Lead Generation Thinking

Every business needs marketing to bring in potential new clients. But there is no one “right” way to market your services… no one-size-fits-all solution to get new leads… not even for very similar businesses in the same industry or niche.

What marketing strategy will work for you? To figure it out, you have to take stock of your business objectives, then you tailor your marketing to achieve those goals. It’s a little more involved than that, of course. 

But put in the effort to create a personalized strategy now, and it will pay off in a steady stream of quality leads coming to you in the long term.

Tune in to find out more, including…

  • Why you need to get realistic about what the latest Internet marketing strategy can and can’t do
  • Creating a marketing strategy that attracts your ideal client
  • The key ways marketing products is different than marketing services
  • The two types of prospects every business has
  • And more

Listen now…

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Steve Gordon: Welcome to the Unstoppable CEO Podcast with Steve Gordon.

Welcome to the Unstoppable CEO podcast. I’m your host, Steve Gordon. And today I got to tell you, I’m really excited about this topic. We’re going to talk about lead generation thinking. And I think this is vitally important. I get asked all the time, well, what’s the best way to market? Or should I do this? Or should I do that? And when I get asked that question, I immediately know that it’s the wrong question. Because you’ve really got to begin with the goal that you have in mind the business objectives that you have, and then you want to work your way backwards. And so in today’s episode, I’m going to take you through the thinking process that I use to help our clients try and figure out where they should focus their lead generation. So hang with us. This is going to be I think, a great, great episode for you to really analyze the marketing that you’re doing and improve the marketing that you’re doing. So much of what we’re all told about lead generation is, frankly complete and utter nonsense you see all this stuff that’s out there now with the proliferation of, of Internet Marketing and the internet is it’s this interesting beast, because you’ve got a lot of marketers out there that have really jumped on to the idea that there’s this cool new, very highly technical way to market and then you’re sitting there as a business owner and you probably don’t understand all of the different things that go into that.

I was talking with a business owner and that was in the last two weeks and he’s got a company that’s charging him to do SEO and to post on social media and, and do some things like that. And, and those are great things. But he was sitting there thinking that he was going to see a payoff in, you know, in a matter of weeks or months. And, you know, of course, I’m talking to him. And I know from experience that SEO in particular unless you’re in an industry that’s not very competitive. And if you are, frankly, I’d be worried about your business model and the business that you’re in, because, at this stage, every business where there’s money to be made is pretty darn competitive for SEO. But he was expecting a really quick payoff and in my experience, and in talking to all of the SEO experts that I know, and I’ve interviewed a number of them on our podcast, they look at it very differently. They look at it as a long term investment and an asset that you’re creating in the business.

SEO, Marketing, and Realistic Expectations

What struck me about these conversations was just this disconnect in the thinking because the That business owner I was talking to really didn’t understand how SEO in his case and how social media posting fit with his business and the goals that he was trying to achieve. I find this a lot with service businesses because so much of what’s out there is really geared towards selling products. But if you’re selling a really high-end service that requires that your client have a great deal of trust in you and then, a pretty big check, then you’re going to want to market to them a little bit differently. You’re going to really want to focus on creating depth of relationship, creating great familiarity, positioning yourself as an expert as an authority because you are and you should be and the medium that you use, the way you go about that needs to match that end goal.

It also needs to match the time frame within which you’re trying to produce results. And so I want to as we go through today we’re going to walk through how to kind of reverse engineer and back into the best way to choose a marketing medium. And you’ll be able to use this then anytime anybody comes to you with an opportunity to do some marketing and you’ll be able to really critically analyze it and make a good decision for your business. What I hope that you will get out of this is that marketing really can and should be a lot simpler than you maybe feel that it is.

And really, you want to look at how can you simplify the whole process of business development so that you’re generating better clients with less and less effort as you go forward? And so that when that next new marketing tactic comes along, or you hear about somebody doing really, really well with something, you not only got a framework for thinking that through whether or not it’s appropriate for your business, but you can avoid that whole foam of that fear of missing out. Because you know, you’ll be confident that what you’re doing is working and effective, and you’ll know how to add things on to it over time because you’re going to want to add things on to it over time. And as we go through this are really kind of eight key points that I want to cover.

