When it comes to the sales process, there’s a few things that truly matter. Sure, you need to have a product or service that people want. And, it’d probably help to know how to close a sale. Between those two steps though, there is something that gets budding business owners stuck all the time.
So, let’s look at this big mystery box a little bit and see if we can’t plant some seeds for a winning strategy for a new business.
The Basics of Lead Gen
With lead generation, different businesses need different clients. If you’re opening up a restaurant, for example, your strategy to find potential customers is going to look much different than if you were an online coach.
On one hand, a restaurant would do a bit more of a local shotgun B2P (business to people) approach where they target people who like the food they serve. On the other hand, depending on what they actually help people with, a coach might use a bit more of a B2B (business to business) rifle approach in finding their potential clients.
In other words, you need to know some things about your potential client. You need to know your avatar.
But that’s not all.
You also need to know where to look to find them.
And I think that’s what tends to hang up a lot of people.
A, B, and C List Leads
When I was first getting started as a business owner, I remember someone talking about the importance of developing a list of potential prospects to connect with as a new business owner. These prospects could be divided into 3 groups: Your A List, your B List, and, of course, your C List.
Your A List contains people you can casually call up and let them know about your new business and what you have to offer. In fact, they might even help you get the word out on what you’re doing.
Your B List is full of acquaintances or friends you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Obviously, these folks aren’t as warm as your A List folks.
And then, your C List is full of people you don’t know exist or if you do know they exist, you don’t have a ready way to connect with them. For me, that’d be someone like
Strategies in Building and Approaching Our Lists
Depending on what type of business you have, we’re going to form and use these lists differently.
New Restaurant Owner
If you’re a restaurateur, your goal is to get as many people into your business as possible who like what you’re dishing out. So, when it comes to your A’s and B’s, perhaps what you’ll want to do is help you get the word out in what you’re doing. Sure you’d like them as customers, but for you, the true power rests in attracting the C list to your business. So simple ads and message bots on social media and the use of local media might be more of value to you. (Here’s a protip: if you use ads and message bots, you might want to consider offering a freebie or enter them into a contest to have best results!)
New Online Based Coach, Consultant, and Thought Leader
If you’re that new professional coach or thought leader, quantity isn’t necessarily what you’re going for. It’s typically better to be profitable than popular, right? So you might work with your A’s and B’s a little closer to find out who in their circles might need your help. Or, if they’re already established coaches and/or thought leaders, maybe you can partner with them to get your name out there.
(If this sounds like an interesting strategy, I’d highly recommend checking out a book called The Power of Who by Bob Beaudine. In the book, he shares how we might not even need to build our own C list because we should already have people we need to get going in our business around us. Maybe after reading his book, you’ll know who yours are too!)
If you don’t want to do all the leg work of partnering with others to access their C lists, there’s other options which will allow you to build your own.
Most use sales funnels with ads to do a major part of the work. If done right, you can spend a certain amount on ads and expect a certain amount of people to come through your funnel and end up on your calendar via a tool like Calendly. Or, if you’re looking to build an audience, then perhaps the best end goal is to get emails from interested people.
Either way, if you have great copy, videos, and it’s organized correctly, amazing things can happen!
Leveraging B2B Connections on LinkedIn
That said, maybe your business relies on more B2B business. If so, Facebook might not necessarily be the place to do that kind of outreach. So, instead, you might be looking connect with potential clients on LinkedIn.
There’s a couple ways of connecting with folks on that platform: ads and direct messaging.
In session 126 of the AoL Podcast, we spoke with AJ Wilcox about placing ads on LinkedIn. I still haven’t done much with it myself, but if you really want a great teacher in that world or simply want to hire the right guy for the job, I’d check him out.
And finally, another choice would be to contact your avatar directly. You could do it manually, but with software like Kennected, you can make your new list automagically.
Imagine if you had the power to send out 10’s if not 100’s of messages a day on LinkedIn. Those messages would be asking the new person to simply connect and have a short conversation with you. You find out what they’re doing and then, in turn, give them a bird’s eye view of what you’re doing and who you’re looking for. If they don’t self qualify, perhaps they’ll let the right friends know what you’re up to!
So who’s your desired client? Is your method of making income based on having a lot of names in your list or making a few big deals? If it’s a few big deals, I’d highly recommend leveraging your A and B lists if you can.
Once you tap out your A and B lists, then you should automate your lead generation at that point. But don’t think you have to start networking right away.
If your business requires you to have lots of customers, then growing your C list is going to be your main focus. Use your current connections in your A and B lists to help you get the word out, but make sure you take advantage of networks (ads on social media and local media) to get ahead.