Leads are the lifeblood of any independent professional's business. Whether they are found through referrals, online inbound marketing, or even through cold calling, leads are necessary to keep your business healthy and growing.
Not all leads are equal, however. An independent professional could be drowning in leads, but if none of them are qualified leads, then interactions with them will not result in sales.
So how can independent professionals ensure that the leads they are getting are good ones? Here are a few tips to doing just that.
1. Understand your ideal lead. An independent professional may have a good grasp on who their ideal customer is, but what about their ideal lead? Delve deeper than just "someone who is ready to buy now." What is it that makes them ready to buy? What makes your ideal leads easier to convert? Why is it that they would choose your services rather than a competitor's? Once you have created a detailed picture of your ideal lead, focus your promotional efforts on attracting them specifically.
2. Decide on a process for leads. Rather than attempting to fit every lead into the same mold, and trying to sign them as clients right away, tailor your actions to the lead's state of readiness to buy. For leads who might not be ready just yet, don't push them. Instead, funnel them into a lead nurturing process you develop. Maybe this means signing them up for your email newsletter, or getting them to like your Facebook page. However you handle these leads, spend time developing a relationship with them, and then once they are ready to buy, you can take the next steps with them.
3. Know what to avoid. Sometimes it can be easier to articulate what you don't want in a client, than what you do want. Create a list of red flags or warning signs in a lead that will tip you off that this potential client is not one that you are willing to take on. While every lead is important to business, sometimes the extra hassle that one client puts you through takes away from your other clients - or from your enjoyment of your work.
4. Aim for the results you want. Independent professionals should make sure to create lead generation systems that result in the exact type of leads they want. Whether that means partnering with a complementary business to exchange leads, or creating a website filled with content that attracts people looking for your exact services, all marketing activities should be geared towards getting only those types of leads.
5. Think like your potential clients. Independent professionals should never approach lead generation thinking like a businessperson. Instead, they should put themselves in the mindset of their ideal leads. What would attract them to a website? What would make them want to sign up for marketing emails? What type of content will they find useful? What specific pain points do they want to overcome? By crafting your marketing materials based on a lead's mindset, rather than your own, you will have much greater success in generating qualified leads.
Following these 5 tips will help ensure that the leads an independent professional generates are quality ones, more likely to convert, and more likely to be their ideal clients.
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