*Resources mentioned during the episode*
Level up with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate
How to get more leads #askanna
Hello, hello there. Welcome back as we look today at one of the Ask Anna questions that have come in and it’s funny or perhaps sad or telling or I’m not sure what the adjective is but it’s interesting that it was almost unanimous when I asked in my Facebook group and on Instagram recently, “What is your biggest struggle as an entrepreneur? Of course, as probably an early stage but actually further along as well, what is the one thing, if I could wave a magic wand, what could I get you?” And unanimously, everybody said, “More leads. I want more leads.” And I’m sure if you’re listening to this and if you’ve been attracted to this episode, then you probably want that too. And hey, I do as well. Let’s dig into this and understand how can I answer this question for you both from sort of a big, I almost want to say philosophical perspective but then also of course because I know that’s why you’re here, some really concrete strategies steps you can take.
First of all, the big philosophical perspective. Now this concern, this need for leads tends to crop up at the moment when we’re trying to get people to buy a product or service. I’ve just launched this new programme, oh my gosh, I need more leads. I’ve got this webinar, I want lots of people to sign up right now. I’ve got this five day challenge, I need money and that’s when we need more leads. However, the problem here is at the moment, that moment when you are launching, selling your programme, it’s actually already too late. Let me say that again. It’s too late. When you need the money, it’s almost too late. Now yes of course if you desperately need money and hopefully you have already done due diligence before and so on, you have a kind of audience. You have probably a network. There are clever things we can do and there are tactical things you can do.
I can literally post, send an email to everyone going, “Hey, I’ve opened up some spots for one to one clients, get in touch and we can do a one to one power hour for example. Maybe you people aren’t ready to book into a six month programme with you but they’re happy to do a one hour power hour with you. That’s often a good tool to use, to get some quick income as it were. Or maybe it’s a discount on some of your products or something. That’s the tactic you can follow to get more money coming in but in order to get more leads to actually buy your, hopefully more flagship programmes, your membership, your course, whatever that looks like, your higher end services, all the work needs to happen actually before building your audience, building the trust.
And let’s say, even if I had done that work in the past, I have my Facebook group, which I launched a long time ago actually and the business has, I guess, certainly become more, I want to say more serious, but more professional, I’d like to think. When I first started the Facebook group, I didn’t really know what I was doing. There wasn’t a clear qualification process to get people in. Probably was a lot of friends and family and so on. But if there were some people who were interested, let’s say five, six years ago, when I launched Facebook group, if I’ve just not done anything since then, left the group stagnating, if I haven’t been nurturing then building that relationship, then me suddenly messaging them all saying, “Hello, remember me? Buy, buy, buy,” isn’t going to work.
And believe me, I hold my hand up here and say, I have been tempted into doing that because I’ve got a 1,000 people in there. A lot of these people have in the past raised their hand to say that they’re interested and hey, if you’re not interested in working with me, why are you even in the group at all? It can be relevant and appropriate to message I have done and said, “Hey, you’ve expressed interest in this in the past. I’ve got this new accelerator programme coming up. Can I interest you in joining? Or if you never want to hear from me again, let me know.”
And when I’ve done that actually, I think one person asked me to remove them from the Facebook group, which is fine because we want to get rid of that sort of dead weight anyway. No offence. And most other people said, “Hey,” either, “yes, I’d love to hear more.” Or, “actually this isn’t for me, but I do still want to stay in your group. I do still want to stay on your list.” There is a role for reactivating them. But what I can’t do at that moment is, as I said, just go in and go, “Hey, I haven’t talked to you in three years, buy my product.” It’s unlikely to work. Again, the main you’re launching selling, it’s actually too late. The work needs to happen before that.
Now, secondly, a bit of a mindset shift, when you’re launching, when you’re doing webinars to sell and so on, try to shift your perspective, shift your mindset, shift your definition of success, reframe that.
Your sales activities are not just intended to sell. I know that sounds strange but sales activities can also build awareness, build your brand and help people get to know you. They will see what you are talking about. They’ll see, hey, oh, this is interesting. Anna’s talking about this. I didn’t realise she was coaching in this space. That sounds really interesting. They’ll read about you. They’ll read about your programme. That all sort of sparks something in their mind and they might join the Facebook group or download something or so and they might become a lead let’s say but they don’t buy today. But that person is then coming into your community, ready to learn more thanks to you posting about that programme.
