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When we talk about lead generation we normally mean potential clients we've not met or interacted with before.

What we tend to forget is the people we already know, but we're not treating like leads.

In particular, there are two categories of people who make exceptional leads that we tend to overlook.

The first is ex-clients. The second is “dropped prospects”.

Both are great prospects because we've already built up credibility and trust with them.

The challenge is we've usually dropped out of touch and we don't know how to get back in contact and start talking about working together without seeming desperate or pushy or otherwise put them off.

In this video, I show you an approach for reconnecting that will get potential clients enthusiastic about speaking with you. And it will allow you to smoothly transition to talking about working together.

It takes work. But it's worth it.

A powerful approach to lead generation that we almost all overlook - YouTube

If you want to get notified of these videos the minute they appear on Youtube, click the link below to subscribe to the More Clients TV channel:

Video Transcript

Hi – it’s Ian here – welcome to another episode of More Clients TV.

In the last few weeks, we’ve been focusing on Lead Generation. And this week I'm going to talk about a very powerful way of generating leads that most of us overlook.

I'll reveal all after the swoosh.

So, when we talk about lead generation normally, we're talking about potential clients we've not met or interacted with before.

What we tend to forget is the people we already know, but we're not treating like leads.

In particular, there are two categories of people who make exceptional leads that we tend to overlook.

The first is ex-clients.

What typically happens with clients is we establish great relationships when we're working with them. But then when we move on and there are no immediate opportunities we tend to drop out of touch as we focus on our next clients and prospects.

Now, of course, six months or nine months or a year later there may well be significant opportunities with that same client. But by then we won't be top of mind and we can't rely on them giving us a call if they need us.

The second category is dropped prospects.

Dropped prospects are potential clients who you came close to working with, but for one reason or another it didn't quite come off. Maybe the timing wasn't right or their priorities changed or they may have chosen to work with someone else.

What we typically do here is we assume that because our work with them didn't go ahead, then we're never going to work with them. But again, that's a bad assumption. Maybe the timing wasn't right then, but it could be now. Or the issue we were talking about may have become a bigger priority or maybe the supplier they initially chose didn’t work out. Or there might just be a different opportunity for us.

The huge bonus with ex-clients and dropped prospects is you've already built up a significant amount of credibility and trust. For ex-clients it was enough for them to hire you and I'm going to assume you did a good job so it should be even higher.

For dropped prospects, they might not have hired you, but you certainly built up enough credibility and trust for them to seriously consider you.

So in both cases, you've got much less distance to go before they're ready to buy than if you were talking to a brand new lead who didn't know you at all.

The challenge though is that getting back in touch to talk about opportunities often doesn't feel very comfortable. There's only so many times you can knock on their door and ask if they have anything for you before they stop taking your calls.

The answer is to stop asking and start giving.

What that means is you use the same strategy of giving value in advance that you would use to attract a cold prospect, but you do it with your warm ex-clients and dropped prospects.

The difference is you don't need to try to collect email addresses or anything like that because you're already in contact. And you can afford to invest more per person because you know they have a high probability of turning into clients.

So usually the best way of getting back in touch and offering value in advance to these higher value prospects is to offer them some kind of presentation or discussion on a topic they're going to find valuable that could lead to opportunities for work for you if it turns out to be an area they need to improve in or make some changes in.

So that could be a discussion around industry trends affecting them in an area you're an expert in. It could be some benchmarking you've done on an important topic for them or it could be some case studies of how some of your clients have achieved what they want to achieve. Anything you can share with them really that's valuable…

…but you will find that you get a much better response when you offer to share hard data and external, objective information.

Offering to discuss with them some ideas you've had about improving customer service, for example, is nowhere near as strong as offering to share some benchmarking you've done on customer service best practices in the top 10 companies in their sector.

The benchmarking just sounds much more concrete and valuable. Something you couldn’t just make up on the spot or try to wing it.

And from your perspective, all your competitors could offer to share some ideas – but it's very likely that no one else has done the work to compile the benchmarking or create an industry report. So you’ll really stand out.

So for selected ex-clients and dropped prospects offering some kind of high value briefing like this is a fantastic way of getting back in touch, adding value, and getting into a meaty discussion with a potential client where you demonstrate expertise and talk about an area where they might well need help. From there it's a really easy transition to talking about working together.

And worst case – even if they don't agree to the meeting you'll have raised your credibility and have been seen to be adding value.

So if you target high value clients and you're willing to invest in creating a high value briefing it can pay real dividends. I would give it serious consideration.

That's it for this week – I'll see you next week on another episode of more clients TV.

Cheers!

The post A Powerful Approach to Lead Generation That We Almost All Overlook appeared first on Ian Brodie.

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In last week's video I showed you a technique for making your Lead Magnets stand out.

