Leads and sales. If you’re an entrepreneur, that’s what you should be focused on. To generate a profit, you need revenue. To generate consistent revenue, you need a consistent influx of qualified leads. And as you acquire those leads, you need a reliable process for converting those leads into paying clients.
A lot of early-stage entrepreneurs forget this. They spend time perfecting their website, designing their business card, attending networking events, posting on social media, and so on. When several weeks (maybe even months!) go by without generating any revenue, they start to panic. They start thinking that maybe this “entrepreneurship thing” isn’t for them. Sound familiar?
If you can relate to this to an extent, allow me to give you some clarity. What your business is likely missing is a client acquisition system. More specifically, what you need is a reliable and scalable process for generating demand for your business, acquiring qualified leads, and converting those leads into sales.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take a ton of work to create a client acquisition system. And once you have a system works, you can use the revenue generated from real sales to pay for all the other things your business needs to continue growing, including setting up your website.
In fact, I recently partnered with someone to launch a new business offering sales funnel development services for entrepreneurs. By focusing on the 4 keys I’m about to share with you, we were able to secure a handful of clients and referral partners before we even had a website for our business. Should we have a website? Of course, we should, and we’re going to pay for it using revenue received from real clients. Setting up a website wasn’t our first priority. Validating our business idea and getting clients was.
Whether you’re launching a new business or you’re struggling to grow your existing one, here are the 4 things you need to focus on to start generating new leads and sales on a consistent basis:
1. A Specific Target Market
Don’t make the mistake of falling in love with your product or service. If you’re going to fall in love with something, fall in love with the people you want to serve. Fall in love with a specific target market.
Choose a target market that you understand well and enjoy working with. Who are your ideal clients? Identify their demographics (age, gender, location, income, etc.), and more importantly, what they want to accomplish and which part of that journey they need help with.
The needs of your target market will likely evolve, sparking new ideas for products and services that can help them. And this is exactly why choosing your target market is the first step in this process. Once you know who you want to help, you can create (or find) products and services that they will happily pay for.
When my business partner and I chose the target market we wanted to serve, we got on the phone with them and asked them what they needed help with. Based on the challenges that the overwhelming majority of the people we spoke with were facing, we created a service to help them solve those challenges. In less than 20 phone calls with members of our target market, the idea for our new business was born.
2. A Compelling Offer
Once you know who your target market is, your next step is to create (or find) a product or service that helps them solve a specific problem or achieve a specific result. Their reaction to your offer should be “Yes, that is EXACTLY what I need right now!”. If you’re not getting that reaction when you talk to your target market about your offer, your offer isn’t compelling enough.
Just because you know that your offer can help your clients get the result they want doesn’t mean that they do. Positioning is critical. When you present your offer, shine the spotlight on the problem it solves or the result it helps them achieve, and why that is beneficial to them.
If you’re selling an online course, for example, you should know that your clients aren’t actually buying your course. What they’re buying is the promise of the result that your course will teach them to achieve. The information in your course is not what excites them. The thought of applying that information and achieving a transformation is.
“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.”
- Theodore Levitt, Professor at Harvard Business School
3. A Traffic Strategy
Once you know exactly who your target market is and you have a compelling offer that you know will help them get the result they want, it’s time to build a bridge that connects your business to your target market. That bridge is your traffic strategy. It’s how you will get in front of your target audience and generate awareness for your business.
The mistake that a lot of entrepreneurs make at this stage is trying to utilize multiple traffic sources all at once. Instead of picking one primary traffic strategy to focus on before adding others, they go after multiple traffic sources simultaneously. Like a juggler with too many balls in the air at once, this approach usually fails.
The simple solution is to pick one primary traffic source that can supply you with enough leads to grow your business. Choose a pond to fish in that you know your target audience swims in. They might be on Facebook. They might be watching videos on YouTube. They might be searching for articles using Google. In fact, they might be doing all of these things. But that doesn’t mean that you should promote your business on all of these platforms all at once.
There is no right or wrong way to generate traffic. If you like writing and you have the time to do it, consider blogging. If you have a decent marketing budget, consider paid advertising. The point is to pick a traffic source that makes sense for your business based on your strengths and available resources and to focus on making it profitable before you tackle other traffic sources.
4. A Sales Process
The final piece of a client acquisition system is a sales process. You need a reliable process for converting people who have become aware of your business (thanks to your traffic source) into leads and sales.
How you sell depends on what you sell and what you charge, so use your best judgement here. For lower priced offers (ie. a few hundred dollars or less), sending prospects directly to a sales page or offering them a free trial tends to work well. For higher priced offers (especially those priced at a few thousand dollars or more), I recommend getting on the phone with your prospects.
Regardless of your price point, you need to a way to convert your target audience into leads before you can convert them into clients. To accomplish this, offer your target audience something that helps and/or educates them in exchange for their contact information. Offering downloadable checklists, worksheets, case studies, training videos, and webinars are just a few examples of commonly used methods for acquiring a lead.
When you give your target audience something that helps them before you try to sell something to them, they are more likely to purchase from you because you’ve built some trust by helping them upfront. After they consume your free resource, guide them through your sales process.
One Client Acquisition System That Works Can Change Your Business
In 2016 I had the privilege of interviewing Nicholas Kusmich, the world’s leading Facebook Advertising expert, for my podcast. When I asked him about the specific challenges that entrepreneurs face, one of his responses was a distraction.
According to Kusmich, most entrepreneurs want to grow their business but they get distracted by different strategies and tactics that they see other entrepreneurs implementing. They start implementing a strategy to grow their business, and instead of seeing it through to completion they abandon it midway to pursue some other strategy or tactic that captures their attention. This pattern continues, and all these entrepreneurs have to show for their time and effort is a failing business and a trail of unfinished projects and initiatives.
To overcome distraction, you need to have the discipline to stay focused. There are countless strategies you can use to grow your business. You don’t need to implement all of them. Focus on the 4 keys I’ve shared with you in this article. Build a client acquisition system that generates consistent leads and sales. One client acquisition system that works can completely change the trajectory of your business.
Tyler Basu is the Content Manager for Thinkific, the all-in-one platform for creating and selling online courses. When he’s not creating helpful content and resources for online course creators, you can find him writing articles and interviewing entrepreneurs for Lifestyle Business Magazine and other publications.