One of my favorite ways to generate leads – next to speaking of course! – is networking and exhibiting at business expos.
If you’re not already doing this, seek out the associations in your area to which your ideal market/tribe members belong – and get active! Go to their meetings, exhibit at any expos they have, join, and get on committees and/or the board.
And whatever your favorite method is to attract prospective clients, don’t make the biggest mistake of all: failing to follow up (not once but several times) once you meet someone.
In The Ultimate Sales Machine, Chet Holmes points out that only 6 percent of the prospects you meet are ready to buy right now. What about the other 93%? Some will buy from you eventually, and nearly all will know people that could benefit from your services.
Eighty percent of leads collected at trade shows – which may have required thousands of dollars to gather – are NEVER followed up on!
Here are the 3 steps I take to make sure all the time, effort, money and travel I invest in getting my leads don’t go to waste – and I recommend you follow these guidelines too!
Step 1: Compile all of the names, email addresses and phone numbers of those you met and got cards from (ideally in a drawing at your booth if it’s an expo) into a spreadsheet or contact management program.
Notice what this doesn’t say: DON’T automatically add these people to your mailing list! They haven’t given you permission for this, and it is actually illegal to do so. Instead, have your assistant create a contact list you can use for follow-up – within 24 hours of the event (even if it’s on a weekend).
Step 2: Send a welcoming follow-up email the very next business day after the event. (Your goal is to be the FIRST to contact them after the expo or meeting. By the way, I am still waiting for ANYONE else to contact me from last Saturday’s event!)
In this email, tell them how much you enjoyed meeting them, offer them a free giveaway (a downloadable report or audio or some kind of sample of your work), and give them the option of receiving your standard giveaway at your web site (thereby joining your list) if they wish to. Then it’s by permission.
Structure your freebie so it’s designed to lead to a discount on a paid item.
Step 3: For those who reply, follow up with your discounted offer. For those who don’t, follow up with a second message.
The point here is not to stop with the first email – many times the message doesn’t get through or the person gets busy or is out of town. Do another follow-up within 2 days after the first message, and another message of value in about a week. Then periodically you may reach out to any who haven’t joined your list to invite them to an upcoming free event. Don’t worry- you’re not being obnoxious, just faithfully persistent.
Happy following up!
To your wealth and success,