You selling and saying whether it’s, “Hey, I’ve got a few one to one slots. Hey, I’ve got this new programme coming up. Let me know if you’re interested in the future. Doors close tomorrow,” whatever the stage at which you’re promoting something, those posts are actually also generating awareness, building credibility. And in fact, that’s why it’s so important to stick with your messaging and your programmes and not just launch a new course, new programme, whatever every week or every month or several times a year, actually. What you want to be doing is becoming known for that one programme. I’ve got the Outsiders Business Accelerator. Now I’ve got the Incubator, I’ve got other programmes. I’m not saying you can’t have other programmes but the Business Accelerator, that’s my flagship, let’s say, and I’m putting that out there and people see me talk about that every few months, at least if not even more often and they know that that is the programme that I’m known for, let’s say.
If I think of Marie Forleo, she has her B-Club, Chris Ducker and his Youpreneur Incubator. Those are things that have popped up in my feed many times and I know that they’re known for that programme. And of course they do lots of other things, I’m sure but you want to be known for, I am the expert on this topic and you posting, you selling, trying to sell something, even if it doesn’t sell, that’s my point, is still building that credibility and awareness.
And finally, related to that, don’t push for the sale today at the expense of the sale tomorrow. If I have a one to one consultation call with you, if I can sense that you’re hesitant, you’re not quite ready, I can be pushy. I can try to persuade you. I could use if I were a better salesperson than I am, lots of tactics, I’m sure, to compel you, to convince you to get your credit card and pay that day, you’ll probably resent me. You might even then ask for a refund or cancel later on. At least it is going to put you off and hamper the relationship, whether you buy or not. That’s one approach.
I could do that pushy approach or I can actually be honest, show integrity and say, “Hey, actually you are not ready. Don’t invest money in me right now.” And I do that many times.
You may even heard me say that to you because you are financially not in a position where you can afford to invest that money. And yes, my Business Accelerator is priced at a level, but it should be pretty much a no brainer. If it’s not, then there’s a bigger problem with your business if you can’t afford to pay that amount per month and that’s something you could then choose to stretch yourself and invest knowing that you will get the ROI. But of course, I never want you to put yourself into position where you’re putting your family in a precarious situation where you’re too stressed about trying to get the money. That puts a lot of pressure on me if you’re putting all your family savings on me and that isn’t a situation I want to be in and I certainly don’t want you to be in that situation either.
If I feel that you’re not ready, I can actually choose to go, “Hey, you’re not ready, but I have this. Listen to the podcast, get this free download. Hey, join the masterclass and have a listen to that. And then once you’ve done X, Y, Z things and in fact, I’m working on a course, that’s going to be then a lower investment point that people can do in their own time and then when ready, then they can join the Incubator or the Accelerator,” whatever. “Hey, check out this other free resource, take some time.” Then if I do that, hopefully most likely you’ll either A, come back later and choose me when you are ready, assuming that I’ve kept in touch with you. Or B, even if you never buy, you might become an ambassador for life.
I’ve got so people who say to me and I so appreciate that if that’s you and if you have done in the past, if you will do in the future, people say, “Oh, every time I hear about someone who wants to quit their job, I tell them about you. Every time I talk to someone who’s thinking about starting a business, I recommend your book or your Facebook group.” And that means so much. If you’re a business owner yourself, you know how much those recommendations, referrals, testimonials, ambassadorships, support your business. It’s so, so important. It’s so valued and we shouldn’t underestimate that. Even if person A doesn’t buy today, they might buy tomorrow or next year but even more importantly, they might recommend you to someone else. And again, if you’ve pushed for the sale today, if you’re like, “Oh, I’ve got to get these. These I’ve got to sell to these people,” then you’ve really lost that sale later on. You have to be in it for the long haul.
The moment you’re selling, it’s too late. You can also use your selling to build your audience and your brand. And finally, don’t push today at the expense of tomorrow. Okay, okay, Anna, I hear you but how can I get more leads? That’s the question? How can I get more leads? First, apologies I’m going to take another step back. Let’s define what a lead is. And a lead is a contact with a potential customer prospect. That means they’ve actually already gone through the first stages of finding out who you are, what you do, getting to know you or you’ve qualified them. I could write a list of anyone who’s ever, I don’t know, visited my website or even actually emailed me and so on. But if I don’t know that they are an ideal client for me, if I don’t know that they can afford my services, actually see value in my services et cetera, they’re not really a qualified lead that is likely to lead to a sale. They will have gone through those first stages.
They might have filled in a contact form, applied for a call on my site, they’ve downloaded an ebook, they’ve joined my masterclass session or they’ve joined the Five Day Escape Plan. They’ve started a conversation with me on chat, not just a, “Hey, how was your weekend? When did you get started as a coach?” But rather, “Hey, I’m in this situation, I really need your help,” and so on. Meaning that to get more leads, you have to have got more people through those first stages. Again, remember it’s too late just to try to get leads suddenly when you need to sell because there are steps before that.
