Hey there Rainmaker, I hope you had a great weekend!
It’s Monday, which means that for today I’m taking a break from writing a book while you watch to open up the ol’ mailbox and answer your questions.
Remember, all you need to do for me to answer your question about business-building, marketing, selling, copywriting, life, whatever is send it on through to [email protected]. I’ll add your question to the queue and answer it in an upcoming issue!
Today we’re going to talk about how to do lead generation. Specifically, how to generate leads for a professional service business.
Including, a very important distinction in WHY your customers are coming to you, that makes all the difference in the world on how you build your lead generation program.
This is going to be some good stuff.
First though, I want to briefly talk about the weekend, and breaks. I mentioned Friday that by the time you got my email, I was at LEGOLAND in Kansas City with the kids.
I spend a ton of time with the family every week (most weeks I work 20-25 hours, spending the rest with the wife and kids). But this was the first time I’d taken a non-holiday 3-day weekend in a while. And the first road trip we’ve taken since the youngest (now 16 months) was born.
I let myself turn off business, with the exception of doing a bit of reading (the book Ask — highly recommended!), and occasionally glancing at (but not responding to) emails.
This cleared up a lot of space in my mind, and was really good for me.
In all our work to build our businesses and careers, it can be easy to get mired in the work. We don’t notice it, and we think we’re being productive. And even when we’re “not working” we’re often still working in our minds, if not with our bodies.
Take a few days, now and then, to stop. Get some space. Clear your head.
Our bodies and our brains do best with rest. Find a way to build time off into your schedule, and you will perform at a much higher level when you’re taking your time ON.
Okay, let’s talk about how to generate a ton of leads for your business!
Here’s today’s question…
Dear Mr. Furr,
My most pressing marketing/business need is lead generation for legal services, which I think is somewhat different from marketing physical products.
Albert S. Frank
Rosenbaum & Frank LLP
This is definitely a great question, and the answer can be hugely transformational to almost any business. Generating more leads is the first step to more customers, more sales, more revenue, and more profits. This is an ESSENTIAL skill for Rainmakers!
First, I want to address an assumption here…
In this question, I see one of the most common objections in regards to marketing advice, and one that’s almost always at least partly wrong. It’s in different words, but Albert essentially said, “But my business is different.”
(Albert is NOT alone in this — it’s probably the most prevalent thought virus in any industry or business that prevents business owners and marketers from having the highest possible success with their business growth initiatives.)
This is tricky. Because obviously legal services are different than, let’s say, Ginsu Knives. They fulfill a different need, they are a very different deliverable.
But at the same time, they both require a human being to go through a decision-making process in order to get them to buy.
And in fact, getting someone to buy requires the same process of…
— First getting and holding their attention…
— Then getting them interested in what you’re talking about…
— Then getting them desiring whatever it is you offer…
— And finally, helping them decide to take action to move forward with you.
And in fact, another process is exactly the same…
— You need to take them from knowing nothing about you or your business or your offer…
— To having some awareness…
— To taking some action effectively equivalent to raising their hand and letting you know they’re interested…
— To moving from aware and interested to actively engaged in the process of making a buying decision…
— To actually taking action to buy or do business with you.
These are parallel processes, and are universal between almost all businesses…
If you TRY to apply these (as opposed to trying to ignore them), you’ll find it almost impossible to find a business where some version of these processes is not relevant.
I’ve probably harped on this enough, but it’s important!
If you want a solution, you can’t have the attitude of “my business is different,” or you will be too quick to dismiss viable (and potentially lucrative) options.
That said, I think the pure fact that Albert reached out to me does say that he’s open to my options… Even if he’s still subject to some influence from the “my business is different” though virus that definitely flourishes in the legal and professional services industries.
Okay, let’s get on to lead generation — with the single-most important consideration you need to take into account BEFORE you do anything else…
There’s not one type of lead generation. There are at least TWO. And we’re going to hit on both today.
The two types of lead generation are PROACTIVE and RESPONSIVE.
— Proactive lead generation means what you think it does. You go out and generate the leads.
— Responsive lead generation is the opposite. You’re responding to an active inquiry.
— Someone has limited awareness your type of service exists, or why they’d need it — even if they’re a perfect fit for the service. Here you need a proactive lead generation system to go to them and create the awareness, interest, desire, and action.
— Someone has a problem, and types it into Google or opens up the yellow pages looking for a solution. Here you need a responsive lead generation system that acknowledges their awareness of and interest in a solution like yours, builds the desire for yours in particular, and drives action based on a compelling offer.
A business can generate leads with a proactive system, a reactive system, or both…
This is not either/or. An individual prospect or lead is only really going to need to go through one system. But your business can flourish with one, the other, or both.
And if you’re doing both, don’t think it’s necessarily twice as much work. The reactive system is mostly a subset of the proactive system. The proactive system just has the extra two steps of building awareness and interest… Then just about 100% of the tools to drive desire and action can be used interchangeably between both.
So… What does a reactive lead generation system look like?
I’m going to speak in strategy and principles, not ground-level tactics. Because the strategy and principles are what are most universal between all businesses, including legal services.
And we’re going to work backwards, starting with the action mechanism — the offer.
It starts with a question…
If someone is a perfect fit for your product or service, what’s the easiest way for them to get started?
Now I’m going to use the legal services as an example — you take a minute to think about how to apply this to your business.
A great example for the legal services business would be a 15-minute quick-consult call. This would be a phone call specifically designed to figure out whether or not this person would be a fit for you, your products and services.
