To get the leads you feel you need can be exhausting at the best of times; growing and managing free Facebook Groups, posting endless social content and running Facebook ad campaigns (that have the habit of eating up your cash flow!) are all popular ways of generating leads today. Focusing your attention on getting sign-ups to your email list or to get to people into your marketing funnel by offering low-cost digital products can be an important part of your marketing plan.
But did you know there are hidden gems and opportunities in your sales and marketing process that you may simply not be aware of?
What I want to shine the light on here today is you make you consciously aware of the exact steps your clients take with you. Because if you do, it will be far easier for you to spot where the potential opportunities are and do something about them.
And, in the process, you may actually discover that getting more leads, which can be one of the toughest and most expensive problems to solve, may not be the right thing to focus your time and energy on right now.
Let me give you a couple of examples first.
A client I worked with recently was growing her fitness business. She had been teaching Pilates for many years and as her children were growing older, she had the energy and time to step up her business. She had decided she was wanted to create some digital offerings and develop herself as a health coach, which would enable her to move away from having to teach four days a week.
She did exceptionally well in the first six months of her new business, as I helped her create huge numbers of leads through various Facebook challenges and webinars. Once she then decided she was in a position to outsource Facebook ads and hire someone else to run her campaigns, she really flew and was able to take her list from 500 to 4,000 in just three months.
But here was the problem; her sales figures were yet to go much above a few hundred pounds each month and she was struggling to sell enough of her courses to make the shift from teaching classes to online business. Her natural instinct was to go get more leads. But once I helped her shift her attention from lead generation to stages further down her sales and marketing process and work out why people weren’t buying, her business changed for the better.
She adjusted her offers, increased her prices and opened up her diary to allow her to speak to more people, rather than rely on them clicking on a sales page. The shift from only teaching in-person group classes to the online business she desired finally became a reality.
Another client I worked with earlier this year had an amazing Facebook Group, with more than 3,000 members active in it. Running free Facebook Groups is a popular marketing strategy today and, from the outside looking in, it can look like you have a thriving business. But the reality was, for this particular client, that her free Facebook members were sucking her dry of energy and enthusiasm for her business.
She was falling out of love with what she was doing and had essentially trapped herself in the lead generation stage of her marketing, drowning under all the messages, posts and day to day management of the group.
To get back on track with growing her business, I showed how to declutter her offers, streamline her prices and developed a marketing strategy that would essentially take her off Facebook so that she didn’t feel trapped, serving her free audience every day in order to grow her business.
And this is what I want to help you with today. Instead of only thinking that it’s more leads or better quality leads that you need and keep your focus on the lead generation stage, there may actually be easier and simpler solutions further down the line.
Let’s break down the stages and you’ll be able to see where you may need to shift your attention if your lead generation focus is getting you nowhere fast.
The sales and marketing process for businesses like yours can be broken down into five stages.
1) Leads – these are the initial shows of interest.
Leads are not Likes on your Facebook page nor are they retweets of your blog articles (although both can give a good indication on whether you have a potential audience out there).
Leads are people who make them known to you and you have basic information about them. For example, emails subscribed to your list, registrants for your webinar or people in your free online groups. Leads are people who have shown themselves to you as being genuinely interested in what you share but all you know about them at this stage is perhaps their name or simple contact details.
Just think of leads as the initial handshake when you meet someone for the first time.
2) Prospects – these are people who have taken a step further into the enquiry process with you.
Prospects have either requested a call with you, clicked several links in your emails to your various offers, filled in an enquiry form, requested a brochure from your website or even spent money with you, but at a low price point. It’s really important that you decide on your own definition of who a prospect is for your business because every business will be slightly different here, but it doesn’t need to be complicated.
Just imagine yourself with a room full of people, who maybe have heard you speak or explain your business and they’ve put their hands (maybe only tentatively to start with), wanting to know more about what it is to you. From their actions, they are showing you that they are interested in engaging with you about what it is that you can offer them.
