Finding Leads...Before and After YouBy: Christopher Wright
Once again...everyone's looking for leads. One can't really blame them...they are the 'life blood' of business. Lets take a look at a simple strategy for locating leads, not just a look but a vertical look.
"Are You In...The Cycle?"
Sometimes the best way to find leads is to work your cycle (sales cycle). Before you can 'work' this cycle, you first must find where you fit in this cycle. Once this is done, then its just a matter of contacting those before and after you to inquire as to the possibility of a promotion.
Now, you may be wondering what I mean by 'before and after' you. This means who will your customers need before they see you and who will they need after they've done business with you. This applies whether you're focusing online or off-line.
"Form Your Crosses...Join Your Joints"
Ok, you've found your place in the sales cycle, now it's time to contact other businesses. The hot term now on the net is 'joint venture', but its been called 'cross promotions' for ages off-line. Let's say you're wedding planner and you're looking to increase your business. Let's see what we can do. Who would your potential clients need before they seek out your services? Surely they'll need wedding rings. So, let's contact some jewelers. Don't expect many jewelers to jump for joy over your prospective 'joint venture'...at least without some incentive.
The best incentive (but not always) is cash. How much should you offer? Should it be a flat fee per referral or a percentage of what they spend? This is something only you can answer. Your decision will be based on your expenses and profit margins.
Why pay a referral fee you ask? Simple. What you give up on the front end, you'll more than recoup later on the back end. How? Well, lets look at who they'll need after they've done business with you? Maybe they'll want to go on a honeymoon...which means they will probably want a good travel agent. Now, you contact (ahead of time, of course) travel agents and propose a similar joint venture to the one you used with the jeweler. Only this time, you'll be receiving the referral fee.
We're not finished yet! Keep these names on file in your database, we'll be using them to generate other streams of revenue for our (um..I mean your :) business. You have their anniversary date...it was the date you helped plan remember? Well send a postcard to the husband about a week or so before asking if he would like some flowers sent to his wife's job (women love that). What about sending a postcard about a month before the date offering a special discount on jewelry? Or maybe its their fifth or tenth anniversary and they've been talking about another vacation. Send a postcard a month or two offering a discount on a vacation package.
How will you be offering all these discounts on these services...through your 'joint ventures' you'll set up ahead of time! You're only limited by the time and effort you put into this strategy.
© Copyright 2002, Christopher Wright
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