The 8 Key Points

We’re going to go through them fairly quickly. And what I want you to do is, is listen to this episode, probably two or three times, because I think as you listen to it, you’ll you’ll hear some of the little nuances as we go through so that you’ll be able to apply this thinking to your business so so let’s get started with these eight points. Okay, so we want to begin with the end in mind. And I think it’s important to think about the right end okay. The in mind isn’t that you want to implement some marketing, the end in mind is that you want to grow your firm. And you need to know what that growth looks like. So I’ll talk to business owners. And one of the first questions I ask is, you know, where do you see yourself three years from now? What kind of growth and progress will make you happy? And when I asked them that, often, I’ll get an answer. That sounds something like well, I’ll take all the clients I can get. And that sounds good on the surface. But then when I asked them, okay, well, if I could get 10,000 clients for you in the next month, can you handle that? And in most of the service businesses that we’re talking to the immediate thing they say is no, no, we need more like 10 over the next six months, and we’d be doing really well. Or we need five in the next month, or we’d like to add one a week or two. A week, you know, it’s not a, an enormous number typically.

And so it’s really hard to make progress until you have a specific number in mind. Now, you will likely raise that number over time as you increase the capacity of your business to be able to onboard and serve more clients. But it’s unlikely that you’re going to be able to take a flood of clients tomorrow if they come and see you want to have an idea of over the next quarter. How many clients do I want to have? You know, if if I sat down and I said, this is all the growth that we would need to make me really happy with our progress 90 days from now, how many clients is that? And as you’re listening to this, as long as you’re not driving, please write that number down, get a piece of paper out, open your journal, whatever you got to do, write that number down for the next 90 days. How many clients do you need to generate to be really happy with your progress?

Okay, and now extend to that. So over the next 12 months, how many clients do you need to be really happy with your progress? How many clients do you need to add over the next 12 months to be happy with your progress? Now you have a target, and scope for the kind of marketing that you need. Because if you don’t have that number, then you need always the next marketing tactic. You need an infinite number of marketing tactics because you’re trying to market to some unknown goal to some unknown number out there. And it’s just very, very difficult to do. So that’s the first thing I want you to think about is what’s the target? Then we need to get one step closer to the sale. So if that’s the number of clients or excuse me one step further away from the sale, if the number of clients is the number of sales you make, we had a backup on step and the next thing that you need to think about is How many conversations Do I need to have? How many serious sales conversations where I make an offer to do business with a client? How many of those do I need to have to be able to get that many clients?

Or, you might think of this in terms of your conversion rate? The way I like to ask this when I’m talking to a business owner is out of the last 10 sales conversations you had, how many of those people became a client? Now, I will tell you that there’s a little bit of a danger with that question. So I’ve asked that question. I don’t know, hundreds of times. And an interesting thing happens. And it’s kind of comical. Now. I joke about it in speeches, sometimes. The number that almost always comes back is number seven. So seven out of 10. You know, the business owner will tell me they close seven out of 10. And I think most of the time that is a complete and utter lie and I don’t blame the business owner for It, I think it’s a comfortable number because they know they’re not closing 100%. Right. But they don’t want to admit to me that they might not be doing as well. And they likely aren’t tracking any numbers, so they don’t really know. And seven sounds like I’m doing okay. But I have a little room to improve, you know, but I’m not really, really awful at this.

And what we end up finding typically as we begin working with a client and really beginning to look at their numbers is that they’re usually nowhere near seven. And so what I’d like for you to do is if you don’t have a number that you’ve actually tracked on this, I’d like for you to use 30%. Okay, so if you said that I want to add 10 clients over the next quarter, that would make me really happy, then what I’d like for you to think about is that you need to have somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30 conversations to get those 10 clients now 30 probably gives you a few extra conversations, but you get the idea. And I want you to think in those sort of terms. So 30% would be your multiplier there. Okay, then we need to go one further step back. So now if we need to have 30 conversations to get 10 clients, how many new relationships do we need to open with? Yeah, how many people do we need to introduce to our business to generate those 30 sales conversations over the next 90 days? So this is going to tell us how many leads we need. Okay, and the way I like to think about this as a lead is somebody that you’re introducing to your business for the first time. Okay, lots of different ways to do that.

