Prospecting is an emotional rollercoaster...
When it's done wrong.
If you're an agency owner you're wearing lots of hats. You're juggling cash flow, sales, marketing and client work.
There isn't enough of you to go around.
So you spend your days running from one fire to the next. When new clients come in it's all hands on deck. You divert your attention away from prospecting to agreements, project managements, meetings, etc. Here's the part that makes everything more difficult.
You need to do that.
Do you spend time on marketing (fire) to bring in new customers? Do you help your team manage and complete projects (fire)? Or are you the customer service point of contact in case something goes wrong (fire)?
You won't have a business if you ignore these details.
But, you don't have enough time to generate the leads you need. How do you generate a steady supply of leads and maximize the time you have to work on your business?
Your business won't survive without a system
Is having a system an important thing to have? Let's look at two marketing consultants for the answer.
Rich wants review management clients so he...
1. Writes a book
2. Guest posts on high profile sites
3. Speaks regularly at entrepreneur and business conferences
4. Creates helpful tools and resources clients can use right away
5. Offers consulting to clients who need more help
Jason wants consulting clients so he...
1. Starts a consulting business
2. Buys a list of prospects from a vendor
3. Starts cold calling, sends out cold emails
4. Gets a few clients but eventually stops marketing to take care of his clients
See the difference?
Rich uses a system. That system gives him the leverage he needs to flood his business with leads. His marketing isn't dependent on him personally. It's dependent on his system. The better his system performs the more clients he receives.
Marketing gets easier for Rich and harder for Jason.
Rich, due to his thought leadership and useful content, is viewed as an expert. He works hard to create value for clients, but he does it in a way that removes him from the process. Jason is seen as a needy wannabe, a bottom feeder that pesters, begs and annoys prospects for their attention. He has no audience, no leverage and gets zero respect.
Does your prospecting system have the right ingredients?
Your prospecting system needs a few distinct ingredients to work properly. Prospecting becomes easy with the right ingredients. Agencies and consultants frequently run into trouble because their prospecting system is incomplete.
For example, agencies often attempt to win clients with attraction alone. If they win they pay a steep price (e.g. discounting, loss of respect, bad projects) and often struggle to keep them.
These ingredients fit into three distinct groups.
· Education. It's the key ingredient that attracts new clients to you. Teach clients something surprising or new and you immediately have their interest. Captivate them with emotion and you win their undivided attention.
· Resources. Lead magnets, tools, checklists, ebooks and guides are all under the category of resources. Resources, when offered in exchange for an email address, begin the relationship. A well crafted resource can be positioned as an irresistible offer used to build a relationship.
· Entertainment. Fascinate, delight or inspire your prospects and they'll follow you to hear more of what you have to say. Entertain prospects with stories, songs, games and ideas. Entertainment, while important, shouldn't come at the expense of value. Value first, entertainment second.
· Engagement. Your prospects may push back on your ideas. They'll challenge you, ask questions, give you feedback. Treat each engagement as a test. As if prospects are evaluating you, your character and your business. Respond with kindness and respect at all times.
· Authority. Why should prospects listen to you? What makes your voice significant and worthy of attention? What signals confirm your ability to help and serve them?
· Credibility. Your banker may have authority when it comes to banking and finance but that doesn't mean you trust them explicitly as people.
· Objections. Fear permeates transactions between two people who don't know each other. What if you fail to produce results? I don't think your process will work. Who do you have working for you?
· Information. What's your refund policy? How do you do what you say you'll do? How long before I see progress? Do you outsource work to independent contractors? Will you be the one to service my account?
· Understanding. Do clients understand what they've paid for? Are they experiencing any buyer's remorse? Are they aware of what they can do with your product or service? If customers understand what you're giving them, what they can accomplish with your product or service, they're far more likely to use it.
· Usage. Are your clients using your service? Are they taking advantage of your reports? The more a client consumes your product or service, the more they'll buy. Getting clients to use your product or service is one of the hardest parts of selling, but it's also one of the most vital.
· Support. Are you there to help them when something goes wrong or do they have to figure things out on their own? Are you helpful and kind when they reach out to you for help or are you irritated, annoyed and eager to get them off the phone or chat?
· Growth. Are you proactively looking for ways to help your clients? Are you providing them with consistent value (outside of your content marketing efforts) on a consistent basis? The more you do to help your clients grow their business the more likely they are to stay with you.
You can add these ingredients as you go along. But you'll need them all to have a complete prospecting system. You'll need the attraction and conversion sections first to get started so we'll tackle those today.
Here are 3 prospecting strategies you can implement immediately.
Strategy #1: Mining forum posts
Your prospects are on forums. They're asking detailed questions about their business. A customer has just posted a nasty review in response to a job well done. What do I do? I need reviews to launch my product or service, but I'm a nobody. How do I make that happen?
Forums are low hanging fruit.
I use the word "forum" as a catchall term to describe - forums, Q&A, niche sites, websites with lively comments, etc. It's shorthand for places where prospects ask questions.
Here's a short list.
There are hundreds of forums to choose from and plenty of prospects that need help. Here's where most marketers go wrong. They immediately get to work. They post constantly, doing everything they can to help prospects. They fail to gain traction, burn out quickly then declare that forum posting doesn't work.
There's a reason it doesn't work.
They focused exclusively on attraction but neglected conversion. If you want to make it work you'll need to direct prospects to a resource - a lead magnet, video, tool, ebook, guide, etc. Something that's sure to get their attention. Then, you place a brief link to that resource, inviting prospects to start a relationship.
This conversion element is the part most marketers miss. They add too many links to their post, don't add any links, or the link they've added is irrelevant.
These forum posts compound over time. The more visible you are the easier it is to attract prospects, leads and sales. So you need to be consistent over time.
