Any business, whatever it is all about, needs a constant supply of one thing to keep it going – customers. Sure, hopefully, some of your old customers will keep coming back and become your loyal customers but however loyal they are, it is unlikely that they will ever buy enough from you to even keep your business alive let alone help it grow! So, therefore, you need to find a way to get a constant supply of new prospects interested in your business that will convert into the new customers you so desperately need. And the process of finding these customers is called lead generation or prospecting.
What is Lead Generation and Prospecting?
Lead generation – or prospecting (as it is sometimes referred to as well) is simply the process of gathering the contact information (it can be as simple as an email address these days) of people who may have an interest in buying from your business.
Lead generation is a time consuming thing and there is no one technique that can be said to be hugely better than any other. In fact, in this age of the Internet, it is best to have at least a couple of different lead generation techniques in place and being implemented all the time. Sure, it’s going to be a lot of work but leads are the only thing that will help grow your business. You might have the best product in the world but if no one knows about it, and no one is “buzzing” about it then it might as well just not exist.
How Can I Generate Leads?
As mentioned, there are a lot of different lead generation methods you can use, especially now that everyone spends so much time online. These are just some of them:
Prospecting Through Joint Ventures
A qualified lead is someone who is ready to buy and has the means to do so (in other words, they have the cash and are willing to part with it). If you find a JV partner whose business complements your niche and can gain access to his or her followers then you will be reaching people that have already demonstrated an interest in the kinds of things you have to offer.
Want an example? Let’s say your business is an information technology consulting service. The best JV partners for you to partner with are a few computer systems hardware vendors or even computer repair companies. They probably reach out to the same customers as you are hoping to connect with and you can complement each other by sharing leads and information about customers and prospects. It’s a win win situation for you both.
Prospecting Through Your Website and Social Media
Every business website should have an opt-in box, without exceptions. Creating a piece of content to offer to people in return for their email is cost effective and not all that difficult. Every business owner – no matter what they are selling – can come up with something that will interest people enough for them to share their contact details. It just takes some time and effort to do so. These days, you do not have to just rely on web search to bring people to your website either; you can also drive them there (gently) from social networking site accounts like Facebook and Twitter.