The focus for many business owners is the question of “how do I increase my sales?” What they generally fail to realize is a better question to ask is, “how do I generate more leads?”
We are trained to focus on sales. After all, it is the thing you look at on the financial statements at the end of the month, It is the thing your banker or other stakeholders likely ask you about when you report on your business. You know you need them in order to have the money to pay your bills, so it seems only logical this is where your focus would be. The problem is no matter how long you look at the number, it won’t improve it.
In reality your sales number is simply the result or measure of everything done previously in your sales process. An effective sales process can certainly increase sales, without a doubt, but even the most effective sales process can only yield a sale if there are people entering into it. If you want more sales, you need to generate more leads.
The easiest way to think about this is by putting jelly beans in to a funnel. The funnel is your sales process. If you put one jelly bean into the funnel, the best you can hope for is one jelly bean out the bottom. It there is something in that funnel that catches up the jelly bean, then you could have nothing. At the same time, if you pour 50 jelly beans into the funnel and even if some of them get caught up, the odds are you will get more than one out the bottom and likely more.
Leads are the same. The more qualified leads you are able to put in your sales funnels, the better your odds in getting to an actual sale.
Here are our top three tips for generating more leads:
- Networking – It is easy to get caught up in your business and in the busy-ness that comes in owning one. I don’t know how many times people tell me they are too busy to attend an event, as if they are not in control of their schedules and priorities. Networking as part of lead generation is every bit as important as anything else you are doing in your business. If you don’t have sales, you don’t have a business. If you find yourself putting this critical task at the bottom of your list, maybe it is time to put it to the top and schedule in opportunities to meet new leads.
- Ask for referrals – One of the easiest ways of generating leads is to ask the people you are currently working with if they know of anyone else that could benefit from working with you. It never hurts to ask, but be prepared that they could say no, but that isn’t because they don’t want to help you out…it could be that they don’t want to share you. Don’t be afraid to ask every once in a while, simply so you keep top of mind and they are aware that you would be interested in helping others.
- Profile your customers – When you profile your customers, whether that be in your business, or your social media page, or in some of your advertising, you are not only telling them how important they are to you. You are also helping others to see how they might fit with you and what you do. In other words, if I know you work with this type of person and I consider myself to be like them, then I too might want to be your customer.
If there is any of these things you are uncomfortable with, then look for someone that can help you overcome these hurdles because the payback will be worth it to you and your business. Finally, as you generate more leads, track the numbers on a monthly basis. While this measure may not seem as exciting as the sales number, knowing how many people you are touching each month will pay dividends over the long term.
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