Monday, 3 October 2011

Filtering out time-wasters and other non-leads (lead generation process)

Which of the following statements is true?
  1. The Internet is a wonderful way to generate leads
  2. The Internet is a terrible way to generate leads
Actually, they're both true. As soon as you implement lead generation on a website you'll find you get good leads and non-leads.

A good lead is a person with a genuine interest in your product or service.

A non-lead is a person with a genuine interest in selling his/her product or service to you. In other words, a non-lead is a leech looking to free-load off the back of your own marketing efforts.

The trick is to implement a lead generation system that eliminates non-leads up-front so you don't waste your time dealing with him/her. Here's how it's done...
  • Introduce extra steps to your lead generation process
  • Fully automate your lead generation process
Introduce Extra Steps

A non-lead hoping to turn you into a lead has the same problem you do – a finite amount of time. S/he will only jump through so many hoops before s/he starts looking for easier targets.

Introducing extra steps to your own lead generation process has a non-lead expend more effort without requiring any extra work on your part (once the changes are in place). This has the flow-on effect of ensuring that only the best leads reach you because people who are only mildly interested (i.e. outside the target market) will also be eliminated by the process.

Automate Lead Generation

Every part of your lead generation process should be automated. The time you save through automation quickly pays for itself – especially if you have a multi-step lead process designed to eliminate non-leads and those outside the target market.

Consider that most online lead generation follows this format...
  • Offer a prospect information the target market wants
  • Asks the prospect to enter his/her email address and click a button
  • Verify the email address
  • Send the information
A non-lead will happily fill out the form, receive the verification email and use the sending address to spam you forever more.

You can prevent this by sending the verification email from an email account set to automatically delete any email received to it. The problem with this approach is you'll miss enquiries from genuine prospects. Given this is a lead generation effort, do you really want to miss genuine enquiries?

A question worth asking yourself is why you're using email at this point anyway? Especially when you consider the following...
  • Most free information sent in this manner is never read (i.e. they lost interest between requesting and receiving the information)
  • Some people won't receive the verification email and will either attempt to contact you for help (i.e. take up a lot of your time), or will simply forget all about it (i.e. a wasted opportunity)
What if you displayed the information immediately? In other words a teaser page offers free information and clicking a 'Show me' button on that page reveals the promised information immediately.

With this approach everybody gets to see the promised information with no delivery failures. Even better – more people will read or watch it because there is no delay.

Of course the revealed information is merely the second step in the process. The information must deliver value in and of itself. But it has a more important job to do from your perspective. It must culminate in a further call to action.

This further call to action should promise a logical next step. And that next step has to be something a genuine prospect can't resist. You should then offer to deliver this next step for some token sum of money (e.g. $3.25).

Why charge for this next step? Because it will eliminate most non-leads. And it forces a genuine prospect to consider whether the degree of his/her interest at this point in time. If s/he is very interested that person will pay a token sum and take the next step.

As you'd expect, this approach results in fewer leads. The leads you get will be of much higher quality and you'll have far less running around to do.

A smart lead generator will introduce a negative option at this point. A negative option is an alternative for people unwilling to pay money for the next step. For example, you might offer a free subscription to your email newsletter.

Most of the people who take this option are in your target market and it's worth keeping in touch with them. While they're not ready to commit immediately, each time they receive your newsletter you get another chance to convert.

Here's an example of how this type of a multi-step process might work...
Jane is a personal trainer looking for people to join her kettlebell class. She starts with an ad in Google AdWords that offers to help people lose 4 kilograms in 4 weeks.

That ad links to a teaser page that explains how a 4-week kettlebell program and diet will ensure a person loses 4 kilograms in 4 weeks. The teaser page ends by offering her 4-week programme for free. All the user has to do is click the 'Lose 4 Kilos Now' button.

Anyone that clicks this button gets the programme immediately. Jane's programme includes an online video, exercise photos, a 4-week workout plan, recipes and explanatory text. The explanatory text makes several points...
  • A medical assessment is essential before starting an exercise programme
  • The diet information is general. More effective results can be had with a personalised diet plan
  • The kettlebell exercises are general. A more effective programme can be had by attending a class
  • Any diet and exercise programme works best when done as part of a group (mutual support, have fun, enjoy each other's company)
These points culminate in an opportunity to make a clear offer – for just $3.25 Jane will allow the prospect to attend her kettlebell class. The prospect will receive a medical and fitness assessment, diet recommendations based on his/her medical and fitness needs, and the opportunity to experience the kettlebell class first hand
This is a pretty good deal - isn't it? Most people in the target market are likely to take up the offer. From Jane's perspective, she gets a whole lot more than a name and an email address. Jane gets to meet the prospect face-to-face. And the prospect gets to meet her and see how good she is first hand.

The approach also serves to enhance Jane's credibility. This reduces the perceived risk in the mind of prospect by removing substantial doubt.

It's important to understand why a token payment is required. Asking the prospect to hand over money (e.g. via PayPal) forces him/her to decide whether or not s/he is serious about the product or service on offer. As a result, any leads that result from this process are considerably more likely to go ahead and buy.

If my example doesn't apply directly to your situation (e.g. you're not selling an exercise class) you'll have to adapt the approach to meet your own needs.

You're welcome to explain your particular marketing situation via a comment, and ask me for ideas on how you might adapt the above to suit your own multi-step process.


Pierre said...

I offer online business coaching. I don't get many legitimate enquiries from my site. I do have an offer of a free 30 minute coaching session. I've had people take me up on this and become clients. I've also had people take my offer and use the session to try and sell me their product. I would like to hear your ideas on how I can generate better leads.

Wayne Davies said...

My view is you should stop offering a free 30 minute session, and instead give prospects the chance to experience a coaching session via video (i.e. automate this part of your lead conversion process).

Rather than show a 30 minute video, I suggest you create a series of 'tastes' that run for around 40-50 seconds. Each taste should cover a different area (e.g. different markets, problems, coaching situations). These should showcase what you do with a client, how the client responds, and tell a story about how your process works.

The 'tastes' need to culminate in a buying decision for the prospect. So s/he is asked to pay some token amount to receive the 30 minute session you're currently giving away. By placing a token value on this you'll eliminate most non-leads and can focus on people who are genuinely interested.

I suggest you also make it easier for the prospect to say 'yes' to the second session by offering a special deal (e.g. half price) if the prospect says yes. I'll leave you to sort out the specific details. You should also include some extra information or give-away that builds the perceived value of this second session.

The second session should aim to sell your coaching service proper. It will generally be successful if sufficient value is delivered in sessions 1 and 2.

High Roller said...

Ooooh, this is good stuff. More lead generation technique articles please.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to sell an e-book and not having much luck. I advertise in Google and Facebook and people visit my site. I have had 523 visitors to my sales page but only one person has bought it. How can I sell more e-books?

Wayne Davies said...

Selling e-books is hard work. I'd love to give you feedback about your sales process but I can't because you haven't told me anything about it. What's the book about, who is likely to want to read it, what's your offer and what is the URL of your website?

Finchey said...

I'm more interested in how you get more people to subscribe to my newsletter. Quality is fine, but I want to know how to capture more details.

Anonymous said...

Another way to eliminate time-wasters up-front is to publish the price. This works best for luxury products.

Krista said...

You have an interesting idea that I would like to refer to as an old trick in the book. Lets compare this to college if students have to pay for college with their own money are are more likely to finish but if college was free there would be more dropouts that occur and more failing students. However, when you are an entity on the web before a customer is just going to cough up their credit card they are going to want to know that you are secure and you really have to have something they want.