Archives For lead generation

1-hc-book-ad-3-0aDoes Your Website Generate Meetings?

Is There Something on Your Home Page To Draw Me In?

And once in, will I move to paying status quickly, with a clear path to higher margin services?

I’ve been writing this month about value propositions and attracting new leads. Most of the reseller and MSP sites I visit don’t actually advertise anything. There’s no conversion process in place.

However, some offer a FREE ASSESSMENT or sign-up for their e-newsletter.   Does that work?

In an post (earlier this month) I showed how these types of initial offerings, offer little value. Few qualified buyers want another electronic newsletter, especially prior to building a relationship with you.

At first contact, there are a number of hurdles to clear before you start offering assessments and newsletters. (note: I like hard-copy newsletters once the relationship is established, even if they are not yet buyers).

But, for a moment, let’s pretend they do…(want your newsletter or assessment the moment they hit your homepage – an unlikely scenario).

What Happens When Someone Signs Up?

Pretend for a moment that someone would actually subscribe to your newsletter without knowing you (The other question is, would they actually read it?)…

So they visit your website through an organic search. They are looking for a new MSP provider; their current one just isn’t cutting it. Do you know they’ve been to your website?Is there anything there to capture this potential buyer’s name?

At this point they fill out your newsletter request form (but this probably doesn’t happen in real life). Are you notified now? Do you then make a call? Are they ready to buy your high-ticket item (full blown managed services)?canstockphoto40335869

Maybe. And if your team is on the ball you’ll might land a competitive quote (where price is the primary determining factor. But I’m getting ahead here…).

So last week  I tested this (you know, the newsletter sign up). My company name is SVLC. Someone who doesn’t know me would still see my name as a lead. During my research, I hit several MSP sites and subscribed to their newsletters  just to see what would happen. This is called FUNNEL HACKING.

Funnel hacking in simply looking to see what happens when you click on someone’s lead magnet. You could go pretty deep here. If they actually have some automation in the form such as up-sells and email response, you would try different options to see where they take you…and what emails you receive back.

Nothing…I didn’t get a single call or email. In fact, I didn’t even get an existing copy of their newsletter (email or hardcopy). The funnels were one step – Sign Up. Perhaps their newsletter will come out next month, but I’m not holding my breath.

Any web-surfer was only interested in that moment. A month later they’ve forgotten you.

I have no idea where my name went????? Will I ever get a call?

Great Lead Generation Takes The Prospect Through, Overcoming a Series of Hurdles

When I say hurdles, I don’t mean you’re setting up hurdles. I mean you are clearing the sales hurdles that already exist. Competition, objections, etc.

You don’t need to create more. There are plenty of roadblocks before you ever begin. Enter Nurturing Campaigns.

Cold traffic must be warmed before it can be qualified. I was talking to a guy just yesterday on a coaching call. He’s making tons of calls, having some good conversations (but mostly with IT directors). As I listened, it became obvious that, despite lots of calls, he’s only getting through to a few (that’s the be expected); however, he has very few meetings. Completely predictable.

He also has at least one lead magnet, but no real funnel to speak of. If someone happens to download his white paper (poor choice for a lead magnet in this market), he gets their name and makes a call. Rarely does it lead to a meeting.

Nurture and Ascension – The Key To Warming Traffic and Clearing Hurdles

So what should follow your lead magnet (I recommend this not be your email newsletter sign-up form – see Getting More Leads for some better options)?

I like webinars here. But something has to happen to begin the education process. When someone downloads an ebook, the chances of them actually reading it is low.  Yet they downloaded it, probably to scratch an itch of some kind. They’re trying to do something…

Sometimes a series of short emails that point the reader back to specific sections in the ebook can help. For instance, “I know you’re busy, but be sure to check out the One Big Mistake Every Business Is Making as They Move to The Cloud…it’s on page 4). Another strategy is the webinar…offering them an immediate way to get the information they need, without actually reading.

Here’s the funny thing. People will download your ebook faster than they’ll sign up for your webinar (speaking of cold traffic); however, they’ll sign up for the webinar if you offer it to them right after downloading the book. Strange, isn’t it?

And now that Everwebinar technology exists, there’s no reason to NOT do them. You can be running a webinar twice a week without ever touching it! But DON’T create one just yet.

You need a presentation designed to convert first (Note: The House & the Cloud Presentation is converting nearly 100% of the time when I speak at lunch & learns – you can get it here for just $1.00).

Once you have your high-conversion message in hand, start presenting live (by webinar) until you have perfected your pitch. The day you hit it out of the park is the day you can take your session recording over to your new Everwebinar application.

