Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a Sat Nav for finding ideal customers.
You’d key in who you’re looking for and hey presto, a map straight to their door.
No more wasting money on out of date and mostly useless email lists. No more hours of online research and even better no more SEO.
Just a few directions and boom, ‘You have reached your destination.’
How much faster would you grow your business do you think?
2x, 5x, maybe 10x faster?
Unfortunately there’s no such thing. Not quite yet anyway.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t create your own map.
Now that you know who your best clients are, the businesses they come from and what they want, you can use this information to plot your route.
There are number of ways you can do this. Too many to cover here so I thought we’d cover the 4 we’ve found to be the fastest and most effective.
Route 1: Your Network
Is your business built on recommendation?
If it is, you’ll know your network is your fastest and most effective route to new business wins.
Not only does your network know, like and trust you but, in the case of your clients, have direct experience of what you do, how you do it and the results you are capable of achieving.
That means they are also the people who can pass on the hottest and fastest converting leads.
When considering who would make the most valuable referrers, think about the following:
Your Best Clients
Take the list of clients you identified in the last part of the course.
They are not just valuable referrers because they know what you are capable of. They are influential because they’ve experienced the positive impact working with you has on both their business and themselves.
They understand how working with you makes them feel.
For instance, a client of mine likes the fact that we help him generate new business. But what he likes more is the confidence boost it has given him. He feels he has something of value to say to the market and it’s helped him to be more effective when speaking at conferences and in pitching for new business.
Although intangible compared to say the effect you’ve had on the bottom line of a business, these emotional factors are a more powerful motivator.
Something else to think about is your clients likely network with peers who have similar issues and want similar results. Therefore, there is a good chance that they’ll become a good source of referrals.
Friends and Family
Friends and family have always been a hot source of referrals for my business.
Not only do they know, like and trust me but they also want to see me succeed.
Having said that, it’s not unusual for people to ignore the opportunity friends and family present. Typically they don’t think they’ll be a good source of introduction because they assume they won’t know anyone appropriate.
If that’s you, I think you’ll be surprised by the results.
No matter how well you know your friends and family, chances are you have only a small idea of the people they mix with.
Who are the people you know that are in a position to influence your target market. For example a client of ours designs the cosmetics concessions that you see in department stores.
This has resulted in their having excellent relationships with all the store managers who, in turn, have an excellent relationship with brand owners.
It’s not surprising then that these partners have been a valuable source of referrals.
Who are your partners?
Who of them would make good referrers?
Asking some or even all of the above for introductions may make you nervous.
Thing is, if you wait for them to come to you, you could be waiting a very long time.
If you’re worried about proactively asking for leads, never fear.
We’ll look at how to ask and what to ask for in a way that’s comfortable for both you and your network in our next article.
For now it’s important to create a map of the people who will make your best referrers.
Route 2: The Media
While print is becoming less popular as a means of consuming information, the Internet has done nothing to diminish the influence of the established media community.
Competition has certainly increased and traditional media properties now have to fight harder to win and maintain readership.
But that has only hardened their resolve.
National newspapers and trade magazines continue to exert a big influence on your target market.
However, in our experience, too many business owners are missing out on getting the media attention they deserve because of two false limiting beliefs:
- They’re not big enough to be of interest to the media
- They don’t have anything of value to say
At 9MM we’ve been dispelling these two myths for years and pride ourselves on generating quality coverage for business owners.
What you may not know is it’s easier now than it’s ever been to generate media coverage.
If you’d like to find out how, we’ve got a course that will show you step by step. Find out more here.
Route 3: Linkedin
While many people will try to convince you that LinkedIn should be treated like just another marketing channel, we believe it’s most powerful when used as a networking tool.
Rather than building the biggest network possible and then squirting content at them, we prefer to keep our network small but full of people who can add value to our business and vice versa.
When you take this route, your LinkedIn network becomes an incredible source of referrals.
What’s more you’re given all the tools, for free, for identifying prospects that your network can introduce you to.
- In the search bar, click on the magnifying glass
- Now click on the ‘all filters’ button in the line below the search bar
- Fill in the title of the people you want intros to, click on ‘2nd’ in the connections list, add one location and one industry – rinse repeat
- Fill in the 4 areas above only. Nothing more. Nothing less
- Click apply
The result is a list of people who fit your prospect profile and for each person a list of people in your network that can introduce them to you.
The better you know your network, the more likely they will introduce you.
Route 4: Conferences (Speaking at)
Ah the business conference. A booze filled party to some, a day off for others and for many a chance to gain some interesting insights on how to move themselves or their businesses forward.
Savvy business owners can use conferences to their advantage. In fact, we’ve found that they are one of the most effective routes to picking up valuable, qualified leads that turn into great clients.
There’s a good article on ideal content creation for conferences here. But first you’ve got to find the right ones for you and your business.
Google is your best friend here. You can use almost exactly the same search phrases that you used for your media search only this time substitute the word media for conferences.
- Retail conferences UK
- Beauty trade conferences UK
- Marketing industry conferences UK
To build your list further, check out the websites of the event organisers. If they do one event for a particular sector, chances are they will do a few.
Over the next week start to create your prospect map. Choose 1 of the routes outlined here and see how far you get.
Don’t try and do too much. Set aside 30 minutes a day. I think you’ll be surprised at how much you get done and how quickly.
It’s all very well knowing how to find good prospects or identify people who can introduce you to them.
It’s quite another asking for those introductions. It’s not something that comes naturally to a lot of people. For many it can feel a little icky. But it doesn’t have to. Want to know more?
Well, in our next article will look at a risk free way of generating a flood of referrals.
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