Sometimes a theme just sort of presents itself over and over again. And this week’s article is no exception.
There are really two issues here that we can cover.
The first involves lead generation for your business. The second is broader in scope, and covers the message you “send out” to the marketplace.
For this article, I’m going to focus on lead generation
In the past two weeks, I’ve been invited to join three different local BNI (Business Networking International) chapters. The people extending the invite are nice enough, don’t get me wrong. But my answer in each instance was “no thank you.”
Now, I’ll ask this question to you: why do you think I turned down each invitation?
I’ll give you hint, and it’s only partially based on prior experience.
Online vs. Offline Marketing
Just think about this article headline.
The basis of any “leads group” (think chamber of commerce) or “lead exchange” service (BNI) involves the basic premise that folks in the group get to know you, your service, and then are able to refer business to you. Sounds simple enough right?
And in theory, it’s a good idea.
Look, we all know that a solid referral is the easiest source of new business, because the folks who get your name and number are “presold” on you and your service.
That’s the idea, anyway.
For example, Bill refers you to Sally Sue, talks you up, says how awesome you are, yada yada. And then Bill says “hey Mike, give Sally Sue a call.” And you do.
And nine times out of ten it’s a homerun for you.
But here’s the basic problem with BNI, and just about any “leads group.”
The person referring you has to KNOW your business. They have to understand who your target customer/client/patient is. Quite frankly, they have to give a damn about you and your service. That’s the hidden premise behind “givers gain.”
But what’s the reality?
That’s the issue at hand…
The Truth About Most Lead Groups
For starters, BNI (and most lead groups) are more about appearance than reality. You either have to bring “leads” on a regular basis to maintain “membership,” or you feel compelled to bring “leads” in order to receive leads in return.
So where’s the focus?
I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s NOT on you and your business.
Go ask around. I dare you to…
Here’s what you’ll find, more often than not. Crappy leads. Leads that aren’t “leads” at all. One step (barely removed) from a cold call. Leads that aren’t properly targeted to benefit you. Or your business.
Now, the word on the street is, every week when you give your 30 second or 60 second “elevator speech” you’re supposed to give a good overview of what you want, the type of referrals you’re looking for, that sort of thing.
Each and every week you meet to build relationship and to “educate” your “sales team.” At least, that’s the idea.
Here’s the reality…
Most folks don’t listen to what you’re saying. What you need. Who you’re looking to meet to build your business.
One time, we actually went around the room and had to give the 60 second intro of other folks in the room. You know, instead of giving your own talk, giving Billy’s or Sally Sue’s intro.
Know how folks in my group did? Can you guess? Try one out of ten got it right.
What does that tell you?
So here’s the point. You can either rely on scattered and sketchy referrals to build your business, or take the marketing “bull by the horns” and actually OWN your marketing message, channel, and lead flow.
I’ll leave the choice up to you.
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