Ask most professionals and business owners what their biggest marketing challenge is and the answer you'll hear more than any other is “lead generation”.
Ask what they mean by a “lead” and the answer is always “contact with someone who needs my services” or something similar.
Dig a little deeper and ask over what timeframe, and the answer is always “now” or “soon”.
And that's the problem.
The reason we don't have many leads is that we focus on trying to connect with people who are ready to buy right now.
There just aren't that many of those people.
Go through this thought experiment. If you think of all the businesses or individuals in your market who are a great fit for you. Right size of company, right geography, right sector, right attitude. Whatever defines your ideal client.
Out of those people – what percentage will believe they have a need for your services or those of someone like you right now or in the next couple of weeks?
For most people it's a small percentage. 1%. 5%. 10% at most.
Then think of those same businesses or individuals – what percentage of them will come to believe they need your sort of services in the next year? The next 2 or 3 years?
The number rises dramatically. Maybe to 30%. 50%. 80%
So in other words, when you first connect with a potential client. Be it at a networking event, via a sales letter, or them coming to your website. The chances are very slim that they need your services soon – that they're a “lead” in the commonly used sense.
But the chances are very high that they'll need your services in the next 3 months, 6 months, 1 year or 3 years.
What's the difference between the two? Time. You'd ideally like to be talking to that person in 3, 6 12 or 18 months time when the time is right and they're ready to buy.
What's the best way of of getting to speak to them then?
Keep talking to them. You've made your initial connection – now build a relationship. Demonstrate your credibility so they call you when the time is right.
What do we actually do?
We ignore them. We focus our energy on finding people who are ready right now. Trying to find the needle in the haystack rather than nurturing relationships with potential clients for the future.
Lead generation is tough if you only see leads as people ready to buy right now.
If you switch your mindset to leads being people who will buy in the future, there are many, many more of them. Orders of magnitude more.
Nurture those relationships and you'll have a ton more leads when the time is right for them.
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