Amateurs Focus On The Front End

The front end is your low value offer…I see too many MSP providers trying to sell the big ticket item on day one. The other sin is an unwillingness to invest in the lead magnet (i.e. not willing to send hard copy or pay for an eBook that really works.)

So sales people are left to make tons of cold calls (as though it doesn’t cost the company money) to save a few marketing dollars: foolish thinking. The e-newsletter sign up and the free assessment (on your website) are really no better…

The focus should be on backend high-ticket items, with an understanding that lead generation requires investment. The cost per client acquisition is a number you determine by looking at marketing dollars spent in comparison to closed business (over a quarter for instance).

When I sell my book for $1, it costs me at least $10 – probably more when you consider the investments in funnel and webinar software products, shipping, and printing of the book. Too many people set stringent limits on their marketing budget, rather than looking at Marketing ROI.

If it’s costing me $10/book, but the entire marketing funnel is break even, at least I’m getting names for free. This is a whole lot better than buying a list…and the names are arguably better.

And if I know where to get traffic, my list may be growing exponentially over the quarter. Next, it’s time to look at ways to ascend that new prospect up the value ladder.

Stop focusing on every front end dollar. Instead, create a path from low cost/low value, to high profit/high value, with the steps necessary to clear the hurdles along the way (price objections, etc.).

Copyright 2017, David Stelzl

 

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Live Marketing Events Work

But Only If You Treat Them Like Direct Response Marketing

Every week I talk with sales people who are involved in setting up lunch & learns. In some cases they have an audience building, in other cases, they’re struggling to get people to attend.  But in just about all cases, no thought has been given to the conversion plan.

A Word On Sponsoring Vendors and Why They Should Never Be Your Speaker

Your sponsors – Vendors who supply MDF, are looking for an ROI – Return on Investment. It’s interesting to me that their demands are more often than not, to get a speaking slot. I guess they think that by speaking they have more control over the message. But the truth is, their message is not designed to convert anyone to a sale.

They’re top direct sales people likely have great selling skills, but those attending your event most likely don’t. That doesn’t mean they aren’t great channel managers or SEs, and it doesn’t ding their technical knowledge.  It simply means they don’t really know how to close a CIO or small business owner.  Why should they. It’s not in their job description.  (Of course some vendor partners do staff one or two keynote speakers – but getting one of them assigned to your account is not easy.)

Do You Have A Solid Conversion Plan?

Direct Response means, there’s a conversion plan, and you plan to measure it. I was recently talking to a channel manager about events. He made the statement, ” We pay for this – it doesn’t cost the reseller anything!” Wow, very short sighted. It’s expensive to run an event. Even if the reseller has no cash expenses. The time spent on the phone, writing invitations, and even attending they event, is costly to the hosting company. Everyone has skin in the game. So what’s the conversion plan? If it’s good, the ROI is strong and the cost is meaningless. It’s an investment with a strong return, like buying land in a growing city.

In just about every case, when I ask what the event is suppose to drive, the answer is – conversations or call backs. “We hope they’ll call us when they have a need.”

Don’t count on it. Out of sight, out of mind. The fact is, they have a need right now – it’s security. There may be other needs across the group, but this one is predictable in every account. The question is, can you move them in your one hour meeting?

Selling From The Platform Has Already Been Tested

Selling from the platform is what speakers do. If you are doing a live event, you have a speaker. If they understand the speaking industry, they know that all speakers, at least the successful ones, have learned to sell from the front of the room. We call this, “Selling from the platform.”

It’s a proven fact that if you let your audience go home without closing, they won’t be back. Maybe 2%, but not enough to call the event a success. A speaker who closes less than 25% of his audience on something, goes home feeling like he failed to close.  Does your event speaker feel the same?

Here are some statistics from my own experience.  If I make an offer and follow up by phone, it’s going to be a 2% conversion. If I have them line up in the back or go online to order, it might be 20%. If I get them to sign up by asking them while they’re listening, my close goes up to 75 and sometimes 90 or 100%.

Don’t waste your time on events with no conversion plan. Instead, start with your conversion. Convert to what? Convert to something – my favorite is the assessment.  It’s a next step that offers value and builds justification for future involvement.

Next ask, “What will cause my group to convert?” The speaker’s job is to make this conversion, but everything surrounding the speaker also encourages the conversion.  So do you need 3 speakers to convert? No. You need one – the best one.  Should your event go all day, or is one hour long enough. Test it. Find the sweet spot – where conversion numbers seem highest. Then, repeat the process over and over until you have a predictable sales model in place.

© 2016, David Stelzl

More on this process in my book, The House & The Cloud…and you can pick up Digital Money, a book built to convert your clients!