This week we're going to take that further and look at how to create a very different type of lead magnet. Something that's particularly powerful for high value clients.

A Very Different Type of Lead Magnet - YouTube

If you want to get notified of these videos the minute they appear on Youtube, click the link below to subscribe to the More Clients TV channel:

Video Transcript

Hi – it’s Ian here.

Welcome to another episode of More Clients TV and another lead generation Tip.

Last week I promised you another video on lead magnets with a very different approach.

This is going to require you to think outside the box a bit. Because basically, when we think about lead magnets normally we constrain our thinking to some form of free information. So a free report, a video series, a checklist, an online tool. And we think of those type of lead magnets because they’re relatively easy, they’re scaleable, and those are the types of lead magnet that the people who teach us about lead magnets use themselves – because they’re largely in the information business.

But if you go back to first principles and think about what a lead magnet it, it’s really just something that motivates a potential client to connect with you so you can follow up with them. It can be anything that they would find valuable. It doesn’t have to be free information.

So a simple example of that would be to create an online community for your potential clients where they can exchange ideas and help each other out. If you can make that community really valuable for members then it can be a lead magnet and you’ll find the members themselves promote it for you.

Extending that idea, if you work with local businesses face to face then setting up, inviting them to and facilitating a mastermind group could be something they would find tremendously valuable. And because you get to talk to them personally on a regular basis as part of that it’s an even better way of following up than the normal email marketing that follows a traditional lead magnet.

A similar idea is one an old client of mine used to use. They’d host regular dinners for their clients and ex-clients who were all senior leaders in a range of organisations. And they’d encourage them to invite along other CEOs and senior people they knew. So they always had a good mix of potential clients in there. The networking was great for the attendees at those events and they always learnt something, There was no overt selling but it positioned the hosts as leaders in their field and gave them an opportunity to follow-up after the events.

If you work in a field like marketing where what your potential clients would value is more visibility and exposure to their customers, your lead magnet could be a podcast or a newsletter type thing where you interview them about their business and their story so they’ve got something they can use in their own PR.

Now there are two things going on with these types of non-traditional lead magnets.
The first is that by thinking outside the box you end up with a lead magnet that is completely different to what everyone else is doing. So it really stands out and gets you noticed.

The second thing is that if you are targeting high value clients, you can afford to invest time and money into your lead magnet. You don’t need it to be a zero marginal cost thing like a PDF or a video – you can afford to strategically invest some of your time to attract and nurture a high value client. You’ve got more flexibility – so use it.

Now of course the particular examples I’ve used might well not work for your business.

What’s important is the principle. Start by thinking about what your potential clients value and then think creatively about how you could offer it to them – it doesn’t have to be a report or a video or any of the traditional forms of lead magnet. It can be anything you can do at a reasonable cost that’s going to be attractive to them and help you begin your relationship.

And by going beyond what everyone else is doing they’re really going to notice you.
If you want a lead magnet that really has a big impact it’s a great place to start.

See you next week.

The post A Very Different Type of Lead Magnet appeared first on Ian Brodie.

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Most of us get Lead Generation completely backwards.

We're a bit like the guy who wants to get a date and obsesses about whether he should be going out to clubs, using a dating app or asking friends for introductions – and completely forgets to smarten himself up a bit and try to look his best some people will actually want to have a date with him.

In this video I explain the big mistake most businesses make with lead generation and the simple step you can take to turn that round and get people wanting to meet with you.

The Uncomfortable Truth About Lead Generation - YouTube

If you want to get notified of these videos the minute they appear on Youtube, click the link below to subscribe to the More Clients TV channel:

Video Transcript

Hi – it's Ian here – welcome to this first lead generation tip and it's a really important one. If you listen to nothing else I say make sure you listen to this.

Because most of us get lead generation completely backwards. It's a bit like if you've got a friend who's single and they're looking to get a date and they come over asking for your advice but they haven't washed for a week and their hair's all scruffy and they're wearing really old clothes and then they're asking you “well should I use this dating app or should I go out to clubs or can I get introductions from friends” and you've just got to tell them it doesn't matter what you do unless you get yourself sorted out and get yourself cleaned up so you'll actually look attractive to someone then no one is going to want to go out on a date with you no matter what method you use.

And it's very much the same when it comes to our marketing and lead generation. Most of us look at lead generation completely from our own perspective about what we want to get from the process. We want a call with someone, we want to get a meeting with them, we want them to join our email list – instead of looking at it from their perspective and what would make us attractive to them. What would make them want to have a meeting with us?

