How to successfully generate leads in the business world

networking business leads

Business is all about making sure your leads count. You see it on countless business forums and social media groups. Business owners and managers of all sizes are actively seeking new ways to make vital connections.

One of the most common mistakes a business can make is to confuse marketing and/or advertising with lead generation. But the idea of being visible cannot replace what it takes to build a true relationship.

As a print company, we’ve seen our fair share of marketing collaterals and ideas destined to kick goals in lead generation. And as an interested business always looking to improve, we’ve also seen a few marketing campaigns that don’t quite hit the mark.

So we thought we’d share this knowledge with you. Here’s the Saunders Print Group guide to successfully generating leads in the business world

Don’t let the technology blind you

There is an amazing array of ways to market, advertise and publicise your business. And it can get quite exciting to explore technology and make use of the latest trend. Or get caught up in innovations and automations.

But the technology you use is only as good as the connection it makes with the customer. Modern customers are cynical of marketing and advertising. They also self research to work out whether your claims are genuine and suit their purposes. And when they make a purchase decision, they want to be able to feel connected to the product. They want to be able to trust you and your business.

So no matter the platform you choose, make sure what you’re using gives your customer the ability to explore your business on their own terms. Let them make an informed decision by helping them with the education process. And work on building trust over time.

Remember that a customer is a busy person

The average Australian working week may be 50 hours a week, but the average manager is working a lot longer than that. We spend time answering emails during the commute home. Alerts on our phones let us know about our marketing and our business 24/7. And we live in an age where the market doesn’t sleep. There is always money to be made, customers to look after and problems to solve.

We don’t have brain space for the random person who has only thought about their product and not about the needs of the people who use them. We’ve got TO DO lists that stretch for miles and it’s far easier to file something away for later or delete it outright than decode its importance.

So when you write, market or contact a customer:

  • Make it succinct and solution orientated. They want to know you can solve their problems, not add to the thinking they need to do
  • Forget the corporate marketing spin. Really nut out why you are excited to help your customer. Let them know you’ve taken time to work out why you’re the company for them
  • Respect their time. Make your lead generation activities simple and easy for the time pressured person. Don’t make them think about it or get back to it later because they won’t

Take the opportunity to make an introduction

All great relationships, work or otherwise, begin with an introduction. There’s a certain joy in experiencing the anticipation associated with a new discovery. Getting to know someone and exploring the opportunities for a relationship is part of building trust. And it also provides something memorable and alluring.

A lot of lead generation reads like a cereal box of ingredients or a checklist. It misses the opportunity to reveal the product at hand and to think about it later.

We may be biased, but we think one of the most overlooked tools of seduction in business is the humble business card. It provides a lot of personal contact details, gives your customers somewhere else to explore, and invites them to contact you.

Where things go wrong is when the business card becomes an afterthought or something that isn’t tied to that feeling of opportunity.

Making a true introduction should include:

  • Offering that introduction to the right person. Not everyone you meet is right for your business. So be selective. Make your offering of a business card a true invitation to connect
  • Don’t be shy about making your feelings known. Just like you would let a potentialfriend know you were interested, so too should you make a business contact or customer feel welcome
  • Losing the sales patter and focussing instead on relationship. Work on your 60 second pitch so someone knows how you fit into the scheme of things. But also show your humanity. Start building trust right from the beginning by customising your approach to suit the person

Follow up that introduction

Collecting email address and business cards that don’t get used. Building websites that are hidden away and never referred to. Having social media that doesn’t greet the person as they join. The calls and voice mails that go unreturned. These are the failures in lead generation.

Yet so many smart business people assume these things don’t matter. Or that dropping them as a priority won’t matter in the long run.

But think of it this way. If you invited someone to a social gathering and they turned up, how would they feel if you ignored them?

The person who is asking for further information comes in many forms. They may be your Twitter follower, email subscriber or business card keeper. But there are a lot of things that can get in the way between a customer indicating they like your product in this way and the sale that should eventuate.

It’s up to you to make sure they don’t end up feeling shy or being swept off their feet by another opportunity. Or leaving because they think you were not that into them in the first place after all. So always follow up.

Some simple ways you can stay in front of mind are:

  • Writing a “nice to meet you” email after you’ve met in person and exchanged details
  • Sending a personal or auto-return email when someone registers that includes freebies and goodies
  • Keeping a watchful eye on rises in your social media and asking them to introduce themselves. Or thanking them for joining the party

The bottom line on great lead generation: Respect the little things

You don’t have to offer shiny prizes or big incentives to make new customers interested. You have to make an introduction that counts. And use that as a building block to fostering further contact and sharing of information.

What we want more than anything in business is to have our problems solved and our value respected. By working to make sure you’re always relevant, front of mind and associated with helpfulness, your word of mouth increases.

Respecting the little things means you’ll be the company introduced as the thinking, supportive and open option.

Isn’t that what you want from lead generation? Want the best tool in the business for your lead generation needs? Check out Business Cards Australia now.