Lead Generation

Attracting and retaining customers is critical to business growth. This is why it is beneficial to develop a lead generation strategy that provides access to prospective customers, as well as nurtures existing customers. The fact is, if you do not have people who are willing to buy what you have to offer, you do not have a business. It is time to develop a strategy to efficiently and effectively target these leads.

5 ways to generate leads:

1. Referrals

Satisfied customers are one of the best sources for new leads. When they’re happy with your service, they’re often willing to recommend you to friends or colleagues, but may not do it without prompting. That’s why it makes good sense to contact them a week or two after a sale or other interaction, thank them for their business, and ask if they know anyone who might benefit from your services. You can even include several business cards or personalized items and encourage the customers to pass them along. Even if they choose not to provide names, taking the time to reach out is a reminder of how much you value their business.

2. Partners

Sharing leads with other businesses that don’t compete directly with you is another mutually beneficial approach. For example, an insurance agent and a mortgage broker don’t compete directly, but everyone who has a mortgage needs homeowners insurance. When customers trust you, they’ll trust your recommendations.

You can even create similar relationships with competitors whose products or target markets are different from yours. When you get a call from someone who isn’t quite right for your business, but ideal for your competitor, you can pass it along — with the understanding that she’ll do the same.

3. Networking

Each time you meet someone, look for ways to get to know their networks. Ask about business events they attend or groups in which they participate. The members who show up at events make a point of meeting and talking with people they don’t know – these are often the ones who generate leads.

You can even network online. LinkedIn, the business- and career-oriented social media platform, is expressly designed for online networking. Each connection you make online gives you opportunities to connect with that person’s connections.

4. Exposure

Positioning yourself as an expert in a particular area can create opportunities to speak at events and conferences. Audiences will see you as particularly knowledgeable and be more likely to turn to you for what you offer. Always be sure to collect business cards or to ask for a list of attendees.

You can also gain exposure by publishing articles and blog posts that demonstrate your expertise in specific areas. Published articles increase your visibility and establish you as an expert in your field. Focus on solving common problems or overturning common misconceptions, and you’ll be seen as helpful and approachable.

 5. Marketing

From email marketing campaigns, to advertising, to publicity, your efforts can be used to catch the attention of potential clients. For example, you can purchase a list of people in your area who meet certain demographic characteristics that make them likely customers, and then send them an appropriate marketing piece based on their need. As an extra incentive to respond, an insurance agent might offer a gift card for gasoline if they let the agent provide a quote for their automotive coverage, or a gift card for a local home improvement store in return for a homeowners’ insurance quote.