3) Conversion – simple really; people get to this stage when they’ve spent money with you.
If you only have a handful of leads and maybe only speaking to one prospect every few weeks, then it is unlikely that many people are going to get this stage as you’re simply not going to be able to convert everyone. So your marketing problem may still in stage one or two. Go back to getting clarity on who you are marketing to and what problems you can solve for them because if you aren’t getting that initial interest, you probably haven’t got your audience or message clear enough.
But if you have leads coming in and you are building up an email list, but not making the sales, then you actually have a different opportunity. There’s every chance you need to review your offers, your sales copy, your positioning and how easy it is for people to actually buy from you.
With many clients I’ve worked with, low pricing and poor positioning is often the marketing problem that needs solving. Perhaps you don’t enough social proof; case studies, testimonials or client stories. Maybe it’s your bootstrapping approach isn’t giving the necessary trust factor or credibility needed to win your prospects over.
In many cases, it’s the fear of picking up the phone and having a conversation that stops many people from making the right sales; if you are relying on your website and social media presence to do the work but, in reality, your prospect needs to speak with you before they are willing to invest their time and money in what you offer, then you need to step up and bring conversation selling into your marketing.
Putting in the systems to make it easy for you to arrange phone calls or meetings with your prospects can be one of the quickest ways to increase your sales next month.
4) Value – this is the total amount of money each client can spend with you.
As a rule of thumb, the lower the price you sell at, the bigger list you need. If your average client spend is under £50, your marketing strategy has to focus on volume. You need to spread yourself wide and far and your list building activities have to attract hundreds, if not thousands of new subscribers each month. If your average spend is upwards of £2,000, your focus will want to shift to qualifying your leads and prospects; it’s not just anyone who will buy what you offer so you can get laser-focused on a smaller marketplace.
What this means is that if you’re focused on the lower end of the price band and struggling to generate enough sales from your Facebook groups, social content posting or ad campaigns, perhaps your problem is your offer. As with the conversion stage, low pricing is often the problem so never assume lowering your price or offering discounts is the answer to making more sales. This tactic often does the complete opposite and lowers your total sales; you end up competing in an Amazon marketplace where your customers’ decisions are based only on price. Not a fun place for your business to be.
5) Frequency – how often your clients spends with you.
Again, if your marketing strategy is low price, high volume but if there are only one or two things to sell to them, you have some hidden gems and opportunities. A lot of people would stay in stage one and simply exhaust themselves on the treadmill of getting new leads so that more people can buy their one or two products or courses.
But what if you created a higher-priced programme or a continuity/membership offer? Developing a full product suite can take time, often a few years to get right for your audience and market place. So you need to question yourself whether you are creating the space in your day-to-day running of your business to research and develop new product offerings, ongoing servicing packages or even affiliate offers.
OK. Where do you go from here?
What I recommend you do now is to take these five stages and spend 30 minutes thinking them through in your business. Don’t go into what I call “How Do I?” mode which means you head off to google and start searching for answers to questions you don’t need to answer right now. This will only knee-jerk you into more tactics, rather than thinking strategically about the shifts you may need to take.
Take yourself away from your desk and your screens and spend half an hour or so doodling out or mind-mapping some ideas. Step away from the need from finding a quick solution right now and look at your marketing with a fresh perspective. Perhaps you need to speak some of your current clients and customers; ask them about how they are solving their problems right now. Maybe you already know, in your gut, that what you are doing just doesn’t feel right. So ask yourself what would feel right?
It’s important to give yourself this space to re-look at your current marketing plan and spot the opportunities you may be missing.
Thank you for reading. Until next time, do less, be more, play bigger.
About the author
Karen Skidmore is a business mentor with 25+ years of experience, specialising in True Profit™; the design & growth of purposeful, profitable businesses. Business Books Awards finalist 2020 & podcaster, Karen uniquely combines the being-ness and doing-ness of business to help scale up, without burning out.
The first step in discovering the True Profit in your business is to take the True Profit Test.