And that’s really the goal of marketing is to introduce that lead and then educate them to the point that they become a prospect. In other words, somebody who has scheduled a time to talk with you, and then ultimately educate them to the point that they become a client. So if we don’t know these things, three key metrics, it’s really, really difficult to have an effective marketing approach or decide what is the most effective approach for the goal that you’re trying to reach. Because if your goal is 10 clients over the next quarter, that’s going to dictate one set of tactics depending on who that ideal client is you’re trying to approach. But if you turn around and say, no, it’s a very different business model. We do need 10,000 clients over the next quarter to hit our goals. Well, that’s, that’s going to predicate a whole other set of marketing strategies and tactics. And so without these numbers in mind, it’s very difficult to decide what action to take in marketing.

Alright, so the next place we’ve got to get to is that number of leads. And, and if you don’t have a number there if you’re not tracking, how many new relationships do I create versus how many of those people once I create a relationship, schedule a time to talk with me about becoming a client If you don’t have a number for that, and you’re doing primarily offline marketing, where it’s referral-based, it’s, you know, maybe you’re using direct mail, you’re using speeches, presentations, things like that. If you’re using that kind of stuff already, then I want you to assume that you’ve got a 5% conversion rate from a new lead to a sales meeting. And if you’re doing primarily online marketing, where you’re at the moment, you’re relying on SEO, and you’re relying on advertising, or you’re relying solely on email marketing, and I want you to assume 1% conversion. So to get those 30 meetings, we meet, we need maybe what would that be 3000 leads, okay, now those numbers are a little bit conservative. But if we work with conservative numbers, Then it’s going to make all of this work better, you’re going to be less likely to be disappointed. Alright, so we’ve got our three key numbers.

Right, now that we’ve got our three key numbers. Now we can begin to look at how we’re going to go about generating the leads that we need. And this is where things get fun. Now you can decide how am I gonna market? Right? And chances are, those numbers aren’t really big for you. I mean, if you’re listening to this podcast, I would guess that you’re probably in some sort of a service business, you’re selling something at a high ticket, you’re selling something that requires a lot of trusts, you’re working with people you would call clients rather than customers. And chances are, you don’t need 10,000 of them to have a really great quarter. And if that’s the case, then you probably don’t need any really complicated marketing strategies to get there. You probably need stuff that you already maybe think that you’re doing, but maybe aren’t doing systematically or proactively.

And so it really will make things simpler for you. So the next question to ask here is, you know, now that we’ve kind of reversed all of our thinking and backed into how many leads we need to create, you want to then ask, what’s the fastest, easiest way to get those leads? I How can I do that with the smallest investment of my time, energy and money? In other words, what’s the most effective marketing strategy to do that? That’s a very different way of approaching this. So the way most people approach this is they look around and they say, Well, I need Facebook ads, or I need to be posting on social media, or I’m going to do LinkedIn outreach, or this or that or the other thing. Those are all great things.

As I’ve said on this podcast before, I’ve said it in webinars, I’ve said it in speeches that Every marketing approach every marketing strategy, every marketing tactic that you could identify, and tell me about, you know, I can find you an example of it working. And so they all work, it’s just a matter of what’s most appropriate for your goal.

Okay. So now that you understand, virtually every type of marketing will work in a given situation, assuming that you master that form of marketing. I want to talk about the types of prospects that there are there really only two types and my good friend and client, john Currie tells me this again and again and again. And it’s profoundly simple. There are two types of prospects those you know, and those you don’t know. And your job is to go to the ones that you know and see if you can help them and then go find people that know the ones that you don’t know, and then see if you can help those people. And that’s pretty darn simple if you think about it. And that’s really all that there is to it. Now, there are a lot of ways, and a lot of places you can go to find people who know the prospects that you don’t know. So you can go to Google. And you can pay for Google AdWords. And Google knows people who are looking for the type of problem that you solve. And if you pay them, they will introduce you to those people via an ad.

