Top 5 Ways to Generate Qualified Leads For Your Small Business

Do you ever wonder if you could be doing a better job marketing your small business or professional service firm? Successfully marketing a small business is hard work. There are several key skills required to consistently develop new business that you, as a small business owner, must master in order to succeed.

The first skill you need to have is the ability to regularly generate qualified leads. You must consistently build your list of prospects if you are to grow your business. Your business will not grow if you market to the same, stagnant population over and over again. While there will be a certain percentage of people who choose to buy from you after repeated contact with your marketing material, the amount who buy will always be limited by the size of the list to which you market.

How often do you add to your list of qualified prospects?

Here are five steps you can take to improve your prospect building skills.

Focus On Client Needs

Whether you print a brochure, advertise in industry periodicals or use search engines to generate traffic to your web site the first thing your marketing materials must do is get noticed. One of the best ways to have your future clients notice you is to use words in your marketing materials that focus on their needs. By using such words your clients will immediately associate your ad with their problem or unmet need.

For example, if you are a patent attorney your ads will have a much better chance of being noticed and acted upon by those who need your service if you use the words, “Get paid for your invention” instead of “Patent Attorney”. Getting paid is what an inventor wants. You may be proud of your status as an attorney but your clients are interested in the results you provide that solve their problem.

Be sure you use words in your marketing material that focus on your clients’ needs. They will get noticed more often.

Eliminate Waste

Another step you can take to improve your ability to generate leads is to eliminate unproductive marketing methods. Marketing takes time, money and effort. If your tactics are not generating the results you want stop using them and try something new. Of course, in order to separate the good tactics from the bad you need to measure the effect of individual marketing efforts.

Perhaps you run the same ad in two different newspapers. If you don’t know that the ad in “paper number two” is generating 95% of your prospects you will never know that it would be a smart move to reallocate the money you spend in “paper number one”.

What steps can you take to measure the effect of individual marketing tactics?

Once you know which tactics are lead generators and which are not you can improve your ability to generate new leads simply by reallocating the resources from unproductive tactics to ones you know work.

Use Your Web Site Properly

Another way to maximize your ability to generate leads is to use your web site properly. The purpose of your web site is to generate leads. To maximize the number of leads your web site generates make sure your site has information your prospects want, is easy to navigate and maximizes the opportunity for your prospects to get in touch with you, either by calling you or by providing you with their contact information.

Clearly let your visitors know you’re there for them and they will be much more likely to reach out and get in touch, especially if your site’s content demonstrates that you understand and can solve their problems.

Cross Marketing

Cross marketing is the process of establishing marketing relationships with companies whose product or service complements what you sell. For example, a company that helps web site owners track the traffic to and through their site would do well to develop relationships with web hosting companies. There is a natural symbiosis here – anyone who has a new web site needs to (or should) measure their site’s traffic so they can make well-informed decisions to guide the evolution of their site and any web hosting company wants their clients’ business to succeed so they can keep them as a customer. Companies don’t need web sites if they’re out of business. It therefore makes sense for web hosting companies to promote web statistics companies and vice versa as each can benefit from the other’s service.

What cross marketing tactics do you use to promote your business?

Ask Questions

Regardless of your favorite marketing mechanism the goal is the same: to generate interest in your products or services. Whether you use a web site, a brochure or newspaper ads to generate leads the first thing you must do is get your future prospects thinking about the problem that you solve and they have. A great method for invoking this type of thought is to use questions in your marketing materials.

If you are a dentist, questions like, “Do you have tooth pain?” or “Are your teeth sensitive to heat or cold?” will do a much better job of drawing in your prospects that marketing materials that say, “Do you need a dentist?”

What questions can you ask to get your prospects thinking about the problems that they have that you solve?

Move Your Marketing Forward

Take some time to examine your marketing efforts with respect to the notions outlined in this article. Is there room for you to improve your ability to generate leads? Most likely, there is.

Copyright 2005, Better Marketing Results and Jeremy Cohen. All rights reserved.

6 Ways To Get Quality Business Leads From Your Local Community

How can you continually find quality business sales leads and business appointments for your business when a large, international brand suddenly shows up in your locality? With so many large brands opening up everywhere, small local businesses might feel threatened for their market share, but they shouldn’t be. They can maximize on their existing assets and not only keep their existing clients or customers, but also generate more qualified b2b sales leads for their business. As a small, local business, here’s what you have to do to keep your and effectively increase your market share:

Promote the fact that you’ve been in business longer than your competitor. This means that you know your customers and clients better than the newcomer, and will be better able to provide for their needs and wants. Simply showing that you have been a delivering quality service for years shows how reliable you are to your clients and potential business leads. It’s also a good way of tapping into the emotional side of your market.

Actively market your products and services as well. When you hire professional telemarketers to market your products, make sure they promote your brand in their spiel, and nothing else. No backstabbing or naysaying quips that are sure to put off your b2b sales leads. Hiring a reliable telemarketing company will provide you with these well-trained, professional telemarketers and help you construct that perfect pitch for your local business.

To ensure successful b2b appointment setting campaigns, make sure your lead generation campaigns deliver already qualified leads. When you’re from the same community, asking around about people would let you know immediately if they can benefit from your products or not. Being outgoing is sure to result in quality b2b appointments.

Hire people from the local community. It’s not a secret that people like to support their own, and there are usually a lot of skilled people even in medium-sized cities. Also, this shows that you are helping your local community by providing jobs and improving the life of families. The more developed a community is, the opportunities there are for small businesses to grow because the jobs they create attract young people and families into settling in the community.

