Jan 4, 2013
The Best Kept Lead Generation Secret – Continued
As promised in last week’s post, today I’m describing a foolproof way to create natural partnerships in a simple predictable way. If you haven’t yet read part 1, please start there so today’s post makes sense.
Step 1 – Fire! …Ready, Aim
I call this “Trial by Fire”. Jump in with both feet, right now, no preparation. It’s best to start the process half-baked. If you’ll dedicate 90 minutes to test the idea, I’m confident you’ll witness the potential of this lead generation method, and you’ll know if you’re going to be able to continue the process on your own. And if the process isn’t coming natural to you, contact me and I give you some personalized tips, or I may even make a call or two for you.
Here’s the process: Go to an online business directory. Pick a category of businesses you’d want to meet with, and print off a list of about 20 phone numbers. A print list will let you take notes in the margins on-the-fly. Call the first number. When the person answers, introduce who you are and what you do, and let them know you’d like explore a possible partnership. The gatekeeper will direct you to the decision maker. Chat for a minute and then invite the person to lunch. At the end of the call, you’ll either see how easy it is, or how queasy it makes you feel. If you call all 20, you should be able to set a few lunch appointments. And even though the partnerships aren’t official yet, you’ll at least know the process would produce results if developed properly and pursued diligently.
Step 2 – Clarify Your Priorities
Now that you know the process will work, step back and invest a little time to plan your attack. Start by imagining what kinds of companies you want to partner with. If you can, identify several categories. Then prioritize which ones to pursue first, probably the ones that are most natural, more likely to be receptive, and more likely to give you quality leads.
Step 3 – Create a List
Go to an online directory like yp.com. If you can, find a directory that will let you type in your address to arrange the list by how far away the firms are from your location. That way you’re starting your calls with companies that will be easy to visit. Plus, there’s a subtle affinity that you’ll already have with this firm because you’re neighbors. After tapping your local list, branch out to other areas by zip code or city. Saturate an area and then move on.
Step 4 – Prepare for the Call
Write a script. Even if you choose not to use it during the call, the action of writing the script will organize your thoughts and give you confidence. Often the written word has a different tone than the spoken word. So write the script like you speak. Practice the script aloud to test the tone and make sure it flows right. A natural unscripted tone will be received better. Remember, you’re not selling anything!
Step 5 – Make the Call, Set the Appointment
Get to the point quickly: “I’m Jared Barfuss, with a local marketing company. I’m reaching out to you to see if it makes sense for us to explore a partnership of some kind.” Also, have your “elevator pitch” ready. An e-pitch is a persuasive 30 second message about your company. 9 times in 10 you’ll share this, then roll right into an invitation to lunch: “Anyway, I thought it might make sense to meet up. Do you have a moment to meet this week, maybe go to lunch?” After picking a day, follow up with an email to confirm the appointment.
Step 6 – Meet Over Lunch
Treat your new contact like a friend. Talk about business and personal things like family, sports, and recreation. It’s also worth the investment to cover his lunch.
You’ll usually encounter three kinds of mindsets in your lunch partners: the tit-for-tat (TFT), the givers gain (GG), and the rev share. The TFT is the guy that says, “You give me a lead first, then I’ll give you one.” This is the voice of someone new to partnering and business networking. You’re job as an enlightened partnership professional is to lead him to a better way. The GG philosophy is common among experienced networkers. This philosophy works well for large formal networking groups, but falls short in one-on-one partnerships. Instead, I recommend converting your TFT and GG partners over to the rev share relationship. If you both agree to share a percentage of the revenue produced from a sale, there’s never a feeling of inequality in the relationship, even if one of you gives far more leads than the other. Furthermore, the rev share philosophy is an open relationship. Each of you can partner with as many others as you want without creating hard feelings.
Step 7 – Immediately Follow Up
After the appointment, go to a computer and immediately email your new partner with some helpful ideas, leads, or good content. Even if he’s looking for a formal partnership agreement, he’ll be impressed and feel motivated to return the favor. (Especially if you also bought lunch!) Make a list of your new partners and keep it close to your workspace to remind you to keep in touch.
Step 8 – Prepare Your Website
Now think back to the beginning of this process. There’s a good chance that even while you were on the first phone call, your prospective partner was looking at your website. To get the best results with your partner development effort, be sure your site is professional and up to date. I also recommend every business include some language on their site inviting partnerships.
I’ve only scratched the surface. Stay tuned for the inevitable white paper or e-book expanding on this process.