Landing new clients is exciting. So exciting, in fact, that many companies prioritize exceptional client service over generating new leads. Having worked for two companies that failed primarily due to a lack of new business, I’ve made it a huge focus in my company to never run out of leads.
When I was working in the finance department at Boa Construction in 2004, for example, we saw revenues increase by about $18 million in just a few years. But with the market becoming more competitive and the economy beginning to decline in 2008, our sales group couldn’t land any new business. We ran out of work because we had never established a system to consistently bring in new prospects, leads, and clients.
The truth is that most businesses are the same: a bad month or two away from going broke, constantly trying to figure out how to meet payroll and struggling to maintain consistent profits. Without systems in place to keep new clients flowing in, you’ll be hustling nonstop to find new business.
To avoid this kind of anxiety — and its potentially devastating consequences — you can take a few simple steps to continuously move your business forward every day.
Balancing great client service with lead generation and prospect cultivation means investing time. Here are a few effective, incremental strategies for generating new business that won’t leave you scrambling. The best part? You don’t have to do all of this at once.
Dedicate small increments of time to marketing outreach, and make it nonnegotiable. This could entail strategic LinkedIn messaging over the course of a few months, weekly LinkedIn Group announcements, or regular updates to your social media profiles — the best systems combine these tactics.
Using our Case Study Strategy, we land at least 12 appointments every month. First, we develop a simple case study related to our ideal prospect. Then, we find at least six candidates who match it using a LinkedIn profile search and send requests to connect. Once they’ve accepted, we send concise, personalized thank-you notes, including the case study tailored to them.
Nearly 60 percent of internet marketers believe email marketing outperforms all social media. Why?
People don’t always check their LinkedIn or Facebook profiles regularly, so messages on those platforms sometimes go unread. However, most check their email frequently. We filter out prospects who’ve replied in some way to our previous messages, and then drip a follow-up email campaign to anyone who hasn’t yet responded. Persistence keeps you top of mind until prospects are ready to buy.
Plan ahead by scheduling scripts and tracking where prospects are in the campaign. Don’t be sloppy and send the same message twice or leave important contacts off your list. Believe me, people know when they’re receiving canned mass communications.
Most importantly, keep an eye out for responses in your inbox — the quicker you respond, the greater your chances of building a connection. According to one study, of 433 sales departments contacted, only 7 percent responded within the first five minutes. A staggering 55 percent didn’t respond within five business days.
Don’t be like those slow-to-reply sales teams. If someone expresses interest in talking with you, respond quickly and thoughtfully to keep the discussion going. There’s nothing worse than coming off as unresponsive or looking like you don’t have your act together. What’s more, having all of that information will also make for a much more seamless onboarding process when you do close a sale.
Seem like too much to tackle yourself? Customer relationship management software can automate some of these tasks for you. You could also add a live chat feature to your site for an even faster direct response.
Spending just a small amount of time each day on outreach can keep you off the cash-flow roller coaster by generating consistent leads you can nurture into new clients. How do you keep your team flush with leads?
Entrepreneur and Wall Street Journal best-selling author Josh Turner is considered one of the leading experts in utilizing LinkedIn to grow your business. He’s the founder and CEO of LinkedSelling, a B2B marketing firm that specializes in LinkedIn lead generation campaigns. Josh also operates Linked University, an online training program for LinkedIn marketing. Learn more about Josh’s LinkedIn and business expertise in his books “Connect” and “Booked.”