Give back to the community directly by supporting local causes. As a local yourself, you would be informed about the local government’s activities. Because you don’t have to go through corporate red tape to support local events, you can do so right away. Furthermore, as you’re a native, government officials and the local community will not hesitate to accept your support. Doing so will further endear your brand not only to your target business leads, but also to everyone else. When you decide to expand your business outside of your chosen niche, finding more qualified business leads won’t be as difficult anymore.

You won’t be able to fight the big guys all by yourself, so make sure that your employees are well compensated for their services. When your own people are happy, you can expect that your contented employees won’t hesitate to go the extra mile for your b2b leads. The result, of course, would be equally happy business sales leads. Additionally, you can look forward to a lot of qualified business leads for your business to business company when your employees are generously paid.

Small Business Management – 2 Tips for Effectively Leading Employees

In today’s Lean Start Up culture of small business, the major thought among many owners and operators is the need to output products and services at an optimal quality and high level of productivity that satisfies market demand. Naturally, the adherence to these principles increases the probability of the business to experience robust revenue and profit growth in addition to increasing market share. For the most part, these outcomes are desired highly by small business owners, but they also pose a considerable business risk in the form of employee mismanagement.

The labor component of any business easily can account for at least 30% of the total cost structure depending on the business model utilized (i.e. manufacturing, retail, service). Thus, management prioritizes its monitoring and oversight of this cost component to ensure proper balance and alignment with production output and ultimately market demand. In doing this, though, employees are often treated as components of a business’s production cycle instead of human beings. The tendency of management to treat and manage employees as objects rather than people can have a negative impact on the business both in the short and long-term.

Owners of small businesses can and should learn to “lead” and not manage their employees. Webster’s Dictionary Online defines management as “the act or process of deciding how to use something”. Since most small businesses consist of no more than 5 employees including the owner, there’s a close camaraderie among employees and owners that helps in making the production process more flexible and agile in regards to changes in market demand. The downside to this strength is that management fails to learn how to lead their staff. As a result, employees are not empowered to think in creative ways to enhance the business’s competitive advantage for the long-term. Instead, they are relegated to menial and automated tasks similar to a machine. We are not discounting or understating the value of an employee that performs menial and automated tasks, but it’s management’s responsibility to ensure that each and every employee’s ability is maximized for the business’s success.

Two key small business management tips for “leading” employees are:

Tip One: Reward and Recognize Employees Early and Often
The implementation of this first tip is easy and straightforward. The power of getting results with this tip is from a commitment to consistency. Small business owners should set up a personnel reward and recognition system that incentives their staff for taking calculated risk within their scope of work to think creatively in enhancing the long-term competitive advantage of the business. Examples include gift cards, certificates, novelty items, etc. The goal here is to reinforce behavior that adds value to the business and these come from leading them to think creatively of ways to do their jobs better and more efficiently.

Tip Two: Delegate Effectively
This second tip focuses on empowering your employees rather than micro managing them. Effective managers know that the line between empowerment and micro managing is slim, but with experience and foresight, managers can implement this tip with ease as well. Empowering employees is all about clearly communicating expectations and vesting authority in them to accomplish the desired goal. Delegating effectively holds amazing value for owners of small businesses because it’s a way for them to replicate themselves exponentially.

Top 5 Ways to Generate Leads for Small Businesses

The ever-increasing competition in the world of business has meant that small and home-based businesses can effectively run against industry giants and survive, even grow and be successful. Yet this same competition brings into stark relief the importance of generating leads successfully and converting them into paying customers. There are myriad ways to generate more business, both traditional and non-traditional, and either can be just as effective if implemented carefully, creatively and innovatively.

1. Networking Events

One of the oldest and surest ways to generate more leads is networking. Chamber of commerce events, happy hours, after-hour mixers, business get-togethers for various purposes are excellent ways to get your business name in front of prospects. Remember, you can simply exchange business cards and still get good leads even though you are not a savvy social animal. Just make sure you are creating a database and saving all the information in a CRM system.

2. Trade shows

Most industries host exclusive trade shows, expos, and exhibitions to showcase their products and services. Get in line, set up a booth, and provide a more hands-on experience and understanding of what you do and why you should be chosen. Ask those interested to fill out forms and surveys, and build a database with their information to capture and convert leads.

There are many CRM systems out there if you research online. Remember, the key here is to adapt to faster ways of building customer database so you can get the marketing started. This is NOT the time to contemplate about how much you can save. Invest in the right tools early so you get the dividends later.

3. Your Website/Blog

If you want your small business to succeed, you must have a website and preferably a blog. I can not stress this enough but these tools are not only useful to ‘display’ your business info but also valuable resource to generate leads. You can offer free goodies on your site such as ebooks, research papers, webinars etc with content packed with value for your end users and they would be happy to provide you with their contact information in exchange to get more valuable stuff from you in the future. Use proper strategy to incorporate the location of the opt-in forms.

4. Customer Referrals

A happy customer is worth $10000 dollars worth of marketing. Do your best job to serve your existing customers and they would be happy to spread the word to their friends and relatives. Don’t be shy to ask for testimonials and referrals and encourage their participation in advocating your business in the community in exchange for exclusive promotions or giveaways.

5. Social Media

One of the newest tools that is very effective, free and easy to use for small business is social media. Create buzz and generate awareness of your products and services on Facebook, Pinterset, Google+ and other platforms that will engage your friends and their friends. Use creativity to attract and offer something of value to those who would participate in a survey or promotion.