Most people speak faster than they type so tools like Dragon Naturally Speaking help you scale this strategy so you're better able to maximize your time.
Strategy #2: Pitching businesses with poor review portfolios
Most businesses have poor review portfolios.
That's bad news for them but it's very good news for you. With the right approach you can attract clients to your business. But, only if it's handled properly.
To do that you'll need a few things:
1. An irresistible offer. Your offer can either be positive (Using this checklist can increase your positive reviews by 64 percent. This will increase your conversion rate by a projected 33 percent) or negative (This checklist shows you the customers who are more likely to write a negative review about you). The offer varies from niche to niche so you'll want to do a bit of research to identify the offer they'd be most interested in. This offer is ideally low risk, easy to use, and free of charge. Give value first before you ask for anything.
2. Authority and credibility. Prospects will dig into your background . They'll search for your social media profiles, look for media mentions - anything they can find to verify your identity. If there are any red flags they're gone forever so it's important to take care of any potential problems (i.e. negative reviews about your business) first.
3. A sales funnel. Your irresistible offer should lead clients to the next step in your sales process. Is that an email autoresponder series? A free trial? Download or free consultation? Build the next steps into your irresistible offer.
Okay, you're all set.
It's time to pitch new clients. Choose an industry or vertical (e.g. restaurants, doctors, attorneys, etc.) to target first. Next, make a list of the review sites your prospects frequent (e.g. Yelp, Avvo for lawyers, ZocDoc for healthcare, full list here: etc.). Spend some time browsing through these sites searching for potential prospects.
You're looking for prospects who:
A poor review portfolio could be:
Your irresistible offer should be tailored to the specific problem you're trying to solve. It also needs to be positioned properly so prospects understand the seriousness of their problem. Don't manufacturer doom and gloom. Instead, do your best to be upfront and candid with prospects.
Give them a clear idea on the consequences and problems they face.
You'll want to do some digging to find their email address. Free browser plugins like Clearbit Connect makes it easy to find an email address for each of the prospects in your list.
Next, craft your pitch. You'll want to make sure your email meets the following criteria:
Your pitch could be a little something like this.
My name is Andrew McDermott, I’m the co-founder of ABC corp. I noticed that your negative reviews from unhappy customers increased by 40 percent. I’ve got a free checklist your staff can use to reduce negative reviews by 90 percent. It’s free and there’s no opt-in required.
Your pitch could be a little something like this.
My name is Andrew McDermott. I’m the co-founder of ABC corp. I noticed your Yelp profile has received 40 negative reviews in the last month. Those negative reviews are costing you customers. I have a free tool you can use to identify customers who are about to write a negative review about you. You can also use this tool to reduce the damage from these reviews.
It won’t cost you a dime.
Your irresistible offer could be anything. As long as it solves a client's problem it should work! Once prospects respond, you make good on your irresistible offer. Do your best to underpromise and overdeliver.
Once they've shown interest you craft a follow up offer, like this:
I’m really glad you were able to use our free tool to catch those negative reviews! It’s awesome that your customers were so open with you. I noticed that you haven’t responded to the negative reviews on Yelp. I’ve got this template kit you can use to reach out to these customers.
Other clients used these templates to turn a 1 star review into a 5 star review. That’s free as well.
You'll want to set a precedent for your relationship (i.e. give three times more than you take). This quickly teaches prospects that (a.) you know their business (b.) you're focused on results and (c.) you're trustworthy because you deliver results consistently.
Strategy #3: Use email advertising as a prospecting tool
The best traffic you can get comes from other people's email lists.
It's an excellent way to rapidly build an email list and a simple way to generate sales and revenue. It's also a great way to lower your cost per lead.
It's pretty straightforward.
You pay to advertise on other people's email lists. The more relevant your offer to the list you're targeting, the easier it is to generate traffic, leads and sales.
It's not like businesses are offering up their lists to anyone are they? No, but they're willing to share access to their list if you go through the right channels.
Nextmark has a database of 60,000 mailing lists, each with their own subscriber counts. If you know the niche or segment you're looking to target you're ready to get started. Let's say we're looking for more review management clients in the ecommerce niche.
Are there any mailing lists we can access? A quick search shows there are quite a few lists focusing on ecommerce exclusively.
Click through for more details and you get more detailed info. The size of the list, formats or channels (e.g. phone, email or mailing lists) and more. You'll want to save the mailing lists you're interested in. Reach out to Nextmark to get the process started when you have a finalized listing of mailing lists you want.
Get detailed information on the ad formats that are allowed for each list. Then create an ad that's appropriate for each. Test each source to identify winners then increase your spending as needed.
You'll want to lead with an irresistible offer. Your irresistible offer should accomplish several things:
Once you've identified a winner (A quality source that delivers quality traffic) you can ramp up your spending. It's important to note that you'll need to have a marketing funnel that's ready to go (attraction + conversion + consumption).
The more prepared you are the better your ads will perform.
You'll still need to be involved, at first. You'll want to make sure your prospecting system is stable, healthy and working as intended. You can remove yourself completely once you're comfortable you know what works. Here's the amazing part.
These strategies give you leverage.
With a single message you're able to reach thousands, possibly millions of people. Your prospecting system makes it easy to find clients for your review management business.
Prospecting doesn't have to be an emotional rollercoaster
Your business should be filled to overflowing with leads. You should have a steady supply of amazing and responsive clients.
It's yours, with the right strategy.
Your prospecting shouldn't depend on you. It's should depend on a system. With the right system and a clear strategy your pipeline will be full to bursting. When a client finally comes along, they'll notice your confidence. Your ability to get things done. They'll pay premium pricing and fight for your attention, doing their best to earn your business. Consistent leads without the ups and downs.