But okay we’ve defined leads. Let’s also define more. Now one person who shall remain nameless said in a tongue in cheek way, but nonetheless said that they wanted infinite leads. That was their goal.
If I could wave a magic wand, I want an infinite number of leads into my business. And I challenge them as I would challenge you. First of all, to be honest, there is pretty much an infinite number of leads in the world for you if you’re talking about possible customers. Certainly there are more than enough. You will never get to the point where you have, unless you have a very, very niche business, which I think is very unlikely. Nobody’s ever been too niche as far as I’m aware. Certainly most of us are on the side of too broad.
And there are so many people who could potentially buy from you if you get the messaging right, the service right, the solution and so on. Whether it’s infinite or thousands or millions or hundreds even, it depends what service you have. If I do one to one coaching with, let’s say 10 clients a year, I don’t need 10,000 leads. Number one, to be honest albeit not mathematically accurately, there is pretty much an infinite number of leads as much as we need to think of it that way. At da! I’ve waved my magic wand, you have infinite leads. There you go.
Now secondly though, the other challenge to you is what would happen if suddenly you got those infinite leads landing on your plate, landing on your website, booking a call? And would you know what to do with them? Would you have the team, the systems, the programme, services set up to handle that? And importantly, to deliver an incredibly transformative experience for them all? I’ve talked many times before and I’m happy to explain this embarrassing scenario one more time. Years ago, Ariana Huffington shared one of my articles on LinkedIn and I got an influx of people. Probably it wasn’t even that huge but it has continued over the years in drips and drabs. Let’s say, a 1,000 people landed on the website and my book a call page and let’s say a 100 people booked.
Now, I had no application form at the time so people would just get access to my calendar. I did call after call. I spent time actually, I think doing a lovely little certificate for them at the end of the call where I told them what their one step would be. Now, I don’t know the numbers but a lot of those people didn’t even show up to the call. Most of the ones who showed up were just looking for, “Hey, can you just give me some advice?” And I’m pretty sure that none of them at all converted. I wouldn’t say they were leads. And even if they were ideal leads, I certainly didn’t have the knowledge or capacity to know what to do with them. I hadn’t filtered and qualified them. I didn’t have sort of my sales pattern, I guess, down. I didn’t quite have the understanding of who was my ideal client. How can I illustrate to them the journey I’m going to take them on? How can I ultimately sell the service.
I ask you, if you suddenly had a 1,000 people land on your website or if you’ve got a 1,000 people already, what happens if 10,000, a 100,000?
If that number suddenly exploded, would you be able to cope with it? And I think the answer is no. It’s actually in our interest to have a more gradual incremental increase so that as we get clients, we can build the infrastructure we need in the background. I learned, okay, I need this application form for calls to make sure there’s a bit of a barrier.
In fact, I think I’ve even, well, I’m going to turn it back on but I have during my maternity over the last couple of years, turned off the automatic scheduling link. I even get the application and then I can see if one of the questions is, “Are you ready to move forward and ready to invest?” They go, “No,” then I know that they’re not ready to invest. I still want to help them so I’ll tell them here’s the podcast or here’s a PDF you can read and so on but get started on that. And then when you’re ready to invest, that’s when we have the call.
We’ve defined leads and we’ve defined more. And I’m going to finish with thinking about the calculation here. I talked to you about the different stages of the process and this is what we used to do in my digital marketing days. You need to start and I’m now bringing it back to you and your business with understanding what your target income is. Then you need to look at your products and services and your prices. How many customers do you actually need or want? You need to now define what this more means for you. Based on your expected conversion rate, if I need 10 customers, maybe I need a 100 leads. Based on the next conversion rate, how many potential leads or let’s say website visitors do I need? Maybe it’s a 1,000 and that’s a 10% conversion, which is very high. Maybe it’s only 2%. That way we can actually work backwards and calculate the numbers.
Suddenly that’s quantified and I either will say, “Oh my goodness, I need a million people visiting my website in order to get my target salary.” In which case I realise, hang on a second my pricing and packaging, my business model isn’t working. Or I could say, “Oh okay, that’s not too bad. I need a 1,000 people.” And that’s all in order to get the three I want to buy or whatever that is. We can do research on different conversion rates in different industries and so on. I think I’ve talked before, I talked certainly on LinkedIn the other day, we’re having a chat about, I think the turn up rate, whatever the official word is for a webinar, let’s say these days is 30%. If I get a 100 people signing up to my webinar, only 30 are going to turn up and let’s say, I think 2% conversion on a masterclass like that is low. Let’s say 2% of cold traffic who’ve never seen you before will buy. Let’s say I don’t know, 10% of that. Suddenly we’re at 10% of 30. Three people will buy.
