If you’ve ever done a web search of the term “lead generation”, it’s safe to say you were inundated with options ranging from paid lead generation programs to podcasts. All of them have merits, however, one method takes a back-to-basics approach that starts with you. By strengthening your own brand and working on a personal level, good leads will come to you. Here’s how:
Step out from Behind The Computer
While a good deal of networking can be accomplished without leaving your desk (through email, for instance), an even greater – more fruitful – amount can be done in person. Face-to-face meetings have a tendency to help prospects open up, revealing details you might not get in an exchange of emails.
Whenever possible, try meeting at the prospect’s place of work – the turf on which they’re most comfortable. You might be surprised how much more productive these meetings can be.
If You Do Network Via Email, Do so Carefully
Sometimes the gratification that comes with hitting “send” can get in the way of an email that’s crafted to near perfection. While you don’t have to be perfect to network using email, don’t send anything until you’ve covered the following:
Subject line – be sure it’s compelling and attention grabbing. It’s the only opportunity you’ll have to move a prospect to clicking through.
Content – make it brief and have a point. Write in a conversational style but be professional. Use a salutation and include a sign off, just as you would if you were writing a letter.
Call to action – specify what you want your prospects to do. If you want them to call or email you, include contact information. If you want them to read your attached thought paper, make sure you ask them to (and don’t forget to attach it).
Most importantly, when you receive a reply, act on it immediately. As a rule of thumb, try to respond within 24 hours even if it’s just to acknowledge you received the email and that a lengthier response will be coming soon.
Look Beyond the Organization Chart
For every formal organization chart that exists on paper, there’s an informal “connections network” that reflects where key decisions are really made and how they filter up. While you may know who occupies the “C” Suite, you may want to take the time to get to know the movers and shakers at the underlying levels. These people may be the ones who get things squared away, even if they don’t occupy the corner office.
Align Your Personal and Business Brands
Most brands are a reflection of the business owner’s personal brand, and that has to be expected. In fact, it’s beneficial for them to be aligned. After all, a prospect who thinks your company brand is detail oriented might be thrown off if your personal style is laissez-faire. Aligning your business and personal brands eliminates ambiguity, so prospects have a clearer picture of what you and your company are all about.
While there are a variety of ways to generate leads, exceptional leads are the result of strong personal branding and even stronger personal connections. Cultivate these and your lead-generation efforts are likely to succeed.