By Eric Fletcher
Where will your next great piece of work come from?
Sure, if your budget is the size of a tech giant’s, or if your brand has the cache that brings your name to mind at the mere hint of a need, or if you’re in an arena that allows you to simply play a numbers game — then developing new client relationships may not be an issue.
Otherwise, a timely connection with prospects in need of (and ready to pay for) the experience and expertise you provide is likely becoming a greater challenge with each new year. With rare exception, most lawyers are left to hope that new clients will somehow seek them out when the need arises.
Is There A Way To Generate Viable Leads For The Professional Service You Offer?
Notwithstanding what your experience may have been, it is possible for your marketing efforts to open doors to meetings — create a pipeline of leads — that result in the kind of work you want to do.Here’s the catch. It is decidedly not the byproduct of an afterthought. Or something you only turn to when business is slow. Or something you half-heartedly invest in.The good news is that you can build a marketing / business development / sales process that will create a pipeline of real leads.Here are the three basic components this kind of process requires.
1 - Identify Specific Targets
This is the foundation of a process that will generate a pipeline of leads. No matter how creative or eloquent, cast a marketing effort “out there” with nothing more than the hope that it reaches the right audience, and you’re wasting resources. On the other hand, invest in identifying targets for whom your service is relevant, and your marketing efforts have a fighting chance in a noisy marketplace.
If you can’t build a target list, put the brakes on your efforts and dive into the work of Target Identification.
2 - Deliver Something of Value
This is where efforts often go awry because we go to the marketplace with what we deem to be important — investing mightily in our message. Our (canned) presentation. Our story.
If the thesis of your marketing plan is “if we can just get the word out” you have fallen victim to the hang-a-shingle-and-they-will-come strategy. In a competitive market, a killer website alone is not going to prompt anyone to beat a path to your door.Effective lead generation instigates a productive on-going conversation with a target. This is initiated by delivering something your target market defines as valuable.Ultimately, this is about knowing and understanding the business issues faced by the target. Become relevant here, and you have a shot at an on-going and productive conversation.
On the other hand, insist on making a pitch without knowing that your offering connects to what your target values, and risk becoming nothing more than market noise — where all the players look, sound and act the same. And are interchangeable parts.
3 - Do the Follow Up
This is what separates the relentless business developer (read: rainmaker) from everyone else.
Question: In what endeavor of consequence does delivering a message one time get the job done?
Without respect to targeting, delivering value, and proving relevance, if your go-to-market sales strategy does not include intentional and strategic follow up, you’ve embarked on one more less-than-productive marketing initiative.The nature of the follow up will vary depending on the specifics of your offering. But without an intentional effort to establish dialogue, you are still hoping the market will do the hard work, and chart the path to your door...undistracted by the promises of competitors. An effective marketing and sales effort will utilize a variety of tools, and may be built on a number of platforms. These are the three keys to differentiating your efforts from the masses, generating meaningful leads, and delivering measurable return on your investments in marketing, business development and sales.
About Eric Fletcher:
With more than twenty-five years of experience, spanning broadcasting, advertising, marketing and professional services business development, Eric Fletcher is a seasoned connector — of ideas, people and strategic growth-oriented solutions. For the past twenty-five years he has managed, directed, and consulted teams focused on targeted business development, sales and client service in the professional services sector. Follow Eric's blog: https://www.marketingbrainfodder.com