And that I’d be pretty happy with, if 30 people come and three people buy, that’s quite good. I hope that gives you an idea, hang on a second. I expected five people, 10 people from my 15, 20 who showed up and that’s just not maths that works. Now, having said that you might have a higher conversion rate at the beginning. And I certainly did and have had because it’s sort of a higher quality interaction when you have smaller audiences. And that’s what so important. But again, it’s a mathematical equation. You need to define what more means for you. How many needs do you actually want?
And you can talk a stretch goal for the future. I want to have 50 people in my Business Accelerator in the future but for this launch, maybe I’m going to make sure I only get five to make sure I can onboard them and get them in and deliver the service I want to deliver for them. And of course you might find that you haven’t got the programmes in place that will work. If you’re only doing one to one now, again, if you’ve got a 1,000 people wanting to work with you, you couldn’t do it. Think about that.
Okay Anna, but how can I get more leads? Final couple of minutes. Let’s break this down. There are different stages. And this is from the sort of traditional marketing funnel, which isn’t strictly speaking the most nuanced way of looking at it now but I still think it’s a useful framework.
Number one is you have to increase awareness, meaning get more eyeballs as we used to say. Get in front of more people. And that means going on other people’s podcasts, doing lives in other people’s Facebook groups, perhaps speaking on a real stage or virtual. Doing free things, probably to get in front of people where you’re not necessarily earning any money or a lot of money but you’re doing it because you’re getting in front of new audiences.
Maybe doing a collaboration with someone else where you do sort of a tit for tat. Almost I promote yours, you promote mine, if that’s relevant. But certainly podcasts, pitching articles to the media. You can try local places. You can try sort of niche blogs at the beginning. You don’t have to go for the massive global publications initially but you’re trying to get in front of other people. This means not just posting on your own channels and so on but actually making sure you’re getting in front of new people. Increasing awareness, that’s the first step in getting more leads.
Number two, they know that you exist, you need to now get them to come to me. If I’m on a podcast, I need to say, “Hey, come and listen to my podcast.” Now, if you don’t have a podcast, it could come and download this free business assessment scorecard at onestepoutside.com/scorecard. They’re going on. They’re giving me their email, that then becomes a lead. There’s no point in just going and talking to people. You need to give them one step to take to get to know you to take that step. You’re giving them a call action, giving them a reason to find out more on your website, in your Facebook group and so on. That’s step two.
And step three is now they’ve had a reason to come to me. It’s actually getting to take that next step and that’s when you get into the nitty gritty of the copy that’s on your site or the opt in page. The details then of ultimately when we’re trying to sell, the actual programme, service, you’re trying to get them to buy and making sure that you’ve understood the problem that you’re solving your ideal clients and so on. now that gets very strategic and that’s something, of course that would be a whole other, not just podcast episode but a whole other session, training session. But those are the three key steps.
Get more leads. One, is get in front of more people. Check your calendar, check your priorities. What you doing? What are you doing this week, today, every day, every week to increase your awareness, get in front of more people? If you only have a 100 people who know about you, then again, conversion wise maybe one of those will buy if you’re lucky. And maybe those 100 people are mostly your friends and family. Number one, increase awareness. Number two, give them a reason to come to you. Bring them to your podcast or your website or your Facebook group, whatever that is. And number three is then the nitty gritty of actually taking that next step of looking at the copy, looking at the compelling visuals, making sure there’s a benefit for them to become a lead, i.e. to contact you, sign up to a resource, join your session, whatever that is.
You can see that it’s not just a question of, hey, just give me that one secret. A couple of weeks ago, we had an episode on busting some myths and one of those was, I have to follow this one strategy, webinars, launches, course, whatever, that’s going to get me the leads. No, that’s not the case. I’m sorry to disappoint you. But I hope again, you realise that there’s so much that goes into this. And unfortunately the moment at which you need the leads, it’s too late. That being said, of course the second best time to plant that tree is today. Better last year or yesterday but the next best is today and that’s all we can do now. What we want to be doing now and this time of year, again, is ideal to lay the groundwork for those leads coming in and the early new year is to make sure that we’re doing those in new initial stages, getting more people into your so called funnel, in order to then ultimately get more leads that you’re going to nurture and so on so they become actual customers.
I hope that was helpful. The question was, how can I get more leads? If you have any questions to Ask Anna, then let me know, email@example.com, or you can get me on your favourite social channel. And of course, you’ll hear in a moment about our business accelerator that we’re talking about, which is where we look at these strategies along the whole step of the funnel and many other aspects of actually running a successful business that gets you the results you want. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you for submitting those questions as well and I look forward to talking to you next week. Bye for now.
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