No matter what stage your company is in, everyone wants new clients to do business with. While there are many approaches to attracting leads, business is built on relationships and here’s the secret:
Your personal connections are the best bet.
Here is a practical, step-by-step guide on how you can start to leverage your personal connections for generating new business.
Step 1 – Create Your Warm List
Gather at least 15 people with whom you have a previous relationship with.
This list comprises your friends, family, previous customers, employers, people you went to school with, exes – anyone you know personally. On LinkedIn, these are primarily your first level connections.
You will be repeating this process weekly.
-Who do I know?
-Who has bought from me before?
-Who would need my service?
-Who has strong connections with other people?
Step 2 – Organize the list
Organize your list by those who are most likely to do business with you. You can also create a category who may not be direct clients, but who have strong networks.
This can be done manually in a grid or digitally by using a CRM.
Step 3 – Call them
The key here is to call. Your investment of time and effort by stepping outside of your comfort zone and calling, builds trust. People will respond far better to a personalized approach.
Making an effort is authentic and authenticity builds partnerships.
The goal of this call is to rekindle the contact and qualify them as a potential business partner or someone who can redirect you to new business.
Phone Script #1 (Direct Approach)
- “Hey John, this is Bob. I know it’s been a while since we’ve talked and I hope you’re doing well. I just passed by your profile on LinkedIn and saw you’re with (company or industry X). I’d like to see if we can do business together. Is there a good time we can chat for 10 minutes on Wednesday?”
- These are possible scenarios:
-They agree to a meeting on Wednesday
-They propose a different time to talk
-They say no.
Regardless of the outcome, react positively and thank them for their time. Meanwhile, if they ask for more information on your business – you can use this call as a the meeting, and then follow up to see if you can pass by their office or meet in person.
Phone Script #2 (Indirect – Rekindling old connection)
- You: “Hey John, this is Bob. You were on my mind and I just wanted to catch up. It’s been a while since we’ve talked. Do you have a few minutes to chat?”
- If your contact is busy, simply say ‘no problem’ and ask when a better time would be to call back. More likely than not, they will be pleasantly surprised, continue the conversation, and ask how things are going.
- You: “Things are great, you just crossed my mind the other day. What are you doing these days?” This is where you can be a little creative depending on the response : “Things are great! I passed by your profile on LinkedIn and saw you’re with (company or industry X). What are you doing these days?
- Keep the conversation short, keep it simple, keep it honest. Ultimately, if your connection lives nearby, it is ideal to meet with them face to face after the initial call.
Step 4 – The Follow-Up
After the phone call, send a message directly to your contact to thank them for their time.
If you have the opportunity, set up a meet with them in person. Get to understand their business, present what you are doing, what you are hoping to get out of the connection, and move the conversation forward to your goal.
After this touch point, reach out to them a week later to show appreciation and gratitude for the meeting and follow up on progress.
Step 5 – The Referral
At the follow-up call ask for 2 referrals.
More often than not, a connection, even if they are not a potential buyer, can direct you to people that may be interested in your service.
For the call:
- Do not worry if you haven’t spoken to them in a long time
- No need to precede the call with a message or an email, dive straight in
If you are looking for more people to fill your warm list pipeline:
- Go into LinkedIn —> My Network —>Connections
- Filter the search and select the industry pertinent to you.
- You can filter your connections by those in the field that you are in.
Remember, the goal is to build honest business relationships. There is no shame in prospecting as long as you are open about your intentions. In fact, there is a greater chance that your connections will appreciate your forthrightness.
By following these steps each week, you will see an immediate increase in your pipeline and a much higher conversion rate from lead to deals closed.
Next, we will be talking about digital marketing strategies to pull inbound leads to you. Stay tuned on our blog for more details.
If you are managing your leads on spreadsheets, check out our article on the 7 reasons to ditch your spreadsheets.
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