with your mutual client.
At Profit Minds, we use this strategy to partner with—and solve problems for—CPAs, business brokers, and digital marketing agents, among others.
When I look to partner with a CPA, for example, I explain that if they send me one of their small-business owner clients, I will make sure the client sees them at least four times a year. I do this because the information I get from a CPA is a measurable and reliable way to make sure my methods are working.
This solves the CPA’s problem of only seeing their clients once a year around tax time. When they refer clients to me, they not only get more income from our mutual clients, but they also get to provide financial guidance throughout the year. This is a win all around: the CPA wins, Profit Minds wins, and most importantly, the (mutual) client wins.
4. Take advantage of speaking opportunities
Becoming a public speaker is a great way to build your reputation, establish your authority as an expert, and reach a broad, interested audience. This also helps build your relationship with your prospects as they get to know you and your story in an authentic way.
You can find speaking opportunities through local professional groups, as well as through strategic partnerships. Look for events and conferences in your area, and reach out to your network to learn of other speaking opportunities. If you joined a networking group, you might even find opportunities to speak at their networking meetings. Or check with your local chamber of commerce about setting up your own event where you can be featured.
Keep in mind that speaking opportunities don’t just happen in person. In the wake of COVID, many events are happening online or in other virtual spaces. Clubhouse is one such app, which features an audio-only sharing community.
5. Be a guest on podcasts
If you find the prospect of speaking to a large audience intimidating, appearing on podcasts is a great alternative.
You could of course start your own podcast, but you can also join in as a guest speaker on someone else’s podcast. Since appearing on a podcast is just like having a one-on-one conversation, it’s not nearly as scary as other public speaking opportunities—but if you’re a guest on the right podcasts, it can be just as effective.
With that in mind, don’t restrict your search to only podcasts about your exact same topic, but try to seek out podcasts that might share your audience. What podcasts might your ideal client be listening to? You can even start by asking this question of your current clients!
Strategies for everyone
There are strategies for every taste and ability, whether you enjoy addressing a large audience, prefer focusing on personal relationships, or anything in between.
If you find a strategy that appeals to you, don’t hesitate to reach out—I’d be happy to talk about how you can develop that strategy as you grow your business.