BusinessEconomic DevelopmentHow To Build A Client-Generation Process For Your Service-Based Business

Founding partner of CEO Advisory Guru, LLC. Best-selling author of The Private Equity Playbook, The Exit-Strategy Playbook & Empire Builder.

No matter what industry you’re in, figuring out how to consistently grow and scale your business is crucial for success. But determining the best way to do this isn’t always easy, especially if you’re a solopreneur or a startup in a service industry.

Should you hire a salesperson to help you find prospects? Try to do it yourself? If you go the DIY route, what’s the best strategy for lead generation, especially if you don’t have sales experience? These questions loom especially large if you are what I call a “farmer” (someone who is good at nurturing long-term relationships with customers once those customers have been acquired) but not a “hunter” (someone who is good at bringing in customers in the first place).

If you’ve been asking yourself questions like these, I have good news: There is a solid strategy you can use to generate leads and keep your pipeline of prospective customers full. And when you master this strategy, you’ll be able to generate the volume you need to keep your business growing, scaling and thriving.


Go Where Your Target Market Is

It’s always possible to outsource lead generation by paying someone else to give you leads. However, it’s far better—at least, in my opinion—to do it yourself. That way, you can save money and sustainably generate volume consistently.

The first step is to determine where your prospective customers are. Think about what type of consumer you’re trying to reach with your business, and then think about what social media platforms that person uses. For example, my coaching business is B2B, so my prospective clients are all on LinkedIn. Some of my clients, though, are B2C, and their customers hang out on Instagram and Facebook.

Once you’ve determined where your target is, establish a presence on that forum. For example, let’s say you realize your target market is on LinkedIn. Great! Now you know you need to spend some time creating a great LinkedIn profile. Make sure your LinkedIn profile uses relevant keywords, and use your headline to highlight your specialties and unique value proposition. Don’t stop there: Make sure your About section tells a compelling story; after reading it, your target audience should feel like you understand them and have the ability to help them overcome their pain points and achieve their goals. Finally, make sure your profile picture and banner are engaging.


Utilize Tractor Beams

Building a great profile is just the beginning. You also need to post consistently. Focus on discussing your audience’s problems and how you can help solve them. By engaging in this way, your posts essentially serve as tractor beams that start to draw prospects toward you.

Another great tractor beam? Podcasts. After personally appearing on over 150, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt they are invaluable for establishing credibility and boosting your thought leadership. Remember the adage that people do business with people they know, like and trust? Well, podcasts are a great way to build that all-important rapport.

I use to search for podcasts I might be a good fit for, and you can do the same. Pick your areas of expertise and search for all the podcasts that cover those topics. Once you’ve done that, compile a list of 100 podcasts that might be a good fit. Then, reach out to 10 per week and start booking appearances.

Podcasts are especially valuable as tractor beams because they never go away. And each time you appear on one, you tap into prospective audiences you might otherwise never have reached. You can also repurpose the content from a podcast by creating short videos to share on social media, which will help you build a library of demonstrable expertise so you stay top of mind for your target market.


Develop Content In Layers

I think of social media and podcasts as little buoys floating around in the ocean. Every so often, someone bumps into one of my buoys because they see one of my posts or hear one of my podcasts. If they like what they see or hear, they might dig a little deeper by listening to another podcast or looking up my website. Eventually, they may reach out to me directly, which helps my pipeline stay full.

If you want to be a good hunter, I recommend developing content in layers. That means making your offerings accessible to people at various price points. Podcasts and LinkedIn posts, for example, are free. They give people value without costing them anything. I also have three bestselling books. For a very small investment, people can buy them and learn about private equity, exits and building empires—three of my specialties.

I also put on seminars a few times each year. They cost more than my books, of course, but they’re still very accessible for people who want to do a more intensive dive into my offerings. And then, for those who truly want to engage and want customized, bespoke help, I offer one-on-one coaching. By layering your offerings this way, you create an ecosystem to draw prospective clients in and keep them by giving them different price points where they can engage with you.


If You Build It, They Will Come

There are lots of businesses out there that can help with lead generation. However, by showing your target market, you’re a credible expert. You can build a sustainable sales pipeline to bring consistent business your way.

So, take the time to establish yourself as a subject matter expert. Write helpful posts, appear on podcasts and layer your offerings. Use all of those techniques to build your presence, and pretty soon, you will have transformed yourself into the bridge your prospects will cross to reach the promised land.


Article courtesy of Forbes.