As companies develop strategies to build their customer base, they must consider evolving consumer needs and preferences. Today’s consumers are very concerned about their personal privacy, making cold calling one of the least effective sales techniques. Smart salespeople know that the best way to grow their business is to focus on creating and converting business leads.

You’ve heard about business leads, but what exactly are they and where do they come from? We’re answering those questions in this post.

Read on to discover how you can create high-quality business leads in your own business.

What Are Business Leads?

A business lead is defined as a person or company that has shown an interest in your product or service. This could be someone who found your website through an internet search, completed an online survey, or provided their contact information in exchange for a free download or other incentives. They may have commented on a social media post, registered for a mailing list, or entered themselves into a raffle.

What Makes Business Leads More Effective?

Statistics show that it usually takes eight or more cold calls to reach a prospective customer. This is rarely a good use of a salesperson’s time. It’s far more difficult to convince a stranger that they need your product or service than it is to follow up with those who have already shown interest.

Traditional advertising also has its challenges. Customers today are much savvier and far less trusting. One study found that 76% of respondents considered advertising, in general, to be “somewhat [or] very exaggerated.”

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is a less aggressive sales technique. It focuses on providing value to people who need it and attracting the attention of strangers and prospects. The ultimate goal is to convert these contacts into potential customers.

Once the initial contact has been made, it’s up to the company to engage with the prospect and lead them down the path of making a purchase. Choosing this sales method helps to reinforce credibility and creates a loyal customer base.

Types of Lead Generation

There are many ways to generate business leads, some of which are quite easy and inexpensive. Here are a few of the most popular options.

Customer Referrals

One of the easiest and least expensive ways to generate leads is through referrals from existing customers. Go out of your way to exceed your customer’s expectations and let them know that you happily accept referrals.

Website and Blog

The copy on your website should focus on the consumer. Instead of explaining the features of your product or service, effectively communicate how it can benefit your customers.

Adding a blog to your website creates value for the potential customer and helps to establish you as an industry leader. It also improves search engine optimization, making it more likely that your site will rank high in internet searches. Effective blogs will always end with a motivating call to action that helps to move the reader down the sales pipeline.

Landing Pages

A landing page is a stand-alone web page that is created to engage a specific audience. If done correctly, it will encourage readers to provide their contact information in exchange for something of value like a free sample, access to a whitepaper, or a coupon. The latest research has found that incorporating video into these pages makes them even more effective.

Social Media

A social media marketing strategy allows businesses to connect with their audience on a personal level. This is a unique opportunity for you to engage with customers and prospects to find out what they really want and get feedback on what can be improved.

A well-executed social media strategy helps you to create loyal fans who are excited to share your information. This is like having an entire sales force on staff, at little to no cost to you.

Email Newsletter

An email newsletter helps you to stay in communication and keep the initial connection alive. Use the newsletter to communicate inside information, let your readers know about new products or services, provide value and show how your product or service can help them solve their problems.

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Steps for Generating Business Leads

Generating business leads is easy if you follow these five simple steps.

1. Identify Your Target Audience

Before you can successfully sell your product or service, you must understand your target audience. This includes demographics like age, gender and income and details including location, lifestyle, and personality.

To really connect with your customers, dive even deeper into what makes them tick. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What are their long-term goals?
  • What excites them?
  • What are their fears?
  • What keeps them awake at night?

2. Create Your Marketing and Promotion Plan

Use several of the lead generation techniques listed above to create a detailed marketing and promotion plan. Track your results and be willing to make adjustments along the way.

3. Gather and Organize Contact Information

As you begin to collect data, you will need to decide on how you will store and organize the information. A contact relationship management (CRM) database will help with this. There are many options available, so do your research to find the one that best meets your needs.

4. Segregate Your Contact List

Some of your prospects will be warmer than others. Make sure you focus your time and efforts on those that are most likely to close. Move the other contacts down your pipeline and follow up as time permits.

5. Create a Follow-Up Plan

Business prospecting is not always a fast process. The time it takes to close a prospective customer can vary based on a variety of facts. Studies suggest that it can take anywhere from 5 – 12 contacts over a period of up to 18 months to convert a prospect into a paying customer.

Create a drip campaign, ensure all your materials are ready ahead of time and use automated systems whenever possible. Having an efficient system in place will help you to make the best use of your time.

Above all, remember that lead generation is a long-term, ongoing process. Be consistent and the results will come.

Do you have questions about how lead generation can help you grow your business? Contact us today for a consultation.

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