Now if you think that they might want to have a meeting with you to explain your services or so you can ask them questions to find out their problems so you can recommend a solution – that's the wrong answer. Ninety-five percent of the time clients are not yet ready to buy so they don't want to hear about your services and they don't want to talk about their problems yet and get solutions recommended because they're nowhere near
that part of the process. Even if they could be brilliant clients later on, most of the time they're not ready yet so you need to think about what would be valuable what would be attractive to them about having a meeting or a call with you or joining your email list or interacting with you on social media. What would make that valuable to them *right then* not in the future, not when they're working with you but right then and there. What makes that meeting valuable?

Something that's always worked for me is to prepare a little presentation or a discussion about key industry trends – the big things that are going to be affecting those potential clients. That's something that clients are always interested in hearing.

They're always keen to hear “what are going to be the big issues that I'm going to have to face in the future?”
For you it might be something else – it doesn't have to be industry trends, it could be case studies of some really important work you've done in an area that's vital to that potential client. It could be anything as long as the client says it's valuable, as long as they would want to have a meeting with you. Because if you can identify a reason why that potential client would want to have a meeting with you that would make it attractive to them then all your lead generation becomes exponentially easier and exponentially more effective.

It doesn't really matter whether you're using LinkedIn or Facebook or presentations or networking or whatever it is you want to try – if you are attractive you'll find it much easier to get a date. And thankfully in the lead generation world it's a lot easier to be attractive by having something valuable to offer than it is for any of us to become more attractive in the dating sense.

So that's your task for this week: think about what it is you can offer what kind of value can you give to people to become leads – so to have a meeting with you, to have a call with you, to join your email list – what can you offer to them that's incredibly valuable to them that would make them *want* to do it. Rather than seeing lead generation as somehow some way of persuading or manipulating or coercing people into having that meeting with you, make them *want* it. Because if they want it it's all going be much easier.

That's it for now – see you next week and don't forget to subscribe. Either hit the button there or there depending on where you're
watching this from.

Cheers

The post The Uncomfortable Truth About Lead Generation appeared first on Ian Brodie.

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When it comes down to it there are three different types of network that bring you all your clients.

Just three.

The first network is your network of Close Contacts.

These are the people you know well. The ones you could pick up the phone to and pick their brains. People you'd feel happy asking a favour of – and who would feel happy asking a favour of you.

The second network is your network of Casual Contacts.

These are the people you know well enough to drop an email to. Who you probably chat to online if you see them post something. Who you'd be happy to see and chat to at an event. But you wouldn't necessarily arrange to meet up with them on a regular basis.

The third network is your network of Acquaintances or your Audience.

Acquaintances are people you recognise and would smile at at a party. But you don't know them all that well. An audience is even more remote – it's people who know you (for example they listen to your podcast) but you don't know them.

For the vast majority of us, an audience is an entirely new phenomenon. In the past only TV and movie stars had audiences. Or in the business world, the authors of well-known books or those who went out on the speaking trail. Today though we can all build our own audience – whether that's an email list or Youtube followers.

More than One Dunbar Number

You might be familiar with the concept of the Dunbar Number. This was the idea postulated by anthropologist Robin Dunbar in the 1990s that there's a maximum number of social relationships the brain can handle. Extrapolating from his work with primates, Dunbar suggested that for humans this number was around 150.

In other words, we can have stable relationships with about 150 people. But after that, we start forgetting or confusing them. Dunbar explained it informally as “the number of people you would not feel embarrassed about joining uninvited for a drink if you happened to bump into them in a bar”.

Dunbar's number has held out to be pretty true in practice and it's now widely used when people are trying to design communities or social spaces.

Gore-Tex, for example, famously discovered that if more than 150 people were working together in one building, various social problems would occur. They started making buildings with a limit of 150 people and only 150 parking spaces. When the parking spaces were filled, they'd build another 150-person building.

What's less widely known is that Dunbar continued his research to look at human relationships in different situations and, of course, at the impact of modern social networks.

Instead of a single Dunbar Number, he now talks about a series of numbers and corresponding social groups.

The original 150 (it actually varies between 100 and 200 depending on how socially active you are) is the “casual friend” group. Inside that is a group of about 50: your “close friends”. Inside that, about 15 are your “confidantes” and within that are about 5 in your “support group”.

Extending out beyond 150 you can get to between 500 or a maximum of about 1,500 “acquaintances” where you can put a name to a face.

Dunbar's numbers have proven to be remarkably robust. Whether it comes to group sizes in primitive hunter-gatherer societies, battalion, company and unit sizes in armies across the world, or in the number of people on Christmas card lists in British households.

And they hold true in business too.

That Close Contact list of 50 people is going to be primarily family and “pure” friends (ie no business relationship). But for most of us there'll probably be 5 or 10 or 15 people in that 50 who are people we know mainly through business.

For a consultant that might be half a dozen clients they worked with really closely over the years, plus another half dozen colleagues they worked alongside. For a coach it might be people they coached or who hired them to coach others who've now become friends. Or it might be members of a mastermind group who regularly refer clients to them.