You can do SEO, and if you’re really, really good, and you Google picks you, which is never a position I like to be in. But if they picked you, because of your great SEO efforts and your amazing content marketing, then Google will introduce you to the people they know looking for what you offer. You can go to facebook, facebook knows a lot of people on the planet and if you pay them, they’ll introduce you to the people that they know, based on their demographics based on their interests. So a lot of ways to do this. But the simplest and easiest, the low hanging fruit that that most people want to overlook, because it just seems like it’s not sophisticated enough or they wrongly think that it can’t scale our referrals. Right now your clients know people that need your help. But until you make it easy for them to refer you and you remove all the risk, as I described in my book, unstoppable referrals until you’re able to do that. You’re not getting those referrals. You do actually have to work for them. You’ve got to create a process and a system to do it. I ran an interesting experiment here the last month we ran some Facebook ads for lead generation and ran them to our previously best practice.

Forming lead magnets on our site and we were generating leads to a really targeted market, the high-quality market for somewhere in the ballpark of eight to $11 a lead depending on the day. And I’ll be honest with you, I’ll pay to $11 a lead all day long. But then I got to thinking about it when we talk to our clients about referrals. And we tell them, look, we’re on a mission to transform the way that service businesses attract clients. And I’ve written two books about that, actually three books about that now with the follow-up formula. And I would love to get copies of a couple of my books in the hands of people that you know, that would benefit from reading. Let’s sit down together and let’s brainstorm. You know when you’ve got your contact list in front of you, let’s brainstorm a list. For those people, and we’ll send them a copy of, of two of my books and send it as a gift from you.

Now, when I have that conversation, again, it cost me about $10 a lead, because I’m going to mail to physical books in the mail and a letter and there’s postage and, you know, printing costs and all that. Well, when you add all that up, it’s just shy of $10 per lead. So I was just struck by the contrast between these two ways of generating leads, both are perfectly valid. On the one hand, I’m paying Facebook to bring more or less complete strangers to me that have no background on my business, and no link to it. They’re total strangers. And I’m having Facebook, bring them to me and they’re requesting some information and in return, I get an email address. That’s all about all I get Or for the same cost, sometimes a little bit less, I can go to one of my clients, I can go to one of the relationships that I’ve created over the last two and a half years on our podcast, because I’ve stayed in touch with the people that we’ve interviewed. And I can have that same conversation with them. I’m able to generate an essentially unlimited quantity of introductions that way.

And I’m able to open that relationship by getting their mailing address and their name and the name of their business and probably their you know, go find their website. And I can probably find their email address if I want that because it’s probably online somewhere. And I’m going to send them something that is a much better and stronger introduction to our business. They’re going to get get a couple of books, they’re going to immediately see us positioned as an author their authority and expert.

And I’d much rather for the same investment, open relationships that way. And so when you begin to do this sort of thinking, you now realize, okay, well to reach the number of leads that I need, what’s the most effective way for me to do that, in our case, we’re not trying to reach that many leads will probably reach about 100 leads a month by referral, maybe, maybe 200. Both of those numbers are relatively easy to do because we’ve got a mechanism in place with books and books are easy to create, don’t think that’s a big hurdle for you. If that’s something you want to do, and you need help, and you’re not a writer, reach out to me because that’s something that we love doing for clients.

