Meet John. John set up a meeting to discuss why his custom applications and integration business was getting such poor results with lead generation. “After all,” he explained as we sat down at the conference table, “we are on every social network our guys could find.” John went on to describe, in somewhat dizzying detail, the extent of his efforts and how they were in total SEO/SEM compliance.
While technically sophisticated and even precise, the net result of the marketing efforts produced little in the way of new business leads. In essence, John was confusing activity with progress. I asked him if we could shift gears and talk about what had actually worked.
I asked John what sporting event he had seen recently and he said he loved watching pool tournaments on cable. When pressed to describe what made that so much fun, he replied that he loved the angles, the trajectories, and essentially the physics lessons in every shot. The discussion we had next about how good pool players were like good business developers helped him not only improve his business lead generation, but helped him appreciate one of his favorite pastimes on a much richer and more strategic level, as well. The systemic changes initiated in that conversation produced effective lead generation in less than 18 days. It’s gratifying to see how adding a strategic focus to a high level of outbound marketing can lead to measurable business results. Take this lesson into your business and watch the frequency of your “lucky breaks” improve.
Your Steps to Success
Professional pool players excel not because of physical power or even sharp accuracy, but because they think a few moves ahead. Each shot that’s lined up after the break is made with careful consideration as to where it leaves the cue ball and how that sets up for the next shot, either for that player or his opponent. Business development is at its best when it is thought of as a series of carefully planned, well-targeted steps, also. Here are some key points on which to check your business development process from this perspective.
- How well are you targeting your marketing? You ought to be able to describe your hoped for outcome as simply and accurately as “six ball, corner pocket.”
- Are you being deliberate with your marketing? When times get tough, undisciplined business development efforts sometimes get cranked up and it’s like hitting a cluster of colored balls hard hoping that one goes in. You can just as easily drive someone on the brink of working with you over the edge and away with desperate moves like this.
- Think in terms of a series of steps, so a prospect has a chance to relate. In every industry where I’ve worked, and service businesses in particular, people want to do business with those they know, like, and trust. While you can “hit it off” with someone, a higher percentage approach is to share something of value over a series of contact points, like sinking one ball after another in a pool game.