Don’t build links, build relationships. Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz said that. It seems a very peculiar thing to say, since he’s in the business of selling SEO software that helps people build links. But let's have a look at why he's right.
It’s never been so easy and affordable for businesses of all sizes to get sales leads. The digital marketing sector is booming, but unfortunately it has caused some to forget the importance and value of a good old fashioned relationship.
Let’s get back to basics. Here are a few ways you can get more sales leads by building great relationships.
An old one but still a great one. Email marketing is still favoured by many customers as their preferred method of communication. One great way to drive traffic to your website and generate more leads is to create a great piece of content and then email your database, directing them to it.
Email past customers and contacts with a personal, non-promotional email to see if there is anything you can help them with now. How is business for them? Has anything changed? Do you have a new product or service you could promote to them?
Pick up the phone
For those brave enough, picking up the phone and having a chat is a great way to quickly establish if there is an opportunity with that customer. Ask them how business is with them? If anything has changed since you last spoke to them and, finally, if there is anything you can help them with just now?
In the worst case scenario they say, “No”, but appreciate your call. Best case is that you discover that they do require your services and you can arrange a follow up call or meeting.
Don’t be scared to pick up the phone or worry that you are bothering someone. In real terms, it's a great demonstration of your service.
Networking and Events - on and offline
As much as online has a lot of opportunities to offer, networking and attending events have their place. Sometimes just meeting people, particularly if it is your target market, can be invaluable.
The contacts, connections and opportunities to come out of networking or an event can be great. It can be a quick and effective way to meet new potential customers. The conversations, discussions and questions can also be invaluable. It’s rich information and feedback that you can include in your marketing and approach.
However, the challenge is finding the right network or event to attend. That can be easier said than done, particularly if you want to meet more established, larger businesses. In that instance, finding industry specific events can be a better strategy.
Alternatively, you can run your own event. This might seem like a lot of work and expense, but it does have many benefits. The key to running a good event is to use it as an opportunity to share valuable information with your audience.
What topics, information or event could you run for your target audience that would benefit them and/or their business? You want to educate them as well as offer advice and support. This positions you as an expert and creates trust.
It can also be the start of building your own community, both off and online. Top tip - connect on LinkedIn with everyone who attends your event. Thank them and keep the conversation going. Start your own LinkedIn group so you can offer ongoing advice and support.
Advertising your event on Facebook, LinkedIn and Meet Up, enables you to reach a whole new audience of customers. Remember, whether you are running your own event or attending one, you need to have a follow up strategy and process.
One of the greatest and most common mistakes businesses make when it comes to events, is that they don’t have a follow up process in place. Even with the best of intentions, unless you have your follow up pre-planned and ready to go, the chances are it will never happen.
Keep in touch!
Simple and effective, but often forgotten. To generate new leads you don’t have to find new contacts or customers.
Keeping in touch with past customers and contacts often creates new opportunities. I would recommend making a list of past customers and contacts and calling them. Find out how they are, what’s changed since you last spoke to them and ask if there is anything you can do to help them just now. It’s another great demonstration of brilliant customer service and if the answer is “No” then that's fine. But, you’ve put yourself back on their radar and you never know what will crop up.
How many of these sales lead generation activities are you doing?
I’ve written this blog as a mental checklist so you can run through it to see how many of these lead generation activities you are doing. On the ones you are not currently doing, really challenge yourself as to why you are not doing them. Is there a good reason?What order of priority would you put these in for your business?
How well are your current lead generation activities performing?
Are you measuring them?
In my experience, both in terms of our own sales lead generation and from working with hundreds of other businesses on theirs, very often the reality is that when we need sales we are pretty good at lead generation, otherwise it falls by the wayside.