 

How will the next sales person be chosen?

So how are sales people chosen in today’s market?  It used to be  that a friendly, enthusiastic person, who was able to find common ground through activities and interests had it made.  Frank Bettger wrote a powerful book many years ago called, How I raised myself from failure to success in selling, focusing on these strengths; and they are still relevant today.  However, there are millions of sales people with enthusiasm, so there has to be more.  Here are the typical things I hear when I ask, “How were you chosen?”:

 

Word of Mouth.  This requires a reputation for results in a market driven by demand.  One or two opportunistic deals may come through word-of-mouth, but to rely on this method for new business requires a buzz in the market – meaning you are offering something in high demand and people are talking, and, you are fast becoming a leader in your space.  People talk, so make sure your reputation is above reproach.  Working higher up in the organization increases the effectiveness of this process as executives exchange ideas at social functions.  Few IT people ever interact with peers from other companies so don’t count on business growth through this channel.

Direct Reference. Trusted advisors are chosen by the buyer.  Gaining credibility in a crowded marketplace is not easy, but references can help.  Sales people that do a good job of collecting and farming references are way ahead if they use this information correctly.  When it comes to calling on clients, posting web content, or even sending a letter or datasheet, well placed quotes from recognizable companies can go a long way in establishing trust before work has been sold.  Sales people would be wise to take this into consideration on the heels of every  well executed engagement.

Vendor Affiliation. Established connections with other recognized organizations should not be underestimated.  This is particularly true when it comes to aligning with manufacturers.  I know many companies who live on leads from vendors they partner with.  That said, don’t be deceived into thinking that being a “Cisco Reseller” or any other brand reseller will help you.  It won’t unless the sales people on the street are aligned with you.  Channel programs rarely produce any reasonable leads – rather it is the sales people who are encouraged to push business to the channel that feed the reseller.  And they generally choose who they feed.

Personal contact. I generally steer away from selling to friends.  This is the problem with multi-level marketing; these people have no friends once they sign up.  They are encouraged to reach out to the neighborhood, selling to friends, church members, club members, and anyone in their immediate social circle.  It won’t be long before everyone is wary of spending time with this sort of sales person, knowing that every invitation or phone call is an underhanded attempt to sell something.  However, that said, personal contacts that are not used to overtly sell can be powerful, and establishing helpful relationships in the marketplace through LinkedIn and other business oriented networking tools or events can be powerful.  The key here is to become a valued resource to those around you.  One of the things that has worked well for me has been helping people who are actively seeking a new job or who have been displaced from a current position.   Pro bono, I offer to help them with resumes, interview skill, and contacts.  I don’t do this to overtly solicit their help in new business, but by being helpful.  The favor is often returned.  The idea is to become a valued contact rather than a leech, and as people observe your creativity and value, you’ll be remembered when they need help later in their efforts to succeed.  One word of caution, don’t keep score, just be helpful.

Educational Marketing.  One of the most effective means of winning new business in today’s market is education.  Consumers want knowledge, and those who establish themselves as educational resources become the advisors of the future.  Add trust to this equation and you may find yourself being chosen as the next “trusted adviser”.  Blogs, articles, events, and even sales calls that center around education rather than widget sales go a long way in establishing value.  They also create business where none existed.  Become the best educator you can be.  This is where your efforts should be spent…read, listen, learn,…teach.

* Advertisement.  I’ve purposely placed these last two items, well,… last.  Advertising in a crowded marketplace is generally a waste of time.  By this I mean, high-involvement selling such as programming, designing, integration, security, etc.  Print ads target masses of people who have no interest in hopes of finding that needle in the haystack.  Years ago this worked, but junk mail has taken over the US Post Office and they are non-profit.  No one looks forward to visiting their mail box any more.  When was the last time you received a personal letter in your mail box?    And email has followed.  Spam is a problem, don’t add to it.

* RFP Response. Here’s another waste of time.  Unless you are in the account, writing the RFP (Request for Proposal), chances are you’re wasting your time.  Some companies are required to do this (for instance, Government offices), however, when commercial companies do it, they are wasting your time.  The purpose of the RFP is to create a level playing ground.  Is that what you want?  Does it make sense to strip a company of their value, selling skills, creativity, etc. when looking for an advisor or solution provider?  No!  If you are making tons of money on RFPs, more power to you; feel free to keep going.  If you are like most, this is a losing game, one you would be better off avoiding.  If sales are lower than expected, choose to educate as stated above and build your pipeline accordingly.  Don’t mistake busy work for opportunity.

© 2010, David Stelzl