Why SMEs need to reassess how they look at generating leads

Remember that old saying, if all the fish are swimming in one direction, dare to be different and swim in the opposite way. It’s kind of similar when it comes to lead generation and growing your business. Every person seems to be slinging the same old strategies – whether its bulk automated LinkedIn messages, below average telemarketing calls or stuffing your mailbox full of trashy brochures. Just like that fish, you need to dare to be different and stand out from the crowd if you’re going to succeed.

So, how do you stand out from the crowd? Well, always keep in mind your prospects are smart and in order to strike up a conversation with them, your strategy needs to reflect that.

The first thing to always remind yourself is, “it’s not about you!” Your prospects simply don’t care about you and what you’re selling, why should they? They are busy professionals running their business and you have come out of nowhere and demanded their time. Put yourself in their shoes, are you instantly interested if someone starts selling to you? Nope.

What it’s really about is them. If you can make this switch and get your lead generation output to reflect this and resonate with their situation and pain points, you will instantly be miles ahead and stand out compared to everyone else who’s mindlessly selling and pushing products.

Personalisation is critical. Bulk and generic simply doesn’t work anymore as your customers are too smart. Your prospects are just like any other person, they want to hear about themselves. If you instantly start selling your product via a bulk email without showing you have researched them, you will lose all credibility and it will be over before it has even begun. Add your personalisation right at the start of your approach to capture their attention right away.

After you have captured their attention with personalisation, next up is to identify the specific pain points in their industry you solve. Specifically, how do you establish this? Let’s say for example you offer Facebook advertising and you can help restaurants, rather than saying “we can help you with Facebook ads”, talk about their need and desired situation, “we’ve helped hundreds of restaurants x5 their bookings throughout COVID”.

Notice how Facebook ads, the commodity being sold wasn’t even mentioned, but how much more impactful it read?

Nobody cares about how, they care about their desired outcome. The how will come later in discussions and doesn’t need to be in your lead generation approach as the goal of generating leads isn’t to sell your service, but rather the value in a conversation.

Sell nothing except the value of a conversation. A good way to do this is to ensure there is some value or something you are giving to prompt the conversation, this could be a free audit or assessment of their situation.

As a small business, it’s important to reassess how you’re generating leads. Start with a personalised conversation and ditch the overly salesy and product pushing approach. It’s not the 60s anymore when the only method to buy was through smooth-talking salespeople. Prospects have the internet now and can inquire with dozens of companies in a few clicks. So, for smaller businesses who don’t have that marketing manpower, lead generation is the perfect solution to create your own opportunities.

But remember, when approaching businesses to start a conversation, we need to put ourselves in the shoes of who we’re reaching out to and think what would be valuable for them to have a conversation. At the end of the day, it all starts as a conversation.

Jesse Kelly, Founder, J2 Group

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