But I’ve now got a really powerful way to open up all these relationships. I don’t have to worry about the next algorithm change on or policy change. On Facebook, or with SEO or anything else, I’m in control. This is based on my ability to create good relationships with other people. And that will generate more than enough leads, both for today, and I’m planting seeds for tomorrow. But if I don’t go through this thinking process where I work backwards to the number of leads that I need per year, per quarter, per month, per week, then I may look at this method and go, I will never be enough. And that’s the reason I want you to go through this thinking you may not end up on referrals as the way for you because you may look at that number and go, I need thousands. Oh my goodness, I need thousands of leads, you know, or 10s of thousands of leads. And if that’s the situation you’re in is probably going to steer you towards a different type of media, different strategy. That’s okay.

But until you go through this thinking process, it’s going to be really hard for you to Identify what that strategy is. And I think the number will surprise you, it’s probably fewer than you believe. And particularly if you’re doing something that’s going to generate better quality leads, like a referral, that will relationship started with a book and an introduction, I think what you’ll find is you’ll actually be very, very effective, and you’ll get better quality leads, and so you won’t need as many. And so I hope that your takeaway here is that there’s a way to approach this. And a way to think about lead generation that doesn’t start with the method. It actually starts with, what are you trying to accomplish, and then backing in by the numbers to get to exactly the number of leads you need to generate and then picking your method from that.

And when you do this, when you’re able to go through that thinking I want you to imagine for a minute instead of Having stress around business development, what if you had a process a single process that was easy for you to execute that fit with your personality that fits with your business, were either someone on your team or or affirm that you partner with executes most of the steps, and, frankly, executes all of the steps that you don’t like doing. Imagine how easy it would be then to grow your business. I give you an example of that. I don’t like doing all the follow up around these referrals. I don’t like doing all of the administrative steps that come around that. So we have a referral manager in our business. And the referral manager does all of the stuff that I don’t want to do. I want to have that relationship with the client. I want to have a conversation with the partner because I’m passionate about that part of it. But then I need somebody to come in and take things over.

And so I want you to think about how easy business will be when you get to a point where you have one method and you don’t always have to be stressed about Do I need to do five methods or 10 methods or 15 different methods of, of getting clients that I’ve got this one overall strategy. And I’ve got a team in place that executes that. And I only do the things that I really love doing, I imagine how easy it will be to grow your business and to attract the right kinds of clients. Now, the other side of that is, if you don’t go through this thinking process if you don’t get that kind of system in place if you don’t build a team around yourself, because as the entrepreneur, you cannot do everything. That’s not a business that’s being self-employed. You’ve got to get a team around you who can support you so that you’re doing the things that you’re uniquely good at.

And if you don’t do that, and you may be listening to this thinking, well, I don’t have that now. What’s your experience business development, I’ll guess that it’s probably a pretty stressful one. And I have to tell you, I’m on a mission of trying to get this message out to folks. So that you can elevate how you operate your business that the business development part of your business is almost effortless for you that it’s a process that you love doing. But it starts with reverse engineering with backing into how you’re going to go about doing that business development. And then once you’ve done that, build the team to run that system and run that process. And when you’ve got that everything becomes easy. So I hope this has been really helpful. I’ve been this has been an idea that’s been on my mind for a few weeks now. I’m glad it finally got on the calendar to get recorded and get out there. And if this helps you drop me a note. I’d love to know if the solo episodes are helping you. If they’re making you think a little bit differently about your marketing about growing your business. I just love doing these and I hope they’re valuable for you.

Until the next episode. Stay unstoppable.

This Episode of the Unstoppable CEO podcast is sponsored by the unstoppable agency that is the agency part of our business where we work with professional service firms and create a done for you marketing program. And what that looks like is we actually sit down with you, we come together and define your ideal client with you. We go build a list of those people, and then we begin reaching out to them on your behalf to book them as guests on your podcast. We call it podcast prospecting. And it’s a fantastic way to connect with potential clients and influencers that can refer you and its end to end it done for you system. And so if that’s something that you think might be the right fit for your business, go to our website, go to unstoppable co.net. You can find it there on the homepage, a link to a video presentation that explains how it all works. And if you’d like let’s get together and have a quick 20-minute conversation and see if we’re fit again. That’s an unstoppableceo.net right on the homepage, look for a link to the video. That is Points how it all works.

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