Strategies (part 2)
Using Personal Marketing to Generate Leads
essential activity that generates leads and helps
ensure a continued source of potential business-has
Prospecting and Incoming Prospecting. Outgoing Prospecting
concerns the ways in which you can initiate contact
with prospects regardless of whether they have a current
need for your product or service. Incoming Prospecting,
on the other hand, concerns the methods used to gain
visibility with your best potential customers through
personal marketing techniques so that prospects will
contact you when they're in the market for your product
several reasons for making the distinction between
the two categories.
you have a much higher degree of control over your
outgoing efforts. You can run ads in a hundred publications,
but if no one calls, you have no prospects. On the
other hand, the quality of incoming leads that can
be generated is usually much higher. Since they called
you, they are selecting themselves as prospects for
you, which usually means that they have an identified
need and they want your help in determining whether
or not your product or service will fill their need.
take a look at the ways in which you can initiate
contact with prospects regardless of whether they
have a current need or not. There are numerous ways
to uncover new markets and establish new business
contacts. There is no best strategy. Find the ones
that work best for you, your product or service, your
company and your industry.
people with whom you have business relationships.
They should be systematically contacted to see if
additional needs exist. Keep in mind different departments,
divisions, parent companies and other spin-offs of
your customers. In addition, when your company introduces
new products or services, your entire customer list
becomes a prospect list. At least once a year you
should go through your customer list and a list of
your products and services to see if new opportunities
company will provide leads from ads, direct mail responses,
telephone campaigns and other valuable sources. These
leads are generally high quality because the prospect
has already expressed an interest in your company.
of influence are prominent people in your community
who can direct you toward new prospects. A center
of influence may be a priest, rabbi, minister, congressperson,
attorney, banker or influential person.
on building a trusting relationship with them before
asking for referrals. Be sure they know the benefits
you have provided other customers. Let them know your
goals so that they can be aware of the kind of prospects
you are looking for. Give them a formal presentation
describing your product or service. Provide them with
an extensive list of testimonials, personal and business
references, and a professional résumé.
of influence are only interested in referring those
salespeople who will not undermine their reputations.
Be sure to report back to the cent of influence after
you contact the person they referred to you. And finally,
find a professional way to reciprocate or to say,
former customers who, for some reason, have stopped
buying. Often it is because the salesperson who was
handling their account has left the company or they
may have stopped doing business with the company because
of a product or service problem. If you can solve
the problem, you have a good chance of winning back
the account for yourself. These accounts represent
a gold mine!
innumerable directories to the businesses in your
industry and geographical location. The local library
and chamber of commerce are invaluable resources.
organization of local business professionals from
different industries who meet regularly to exchange
referrals or "tips."
a great way to reach a large number of prospective
customers in a short period of time. Offer free or
low cost seminars. But remember, as a speaker, your
goal is to educate, not to sell. You want to make
them enlightened buyers, and you want them to recognize
and remember you as an expert in this field, so that
when they are ready to buy, they come to you.
in trade shows, as either an attendee or an exhibitor.
This is an excellent way to meet people and learn
about the latest developments in your area. Which
ones do your best customers attend?
take a look at ways in which you can gain visibility
with your best potential customers. Developing such
visibility will also give you name recognition with
prospect during cold calls.
high visibility so that prospects will contact you
when they're in the market for your product or service
and to establish an aura of expertise, there are a
number of strategies you can use:
Join organizations to meet people who fit the profile
of your best customers, so you can make them aware
of your company and your product. You'll find almost
all of the local non-profit organizations are run
by the movers and shakers in your community. But don't
volunteer for just the business contacts. Do it for
the personal growth it will provide and the connection
with your community that you will feel. The business
contacts will take care of themselves. Involvement
in your community by your company as well as yourself
are the best ways to engage in public relations. Some
ideas: sponsor a youth sports team, donate equipment
to a local school, etc.
is aimed at generating favorable news coverage for
you, your company and your products. You do not pay
for publicity, at least not directly. You can write
press releases about yourself, (perhaps your recent
promotion ) or your company (introducing a new product,
for example) and send it in to the local newspaper,
directed to the business section. You might even write
a column in a target trade journal, magazine, newsletter
or newspaper, or even letters-to-the-editor, to generate
association in your best target market industry. This
helps you find out about trends and issues important
to your best customers. Also, contact other related
trade associations for their membership list. Participate
on committees to "rub elbows" with the centers
of influence in your key target industries.
newsletter for your customers. The key is to make
it 'newsy'-so it has some value to the reader. Keep
it short and be sure to include some cartoons or pictures
for variety and interest.
caps, etc. - there are thousands of ad specialty items
available, but the key to using ad specialties is
to find a gift your customer will actually use or
keep on his desk that will be a powerful reminder
of you and what you do. You can also use these in
your direct mail packages.
an article in a trade journal that your best potential
customers might read. It immediately establishes you
as an expert. Many publications pay an honorarium
for each article they publish. What we often do is
exchange the honorarium for an ad in the same issue
where our article appears. It's a double whammy that
really increases visibility and sales.
see ads for products but rarely see ads by salespeople
promoting themselves and their products or service.
If you want to have a competitive advantage in your
industry or in your market area, think like an independent
business person. Depending on your target market and
your company policy, you may want to run newspaper
or magazine ads, or put your picture in the yellow
sources you use, the key to good lead generation is
planning. Remember, generating leads is a long term
activity that must be continuous if you are to be
a successful salesperson.
sure that your visibility strategies are all working
together, you'll need a plan. The worksheet on the
next page will help you plan a strategy for gaining
visibility which will, in turn, help you generate
a flow of leads in each of your 'best' target markets.
When implementing this process, you should aim for
a minimum of four different exposures to each target
group. Evaluate the plan from time to time. You'll
get great results with some activities, less with
others. Build on what works and modify what doesn't.
effectively use these personal visibility ideas, you'll
find that little by little, people will start to recognize
your name, your company, your product and your face.
Pretty soon the phone will start to ring for you,
and your image as an established expert will take
hold. That's the power of personal marketing and one
more competitive advantage for you!