The CLE of Lead Generation

I often get asked how to generate leads.  I usually begin talking to people about how they define a lead.  The typical answer is that a lead is akin to a cold call.  Unsolicited inquiries from strangers about your services or business.  I don’t agree, entirely.  Of course that can be one type of lead, but it isn’t the sole definition.  In my opinion, lead generation is all about relationships.  Leads include all business inquiries from anyone.  A particular lead may be a stranger, but I bet those strangers got your name from someone who knows you and your business.  They are referrals dressed up as leads.  In order to make the most of all kinds of leads, I recommend the CLE approach.  Create, Listen & Engage.

Create.  In this stage, your job is to create content and conversations that educate, entertain, inspire and enlighten your target audience. By presenting yourself as a ‘go to’ person who knows how to solve problems, you create the reputation for yourself as a resource for others.

Listen: Once you have created the content and reputation, you should identify potential influencers and start listening to them.  Are you filling the needs?  If not, go to back to your create stage and get busy!  Study key words and hot topics used within your target audience and share your input when they tell you to.

Engage: This is the exciting part.  Once you have listened to the targets and created your content, start talking to people.  Ask open ended questions, elicit feedback and develop incentives.  Engage people in the conversations they want to have and you will soon find they are engaging you in the conversations you need to have.

This lead generation process is the basis for creating relationships that last for the long term.  Be alert to what the market needs and then service those needs in a cost effective, customer-oriented manner.  You will find that the leads become more steady. Once you convert those leads to clients, keep them happy with outstanding service. But that is a post for an other day!