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From Leads to Clients: How Better Leads Will Result In More (and Better) Clients

June 06, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 157

It seems like simple math: the more leads you get, the more clients you get. And that's true, to a point. But let's take a closer look at the various ways of getting leads and what it takes to turn those leads into clients - you may be surprised at what will bring you the results you're hoping for.

How to get leads

There are many different ways to get leads. Just to name a few, you can...

  • buy or rent them through brokers
  • barter for them (joint ventures, mailing list swaps)
  • advertise (newspaper, direct mail, online, TV, radio, billboards)
  • attract them by being visible (speaking, writing, teleseminars, social media, blogging)
  • meet them through networking (offline and online)
  • get them through referrals

As you can see, there are many possibilities, and the above list is by no means exhaustive. But let's start there and take a closer look.

The difference between lead-getting methods

As you go down the list, you see that some of the methods give you more control than others. For example, if you have enough funds, you can instantly buy thousands of leads from a broker. And if you have a list of leads and customers already, you can use that as a bargaining chip for a joint venture where someone else will send your information to their leads if you send their offer to yours.

Advertising, networking, and other visibility campaigns bring you leads in proportion to the effort you put in, either financial or in terms of time. Still, the exact outcome is always unpredictable.

If you advertise in the wrong place, you might get no response. If you don't approach networking the right way, you may end up with a lot of business cards, but you won't make many connections unless you pick up the phone yourself.

Finally, you can also get leads through referrals. However, building the kind of relationships that result in referrals can take time. But once you have built referral relationships, you may find that you have a steady number of leads come.

And there's another difference: unlike with joint ventures, where leads might arrive en masse, the leads a referral partner will send you are usually individuals. More specifically, they are individuals who are very interested in doing business with you.

The true value of leads

If you look at sheer numbers, you may think that getting thousands of leads from a list broker might be the most advantageous move. And depending on the quality of the leads and the nature of your business, it might be.

But here's the rub. It's not about getting the most leads. Leads are relatively worthless unless you can turn them into clients. And so it's the quality of the leads that counts, and what you do with them once you get them. The combination of those two elements is what makes the biggest difference.

Which leads are the best?

Here's the key: You need targeted leads. The more targeted your leads are, the more likely they are to turn into clients, and not just one-time clients but long-term clients.

Sure, if you buy lists, you can get thousands of leads, and if you advertise the right way, you can also get large numbers. But no matter how good the list or the advertising, your leads are likely to be less than targeted. In that case, you really have to play the numbers game - the more leads, the better your chances of getting clients too.

As you go down the list, though, you get to "being visible" and "networking." And the leads you'll get through those channels are likely to be a lot more targeted. They've seen you and your work to various degrees, so when they raise their hand, they are interested for the right reasons and are much more likely to become clients.

Yet the highest quality of leads you can get are those that come to you through referrals. And the only way to get those consistently is by building referral relationships.

How referral relationships will get you clients

Sure, you have less control over getting referrals. And getting referrals will take upfront work as you learn how to develop those relationships, and it will also take time to nurture them. The good news is that the referrals you'll get that way are worth their weight in gold.

Think about it... If you have a toothache and someone recommends a great dentist, are you going to nickel and dime that dentist half to death and do extensive comparison shopping? Not a chance! You'll be begging the receptionist to fit you in.

As you can see, the referrals who arrive on your doorstep are more than just leads. They're essentially pre-sold, ready to do business with you. Sure, the numbers may be smaller, but most of them will become clients, and how many new clients do you really need?

As a special perk, those referrals are also likely to turn into the kind of clients you'll most enjoy working with, which is much less likely with clients you'll get through some of the other methods.

Ready to get more out of your own networking efforts? Join Sue Clement at her upcoming webinar course on how to craft an effective elevator speech, and get ready to take your business to the next level:

Source: EzineArticles
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