Let’s say you specialize in business law. The first 10 minutes of the call could be a set of questions about their business, and the final 5 an explanation of how your legal services would fit (or not!).
Or divorce law. The 15-minute call would start with 10 minutes about their situation, the last 5 about how your services would fit (again, or not!).
You get the point.
Ideally, you’re going to offer this free. Or for a nominal, refundable fee just to screen folks based on how serious they are about finding a solution.
If they’re willing to take you up on this 15-minute quick-consult call, they’re a very warm lead for paying you for your services. This is them taking ACTION.
But before they take action, they need to have DESIRE.
Again, we’re walking backwards. What do you need to do to give a lead the desire to contact you for that consultation?
Basically, they need to know that you offer a solution to their problems or challenges — that you can help them achieve their needs, wants, and desires. But it’s not enough to simply promise it — you need to prove it.
Again, we’re talking about a REACTIVE system. Let’s say you’re offering bankruptcy law services. You run a yellow pages or Google ad for people searching for bankruptcy lawyers.
In this ad, you might offer a “Free 15-minute quick-consult with a bankruptcy lawyer.”
That says a lot, but you can say more. Here’s where you create desire and belief.
In your phone book ad or on your landing page, you might say, “There are 5 strategies that apply in 95% of bankruptcy cases. In 15 minutes, I can tell you which (if any) are right for your situation. We’ve helped 238 clients handle their bankruptcies (or avoid them) in the last two years. Here’s what some of our clients have said: [great testimonials].”
Remember, we’re meeting someone who is aware of their need for bankruptcy legal help, and interested in finding a solution with a reactive system for moving them toward us.
This makes a believable promise and establishes multiple types of proof and credibility that will make the ideal prospect desire to work with us.
Then we go back to that 15-minute quick-consult offer to get them to take action.
Wow! We’re running long… Let’s move forward, acknowledging that entire books could be written on variations of what I’ve just shared…
Now here’s what a proactive lead generation system looks like…
First off, you need to understand that you still need an offer to get them to take action. Preferably, one similar to what’s in the reactive lead generation system — something with low-to-zero risk, low-to-zero obligation, and one that costs them nothing or just a nominal fee.
Second, you need a compelling presentation of your offer that creates believability in what you have to offer, with proof and credibility to support your promises. And those promises should speak directly to a need, want, desire, problem, or challenge your prospect already has in place.
The trick with a proactive lead generation system is that if you just still all of this in front of a prospect who is not actively searching for a solution like that you provide, they will not be interested at all, and will not pay you any attention. And so your efforts will fall flat.
So, let’s continue to work backwards.
And here’s where we get into education-based marketing.
If your product or service solves a problem that your prospective customers don’t yet know they have, you need to make them aware of that problem and interested in a solution.
In order to do this, you need to build an emotional and rational case not just for YOUR product or service, but for your entire category of product or service.
Bad news: this is so much harder than reactively offering a solution only to prospects who are searching for one.
Good news: this is so much more lucrative than reactively offering a solution only to prospects who are searching for one.
Marketers who can do this make the really big bucks. Because it creates markets where none existed.
So how do you do this? Well, you should work backwards. You know what problem or challenge your product or service solves.
Why should the prospect care that that problem or challenge is solved? Why is that important to them? What difference will it make in their lives to have it solved — in light of the fact that it’s NOT interrupting them enough today to make them search for a solution?
These are big questions, and hard to provide answers to.
Let’s try though, in the context of business law. I don’t think most small-but-growing businesses have an active relationship with lawyers. Especially bootstrap businesses that are started without loans or investors.
And yet, they may benefit greatly from having a lawyer on retainer, who they can call on for any variety of business needs.
What I’d do if I were proactively going after these folks for legal services, is I’d make a list of all the pitfalls a business can face where having legal advice would be especially beneficial. And I’d put together a report that covered these topics. Something like “The 38 Biggest Legal Dangers To Business Under $10 Million.”
It would feature topics like…
— 2 legal surprises you want to avoid when hiring employees, and 4 situations where firing someone can come back to bite (hard!)
— 7 tax-saving secrets to use in your business today
— The single-most important sentence you should put in any important business letter or agreement
And so on…
Individually, they may be more or less compelling to the entrepreneur or business owner. But together, I’d aim to make these as compelling as possible to as wide a swath of ideal clients as possible.
How would I use this report?
Simple. I’d find a way to contact these ideal prospects and offer them the report and NOT my products or services. I’d use the education-based marketing to make them aware of the many needs they may have for a service like mine, and interested in finding a solution.
And this is important! I’d make sure that in that report, I included that offer and copy I had for the reactive lead generation system, offering that free 15-minute quick-consult.
For the proactive system, I’d spend all my early marketing dollars NOT advertising my brand or services. But instead, advertising the value they’d get from the report itself.
Again, books could be written, but this is one of my longest posts in a long time…
Depending on a prospective group of customer’s awareness of their own needs for a product or service you offer (and this can be different for different groups of customers, or different lines of products or services in your business)… You may need to use a proactive or a reactive system to turn them into hot leads for your offerings.
Your business will actually do best, most likely, if you do some combination of reactive AND proactive systems…
And a really sophisticated marketer will build multiple funnels around multiple markets, products, and services to meet both aware and unaware prospects where they are at in terms of awareness, and convert them into a lead from there.
That’s all I have time for today, but if you want more let me know at [email protected].
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets