I’ve had my consulting business for almost 20 years now, yet I still vividly remember my first day. I was sitting in my lovely new office (well actually it was a 100 year old converted house but it was new to me) and I realised with complete terror that I would have to generate leads and sales to survive in business! Not something an introverted marketing consultant felt comfortable doing.
Fast forward to today… over the past 6 months I’ve been doing some research and I’ve interviewed over 100 Marketing Consultants. A surprising result has shown up… even though marketing consultants enjoy doing lead generation for their clients, when it comes to promoting themselves there seems to be an issue. I can totally understand, because I am exactly the same, however over the years I’ve worked out a way to do lead gen and convert in a comfortable non-pushy way. I thought sharing some insights into what I’ve learned in almost 20 years of consultative selling may be useful to business owners of all types.
I’m not a sales person by any stretch of the imagination however I can build a business. Let’s start with how I see sales: Put me in front of someone who has a business or marketing problem and I can ask all the right questions to get enough information to be able to give them a useful solution. When I do that, people want to engage my help and pay me for it (aka give me a sale).
So to me, its not about hard selling something that people don’t want. It’s about asking intelligent questions, listening to peoples problems, and giving them an experience of what it would be like working with you. Anyone can do that, right?
The research I’ve done shows almost 99% of the people I’ve spoken do what they do because they love helping people. That’s the one key mindset adaption I’d like you to make if you haven’t already… selling is simply helping people solve problems. If what you offer isn’t a solution to their problem, move on – don’t try to force it on them or convince them. Someone else will need what you offer.
Here are some key Lead Gen gems I’ve learnt:
- Understand your target audience intimately (not superficially, and don’t guess)
- Do your research to discover the problems your audience has, the language they use and where they do business
- Make a list of questions that will help you quickly identify the high value problem you can solve for them
- Have a discussion with the intention of solving a problem and giving great value to demonstrate your expertise
- Ask to work with them – there are ways to do this without being pushy (listen to podcast 11 for some ideas)
Which Lead Gen strategies should you choose?
Lead generation differs for different types of businesses, different audiences and to achieve different objectives.
Here is a quick overview of the nine Lead Gen strategies we have used over the years to build a Business to Business consulting company. Please note we don’t recommend you do all of these. Choose one or two things to start with.
Choose the right mindset and seek to serve not sell. People don’t like being sold to – they appreciate being helped.