A few weeks ago, when we trained our EMPOWER Tribe members on “How to nurture customer relationships” we talked about human-to-human contact. My goodness, I’ve received so many messages from the ladies of the tribe since about how “it’s just not possible for my business”.
The thing is, we are all resistant with the idea of reaching out personally: calling, sending personal messages, knocking on doors (God forbid!), getting in front of “strangers”.
And I get it. It’s not easy. We put ourselves up for the risk of “rejection” or being perceived as “intrusive”. Then we create all the little stories to cover the fear: “I don’t want to disturb people, I don’t like when sales people call me, so surely other people would not like me calling them, It’s not my personality, I don’t like being pushy,” and so on.
Here’s the moment of truth: there is no way around it, especially for small businesses! Growth starts with one client at a time until you build the trust and brand equity of your business.
Human contact is the strongest form of lead generation, because it’s the highest point of lead nurturing.
Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel, and through every step of the buyer’s journey. It’s the art of focusing your marketing and communication efforts on listening to the needs of prospects, and providing the information and answers that they need, when they need it.
No other method will help you to acquire clients more than personalised, direct contact. However, I would definitely agree that this always requires labour intensity and sometimes you simply don’t have the time nor energy.
So, how can female micro business owners and solopreneurs generate leads in a consistent, continuous and effective way?
There are 3 main aspects that you need look into when you are mapping out your lead generation plan:
- Your method
- Your offer
- Your message
1. Your lead generation method
Method is basically the channels you use to reach people. Your choice of method should be carefully analysed based on 2 parameters:
- How labour-intense the method is: The more that the method involves personal interaction, the more time and energy it takes – hence I call it labour intensive. Calling a person requires your presence and the time to do that. Sending a personalised mail is the same. Of course, there are CRM tools which make certain tactics easier, such as MailChimp, which can send personalised emails in bulk and allow you to see in detail who opened your mail, clicked links, etc. Having said that, it has been proven that the receiver of a bulk email is less receptive to the message than the receiver of a genuinely written personal mail. On the other hand, the time spent as human contact increases your chances to qualify leads, hence increases your conversion rates. Which brings me to the second point…
- Quality leads: What I mean by “quality leads” is how likely a prospect is to buy your product or offer. This is directly linked to the problem that you are solving. If a potential customer (a lead) is suffering from the problem that you are solving; if they feel it strongly and often enough and if they have a high willingness and ability (economic power) to solve that problem, the chances are high for them to become a customer. That is, of course, you are doing your job in the conversion stage – which we will cover next week. So basically, solving the problem needs to be important and a high priority for them at the time you are talking to them.
NOTE I am sharing special tools to assess which lead generation methods are most appropriate from an effectiveness and quality point of view. You can still join EMPOWER Tribe for free to access business enablers (tools, templates, methods) as well as our training modules.
2. Your lead generation offer
My personal opinion is that the start-up world of applications has fundamentally transformed consumer behaviour. Have you ever bought any online membership or app without using either a part of the product or service or the entire product for free? We all sign-up first for free trials, either with limited usage or limited time. This has deeply transformed our expectations. The consumer of today wants to first try, test, and engage for free before committing 100%.
Unless you are selling physical products, you might want to consider adopting the same attitude for your lead generation. This will allow you to create powerful offers to attract more leads. From a micro business perspective, you need to make sure to do a break-even analysis and prefer package offers, added value instead of simple discounts.
3. Your lead generation message
The message that you put out there is the only bridge between you and your customer. What I call ‘the message’ is your brand and the words that will lead people towards your business.
This has to be thought out strategically, aligned with your business values and empathetic with your audience to ensure identity, difference, impact and consistency, hence greater connection.
As a female micro business owner or ‘solopreneur’, chances are that you’re lacking time. Therefore, your lead generation activities should be sharp and strong with the highest results and this is only possible if you are able to plan it carefully.