Lead Generation: Why the How Matters
edited: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
By Beth Fowler
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
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It’s how we do what we do that can set us apart from others and make us stand out in prospective customers’ minds.
He dashed over to me, jammed his business card in my hand, raved about his company’s product, and rushed off.
He never asked my name, never asked for my business card, never asked if I needed or wanted the product. I wondered if he entered our hit ‘n’ run encounter as a “lead” in his sales tracking software database.
His enthusiasm was impressive. His how was ineffective.
Dov Seidman, author of “How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything,” believes that others can replicate what we do. It’s how we do what we do that can set us apart from others and make us stand out in prospective customers’ minds. Until a prospect is converted into a paying customer, one of the ways we will be compared to a competitor is by the hows.
Chances are high that whatever service or goods you offer, there is at least one other enterprise (or maybe hundreds) on your turf offering the same or similar services and products. Even if one company’s service or product is different in some way from all the others, potential customers probably don’t know that, and will lump a company in with other widget manufacturers, banks, consultants, website developers or whatever.
How matters. A top-notch how can outweigh other factors, like price.
Prospects develop impressions and mindsets based on how we come across during lead generation contacts. Initial judgments, right or wrong, are difficult to change. People assume that how we do anything is how we’ll do everything.
Every sale begins as a lead. So if you’re trying to grow your business, it makes sense to generate as many prospects as possible, right? Not always. Obviously, you don’t want to limit your opportunities, and there are plenty of services that will, for a fee, provide sales leads.
When using a lead generation service, focus on narrow, targeted prospect definitions rather than large, sweeping markets. Take advantage of free trials and test the leads by phone or email to make sure the contact info is accurate. Getting a recipient’s name wrong, even if it’s not your fault, is a bad how.
You can make the most of each sales lead by creating an opportunity to learn about your market. Invite recipients to send feedback to your company about their current and future needs and desires, and whether they’ll be interested in learning more about your product or service. This information will help you adjust your approach and product or service to your potential customers.
Don’t look at each lead encounter as a go/no go switch. If you contacted someone who sounded interested, but wasn’t ready to buy, follow up periodically with a call, email, or a brochure. Do not add them to an email newsletter or promotion unless they request it. As you cultivate this relationship, ask if and how their circumstances have changed. (Of course, you have to know what those circumstances were in the first place.) There might be an opening for you to step right in and turn the prospect into another satisfied customer.
Learning as much relevant info as you can about each potential contact can help you differentiate yourself from the crowd, and, when appropriate, politely separate yourself from unqualified leads.
The best sales prospects might be closer than you think. A professional artist I know was shocked that at her most recent gallery showing, all of her sales were to friends and family.
How are you treating your friends, family members and others in your inner circle?
Let’s say you have 692 Linked In connections. Be different from others in how you engage those connections. For example, set up face-to-face meetings with strategically targeted connections. They’ll observe your hows. They’ll get to know and trust you, and vice versa.
According to a Princeton study, we take one-tenth of a second to make judgments about a person. Longer exposure doesn’t change the judgment, it just reinforces our judgment.
Within a tenth of a second, a first-rate how can open doors to the what.
Beth Fowler, a York SCORE volunteer business mentor, coordinates their Speakers Bureau to present at local organizations. Find SCORE chapters at www.SCORE.org. Fowler is also an Accredited Home Stager and proprietor of Home Presentation, LLC.