There's no silver bullet when it comes to lead generation; ask 100 advisors what technique works for them, and you'll likely get 100 different answers. With this in mind, we reached out to 50 of the best and brightest minds we know to find out what lead gen strategies they'll be employing in the year ahead. They delivered, with tips that give guidance on how to perfect your digital strategy, when to ask for referrals from existing clients and how to turn a casual meet-and-greet into a prospecting opportunity. Check back every day this week for ten more tips to help you meet your sales goals in 2014.
50. Create a marketing to-do list.
Though every agency has time and budget constraints, you can make the most of your marketing and lead generation efforts with this simple to-do list. Make sure the following are true:
1. Your website is updated and current (with SEO best practices).
2. Your agency value proposition is clearly displayed and understood.
3. You have a prominent call to action (above the fold) on your agency website.
4. You have a professional and consistent e-marketing program.
5. You have a quality prospect list with timelines.
6. Your agency makes more than 500 outbound calls per producer per month to targeted prospects.
7. You have a social media initiative in place.
8. You’ve rehearsed your elevator, telephone and voicemail pitch.
9. You have an efficient (and documented) lead-handling process.
10. Your e-collateral is branded and updated.
—Alan Blume, author, founder and CEO of Start Up Selling Inc.
49. Get the right introduction.
Often, when we ask our clients to come up with names of people they know for referrals, they don’t know who is a really strong prospect for us or all of our capabilities. We have put them on the spot by asking them to come up with great referrals for us with only seconds to think about it.
Not surprisingly, most of the referrals we get — usually nothing more than a name and phone number — prove to be no more qualified than if we had pulled them randomly out of a the phonebook. In short, they are time-wasters.
Instead of asking a weak question such as “Who do you know who might be able to use my products or services?” try doing the hard work of finding out who your client actually knows and then asking for a direct introduction to that particular person.
—Paul McCord, best-selling author, speaker, owner McCord and Associates
48. Use the Internet to generate leads.
Given that the Internet is such a consumer research mecca, it is essential that you find ways to engage prospects and make a good first impression. Here are two quick things that can help you achieve your online goals:
1. Do webinars and promote them on your website. Webinars are an awesome lead-generation strategy. You not only build thought leadership, but also acquire a strong list of leads. After your webinars, aim to network and build stronger relationships with those who attend.
2. Emphasize your level of expertise. What makes you a credible, reliable and sought-after advisor? Who currently works with you? Where has your content been featured? What books have you written? Have you been on radio shows or television? Make sure all your credentials are visible and prominent on your website and that your bios are on social media.
—Amy McIlwain, professional speaker on social media, president of Financial Social Media
47. Focus your lead-generation system.
The key to a strong lead-generation campaign is to have an in-depth understanding of your prospect’s world and what info she needs in order to make a good business decision. There are certain things you can to do to increase her interest and commitment to change. However, if you do something at the wrong time—such as ask for a meeting before she is ready—you will destroy any hope that she will ever become your client.
—Jill Konrath, author, speaker, strategist
46. Network with your network.
With your LinkedIn profile, a highly effective tool for finding people, you can begin growing your network today. How does it work? You have probably heard of the fundamental networking principle that it’s always better to be introduced than to introduce yourself. With that in mind, we suggest you discover the improved way that you can browse your network.
First, go to the profile of someone in your network you already know well. Choose someone from whom you are comfortable asking for an introduction. Browse his or her profile and scroll down until you see “Connections.” Until recently, it was possible only to browse the connections of your first-degree connections. Now, it is also possible to search. Select a specific function (“HR manager”), keyword (“export”), abbreviation (“IBM”)—or anything else you want.
It’s never been easier to find your connections and to grow your network through them. So, logon and get searching!
—Jan Vermeiren, speaker, author, founder of Networking Coach
45. Ask new clients for leads.
After I've secured a solid client relationship, showcased our value and gained their trust in our services and expertise, I believe there is no better time to approach these clients for leads. I ask for colleagues or firms that they do business with or have relationships with that could likewise benefit from what we're doing. If the client declines to offer any leads, I ask what else I could be doing for them to warrant this outcome — seeking direct feedback and having the mindset that I can always improve my business is important for my growth and success. Having the right attitude going in is key.
— Adam Berkowitz, team manager and employee benefit consultant, Caravus
44. Leverage all that you can.
Leverage your team, your expertise, your company. Make sure you know your resources and don’t let them go to waste. I spend more time helping agents who call me compared to anyone else, so take action and put yourself on the map.
— Anna Giambattista, marketing manager, Futurity First Insurance Group
43. Use value-driven content.
Developing content that will generate leads begins with defining your insurance or finance clients’ most burning questions and answering them in different forms: blog posts, videos, PowerPoint presentations, e-books, infographics, etc. Most consumers conduct their initial service research online, so to get ahead, your practice needs to create and distribute informative, fresh content. Since the end goal is to connect your desired audience with your business, create content that responds to prospects’ questions (to help them narrow their selection) and incorporate the terms searchers use to find your website (keywords unique to your business). Due to Google’s latest user-centric algorithm updates, including Hummingbird, businesses with the best content will be the most visible across the Web, and thus, convert more leads.
— Chris Marentis, founder and CEO, Surefire Social
42. Give away freebies.
Give away free guides and educational resources on your website in exchange for contact information. This provides your site with a nice alternative to the standard “get free quotes” call-to-action. Then, bring new traffic to your site by sharing the download pages on social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook. If you don’t have content of your own, ask the carriers and FMOs you work with what they can provide (just make sure it’s focused on education instead of sales).
— Aaron Kassover, co-founder, AgentMethods
Don’t be a general practice physician; be a heart surgeon. In other words, don’t be afraid to specialize. The narrow point of entry might be intimidating, but a specialization increases your value because you can solve the challenges that a generalist can’t. Your specialization will allow you to clearly define, in great detail, your ideal client, which will translate to highly targeted lead generation efforts. You know exactly who you want to talk to, and you know exactly how you can help.
— John Pojeta, vice president, business development, The PT Services Group
For more lead generation tips, visit www.LifeHealthPro.com/50best