This is my response to someone who recently asked how to generate sales leads:
First I would not try to compete on price. Customers only want to know what is in it for them. You are not selling a product or service but the solution to someone’s problem.
When writing an advert, or rehearsing an answer to the “What do you do?” question; follow the AIDA acronym: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action.
You first need to get their ‘attention’ with how your product will solve their problem. Then provide some more interesting information about how your product will solve their problem. Give them powerful reasons for buying your product, and then tell them the next step they need to take, at the very least get their name and email address (full postal address and phone number if possible). Once you have their details you can send them hints and tips that would be valuable to them; while giving details of your product and any promotional offers. Avoid jargon; it is about them not you.
Go to business networking events and get to know the local business owners, understand their businesses and then let them understand your business. The formula is: Understanding + Trust = Referrals.
You are seven times more likely to make a sale from a referral than a cold call or advert.
Get referrals by asking your current customers if they know anyone who might need your product or service. Get testimonials from satisfied customers and use them in your marketing. The “I did not think I needed ….. but now I am really pleased that…. because….” format works very well. Also, ask what other problems they are having and recommend one of your colleagues from your networking groups. If you get business for other people, by the ‘law of reciprocity’, they will want to return the favour.
Give some information (and a gift?) away free to develop trust and credibility, in return for their contact details. The information could be in the form of a small ‘How to’ booklet that gives, for instance, “10 things you need to know about….”
Do a talk at network meetings and have a business card draw for a prize. Get people to write ‘M’ on the back of a card if they would like to meet you one to one. You need to develop a large group of people who see you as a trusted expert and believe it is worth paying extra for your product or service. Give a guarantee that beats your competitors.
You need to give people a reason to respond to your advert – some kind of limited offer. An extra ‘something’ free if purchased before a certain time; a time limited discount; something from a related industry free; a ‘refer a friend’ or buy on get one free promotion. Build trust by giving a reason for the promotion (stock clearance, anniversary sale, etc.).
Also, you could do a joint venture with related industries: residential security with a fencing company, for example, or financial advisor with a Will writer.
Whatever words you use or people you work with, trust your feelings. If you feel ’uneasy’ about anything think again!