These are the people we really know like and trust. Not the “know like and trust” trotted out by marketing experts that you supposedly get from watching someone on video a few times. But know like and trust based on working closely with someone over an extended period of time. Seeing and supporting them through their highs and lows. And having them do the same for you.

Not surprisingly, these are the people most likely to hire you or refer you for large projects.

They already know what you can do and they already trust you to deliver on big, important pieces of work. Most likely they've actually seen you do it before.

That doesn't mean you can't or won't win big projects from others. But it'll be much harder work. You'll have a lot more to do in the sales process to build up the credibility and trust needed for them to be ready to hire you.

Your Casual Contact list probably contains a couple of dozen or more business contacts in there too. People you regularly interact with on social media or in real life. They could be potential clients who are interested in your work and ask questions. Or they could be others working in similar fields to you with compatible ideas.

These are the people who already know, like and trust us enough to hire us or recommend us as a coach, join a group program we're running, or buy an online product from us.

They haven't experienced us enough to stump up for a huge 6-figure project without further work. But for something smaller and less risk, we've proven ourselves alredy. And we don't need to put them through a fancy “funnel” to get them ready to buy because the work we've already done to build our relationship with them is enough.

Finally, with our wider Audience, we've built credibility and trust through our content that they see on a regular basis (depending on how long they've been in our audience). It's unlikely to be enough for them to suddenly perk up and hire us for a huge project because they simply don't know us well enough. But it's enough to buy an online training program or after a bit of work, to enrol in a group coaching program.

Your Networks Aren't Static

Of course, membership of your different levels of network changes all the time as you make new contacts and interact with some people more than others.

And sadly, the most common change in your networks is that they decay.

Close Contacts you don't speak to for months become Casual Contacts. And Casual Contacts, in the absence of any proactive contact, decay into Acquaintances and eventually out of your contact network completely.

Remember those clients you worked closely with on a day by day basis 5 years ago? The ones you could have picked up the phone to at any time. The ones you'd often grab coffee or lunch with.

Could you pick up the phone and ask them a favour now?

If you've kept in touch and nurtured your relationship then yes. For most of us, the answer would be no. We manage our networks haphazardly at best.

The good news is that with planning and consistent action you can improve the quality of your networks significantly.

If you're broadcasting to an Audience you can include calls to action that get the people you most want to move into your Casual Contact network to respond and start interacting with you.

You can make sure you regularly interact with Casual Contact network members and build your relationship with them so that some become Close Contacts.

And most important of all, you can treasure your Close Contacts to make sure they don't drop out.

All Networks Are Not Created Equal (Nor Should They Be)

It's important to remember that different businesses (and different business models) need different types of networks to support them.

In theory, Close Contacts are the most valuable. But they also take the most personal involvement to nurture.

So if your business is built around selling online training programs and memberships like mine, then you don't particularly need a lot of potential clients in your Close Contact network – you need a large and responsive Audience.

An online training business is essentially a high volume business. Though what you might want to do is ensure your Close Contact network has a number of partners with their own large Audiences who can potentially recommend you.

On the other hand, if your business focus is on winning a small number of very high-value consulting projects each year then you're much better off focusing on building a powerful Close Contact network than you are building a big mailing list.

Of course, with a big Audience, some will ascend from your mailing list into your Casual Contact list and from there into your Close Contacts. But it'll take time.

Your main goals should be to strengthen your Close Contact network, keep an active Casual Contact network that feeds it, and to “work” your network to find opportunities for those big projects.

For most businesses, a balanced strategy, maintaining networks at all levels will work best.

Build a channel (email marketing, a podcast, live video etc) to gather an Audience for your lower-end products and as a source of “new blood” into your Casual Contact Network.

Create opportunities for interaction with your Casual Contact network (prompt your engaged subscribers to email you with questions for example, or set up an online group or forum for them, or just get on the phone). For those that feel like they could become great clients or referrers, spend more time on them so they become Close Contacts.

And invest personal time to create and implement unique plans to strengthen your Close Contact Network.

Three Questions To Ask Yourself

1. What do your networks look like right now?
Where are they strong? Where are they weak? Have they grown and strengthened in the last year, or decayed?

2. What are the ideal networks to support your desired business?
If you're a consultant, do you need a really strong Close Contact network as a source of large projects? As a coach do you need a broad and strong Casual Contact network as a source of a decent number of coaching clients? Or perhaps you need a number of senior executives in your Close Contact network that can hire you to work with many of their staff in a structured coaching program?

3. What steps do you need to take to match your network to your business?
Do you need to strengthen your network in key areas? Or reconsider your business model to be a better fit for the networks you have?

Answering these 3 questions – and then taking action – will set you on course to get the most from your real source of clients: your networks.

The post The Three Networks That Bring You ALL Your Clients appeared first on Ian Brodie.

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