As a business professional you probably have a collection of old business cards sitting on your desk that you will get to “sometime”. You also have an active LinkedIn profile with 500+ connections and growing and you belong to many active professional Facebook, Google Plus groups but none of these platforms are translating into ROI.
Why? Is it Because…
- You lack of time because you are running a small business and there is only so much you can do in a 24-hour day
- You have other priorities like getting the work done or fulfilling your orders
- You don’t have a budget to hire someone to help you
All are very valid reasons for not “nurturing” these leads. The end result is the loss of business and sales. Here are a few suggestions that have helped our business move away from survival mode to build mode.
Haste Makes Waste… Schedule Some Time
Let’s tackle the time issue first. This is what most of us have a problem with: TIME! We tend to get bogged down with the details of running a business and not sitting back and examining the loss of potential earnings. It is natural for a small business to react by “putting out a fire” before thinking about making a sales call.
Everybody has time when they need it. You already have made time to get your orders fulfilled and ready to deliver.
Nurturing those leads could translate into new business!
You Are Your Best Salesperson
As the owner of a small business with a very limited budget, you cannot afford to cast those business cards or social media connections into the forgotten round file. Schedule weekly time to review and organize by prioritizing your leads into hot, lukewarm and cold. Best times for us have been Monday mornings when we are fresh from the weekend.
Connect Via Social Media
Connect with the hottest leads first. If you have your prospect’s business card, then call and set an appointment or invite him/her to connect via social media platforms. If you are already connected, reach out with a friendly message first before you send them a proposal. You want to make sure they are interested and they don’t feel intruded upon.
Engage in Relevant Groups and Communities
Often times when sharing an article or joining in a conversation you meet many people or possible business prospects. Keep the conversation going to build trust and then ask politely to engage further, be it by friending on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn. I always prefer to listen first; you can learn a lot by listening to what your prospects are saying.
Addressing the “What About All the Other Work” Question
This one is tough. Not only do you need to spend some money, you now have to “trust” someone else to do your job and hand off responsibility. And will your existing clients be pleased? Again, it’s back to time management and of course monitoring your vendors. As we discussed earlier, you need to find time to follow up on leads. One suggestion is to consider hiring a subcontractor for a few hours a week and oversee the work.
Addressing the “It’s Too Expensive” Concerns
Start by adding up all those leads and the potential percent of business you could get if you reached out and turned some leads into clients. It is well worth the money you will spend on an assistant. If you aren’t willing to invest in your company, why should clients work with a firm that is not willing or able to grow to meet their needs.
If you truly want to grow your business, you need to be proactive in cultivating leads and investing the time and dollars into turning them into customers. There are no magic bullets. It is roll up your sleeves, position your company and its services with the focus on results. Spend time working on your business, not in it!