Make It STOP!
I was sitting down watching some TV with my wife and she pulled out her cellphone and said, “Can you help me?” And I said, “Sure.” She opened up her email and said, “Why am I getting all these?” When I started looking at what she meant by these, it was a bunch of spam messages selling everything from weight loss to, Lord only knows. And I said, “Well, it's easy. Somebody got ahold of your email address and sold it to somebody else. You got on a list of prospects and now you're getting all this junk mail.” She goes, “Well, how do I make it stop?” And I said, “Well, you really can't. You can try putting them into a junk folder and it might get smart enough to know what's junk and what's not, but you can't really make it stop.”
Leads On Autopilot?
Well, I don't know about you, but lately, I feel like I'm fighting in a war to stop people from saying, “Hey, do you get enough leads?” And they're coming in from everywhere. They're coming in, in emails. They're coming in, in Facebook messages. And they're coming in, on LinkedIn. Everybody's saying, “Hey, I can find you qualified leads.”
Well, no, you really can't. Because you don't know who I am and you don't know what a lead is like. You're just spamming me and hoping that I will respond. We all get these messages about leads. You may want leads, but what you really need is prospects. This may be common sense to you, but it's always good to go back and revisit the basics.
I remember a story about John Wooden, who would make his basketball players tie their shoes for the first basketball practice. And then the second practice, dribble with the right hand, then dribble with the left hand. Whether you were a seasoned pro, a senior, or a freshman, he made everybody do the same thing.
Leads Vs. Prospects
Let's explore the difference between leads and prospects. Leads tend to equal cold calls and are one-way communication. Somebody is contacting somebody and saying, “Hey, I have something you may want.” Their hope is that you're going to pay them for these leads. But I'm here to tell you, you already have thousands, maybe even millions of leads at your fingertips on social media.
They could be your friends on Facebook, or they could be your connections on LinkedIn. Heck, if you spend enough money on Sales Navigator, you can search everybody on LinkedIn, all 600, 700 million people. But why would you?
You can find leads everywhere and try to cold call them. Why not? It's just like other people are doing with you? You could cold email them, or even connect and pitch? They may be a good avatar, or a perfect potential customer? They may even have the resources to buy what you're selling. But what they probably don't have is an immediate need for your business or your product or services.
I can almost assure you that they don't have any kind of emotional connection with you. They don't know, like, and trust you. It's just a cold lead. Finally, they have no idea what makes your product any better or different than everybody else who's doing the same thing – connecting and pitching, sending them emails, trying to use them as a lead.
The more that people do this, the more that we push back, right?
You will often get much better results working with people as prospects. Prospects are not cold calls. These are people that we're actually having conversations with or they're engaged and they are communicating interest in one way, shape, or form.
Maybe at one point, they gave you their email and they've engaged with it or opened it. Maybe they've liked or commented on one of your posts on social media. Or even better, maybe they were referred to you. That's the difference between leads and prospects. Leads equal cold calls, but prospects equal conversations. And that's the kind of people you should be spending your time on, the ones that are interested. They might not be ready right now, but maybe they will be someday soon.
In a previous podcast episode and blog post, I talked about RACE, but not the kind of race that you're thinking about. It's an acronym that allows you to use marketing, to generate more sales. The four parts of R.A.C.E. include:
Are you relevant to this person? Is what you're doing relevant to them and their business, especially where they're at right now? Are they the right person to speak to? Do they have buying authority? Do they need what you have? And are they willing to have a conversation around it?
We create relevance through awareness. We let them know through educational material, through videos, and through graphics that we have something that may be of interest to them. As they become aware of it, they may actually engage with it. They may comment, like, share, or do something more.
The next piece is consistency. Are you consistently putting out information that is relevant and creates awareness? It may not be the exact time for everybody, but you never know, when you're posting things over and over and over again and not beating people over the head with cold calls, when they may find that piece relevant as they become aware of it. That consistency is really what drives people to take action.
And then that final piece of the RACE acronym is engagement. You can measure the relevance and awareness through your consistent action. And from there, you'll get engagement. As I said, are people opening your emails? Are people liking, commenting, sharing on your social posts? And are they ending up back at your website and actually engaging with that?
The Engagement System
In order to do this properly, you have to have a prospecting system.
- The first part is to start with something of interest and value that's targeted at the right audience, then drive them back to your business website.
- From there, you're trying to capture their names and emails. If they give you that, make sure that you're not abusing it by selling it to somebody else or beating them over the head with, “Hey, buy my stuff now.”
- Add them to your list and send them email broadcasts. If they open it, then you know that they're engaged, or you may want to do drip emails. Say somebody downloaded an eBook, you want to make sure that they know what's in chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, and how to download it again.
- Also make sure to connect with them on social media, which helps build consistency.
- If they engage with you, respond, say, thanks, answer their questions, let them know that you're paying attention to them, paying attention to you.
- And if you have a sales team, get one of your people involved and engaged to build that relationship.
One of the biggest differences between leads and prospects is empathy. Imagine the prospect you're speaking to was you, how would you respond to those messages? If you are considering it spam, chances are they are too. It may feel like an epic battle, to block all those pitches with your lightsaber, but you can also use that to shine a light for people who are prospects.
Cold Calling is a lot of work with limited results…
How could your business benefit from creating conversations with your TRIBE?
I would love to hear your thoughts on reaching out and connecting to create conversations. Do you focus more time on finding leads or prospects? Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about finding and nurturing prospects.
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