As we get back from summer, the question always arises where do you find new ideal clients this autumn once you have tapped your hot list?
The traditional line of sight is networking functions. For readers who are veterans of these events, you know the issues with networking functions are primarily three-fold:
1. The same people attend all the events;
2. There are more sellers and buyers (and the sellers are not listening to your pitch); and
3. Your ideal client is too busy building a business to attend a networking event.
This is not to suggest that networking functions do not have intrinsic value. They do. It is that they are subject to these the above limitations.
The same issues also arise at association or industry events but add to it trying to process the sheer magnitude of business cards you receive and the time it takes to determine whether the lead is hot, warm or not a lead at all. In many respects, association/industry events are better for educational/competitive intelligence than pure lead building.
Instead, I would suggest that one adhere to the saying "like attract like." Most entrepreneurs spend time with other entrepreneurs. We like to unwind in each another's company and reinforce the fact that other people are facing the same challenges as us.
Rather than starting cold, ask your clients to introduce you to leads. The key is to narrow in on what you are looking for in a lead. It is not good enough to say "I need business, do you know anyone?"
Instead, be specific as to a "want" and a "need" client. The question to be asked then moves from the general to the specific: "ideally, I am looking for a business grossing between $2-$10 million a year who needs to rebuild their network but I am just as happy being introduced to a client that needs to purchase some redundancies on their existing network."
Implicit in this approach is that you are showing some sense of vulnerability in asking others for help. The salesperson is not the all-knowing expert but an actual human who requires assistance from others.
For some, it can be a tough pill to shallow. But remember people buy from people and showing that you are human is not necessarily a bad thing. Many entrepreneurs are more than happy to assist others and a side benefit of this approach may be that your clients see you as more of a person than a talking head.
Best of luck.
Labels: Albert Luk