Lead Generation – Easiest When Built on Trust
So you have a great product, Congratulations! You have made it past the first hurdle in the world of business which is creating a product that is ready to go to market. The next step is now to do lead generation and sell that product, at a profit, to as many customers as possible. Sounds easy right? Before you answer, I am going to give you some tips and tricks below as to how you can make your lead generation efforts and sales process more efficient and at scale by focusing on building trust and relationships with your prospective customers.
Getting Started: Your First Sales
The first group of people most founders will focus on selling to first is their personal network. Founders will reach out to their friends, family, and existing business contacts to see if they are interested, and if they are lucky, they will get their first few sales with little effort. We also agree that you should start with this small network because it will allow you to refine your sales pitch over time.
After going through your personal, first degree network, then ask for referrals from your paying customers to see if they know anyone else they would be willing to do a warm introduction to that may be a good fit for your product. If you get lucky, you will continue to grow slowly until your first and second degree networks have been exhausted.
Next, many founders will then start to dabble in online digital advertising to try and get some new clients from outside their network. They will also try paid advertising on Google, Facebook, or Instagram, and spend time and resources on SEO and building up a large mailing list to send promotional offers to. They may end up seeing a positive return on investment, but they will also see a lower return on their advertising dollars than you did when you were reaching out to their first and second degree contacts. So what changed?
Trust: The Real Reason Your First Sales Were Easier And More Profitable
When you originally reached out to your first and second degree connections, you were probably talking with these clients either face to face, or on the phone. You had some sort of previous connection with them in the past, so there was no awkward feeling you get when doing a cold sales call or meeting someone for the first time. This connection that they had was an existing level of TRUST that you built up in previous interactions. Due to the existence of trust, you were able to openly have a conversation around the product or service you were trying to sell and did not need to waste any time building a relationship from scratch.
You Are Now Ready To Grow: Common Ways To Increase Lead Generation
One of the most common ways to expand your lead generation efforts is to hire a business development or sales rep. Finding someone who already has experience in selling products in your field as well as a large rolodex is certainly the number one option when it comes to hiring for this role. Due to their existing first and second degree connections from their previous experiences, as well as their industry expertise, they are able to quickly build trust with their existing rolodex. This allows them to find new customers and land a sale faster than if they were to reach out completely cold. Anyone with an existing rolodex is the quickest lead generation strategy possible, as if they are bringing their own personal first degree connections directly to you where trust already exists.
Another way to increase sales is by outsourcing your lead generation activities to a third party company. Although most likely less expensive than hiring someone full time, these leads can sometimes be lower quality. The reason these leads end up being lower is because the third party company sometimes does not have the same selling experience or passion that a full time employee may have. They normally are paid based on how many leads they get for your company vs. the quality of the lead or even if a sale does not occur. However, sometimes you can find high quality outsourced lead generation companies who will provide you with the high quality leads you are looking for. Often these are lead generation companies will focus in your specific industry, have contacts who they have worked with in the past, and can bring a level of expertise to a conversation that allows them to gain trust quickly. These companies can be thought of as brokers as well.
You also have an option to buy an existing mailing list. Where you may get lucky with a sale here or there, this method normally does not work well as you are starting off with purchasing someone’s email address vs. building their trust organically. This is not recommended, as there is normally a low return on investment in purchasing the list and if not used properly can hurt your domain and email reputation which would be detrimental to your brand.
So after you have tried everything above, I now want to introduce you to a rather new form of lead generation and sales where you are able to 1) Do it at scale and 2) Trust already exists naturally!
Influencer Marketing: How To Increase Lead Generation With Trust At Scale
So you have tried all of the standard options when it comes to increasing sales but it is not growing as fast as you would like. You are spending money on digital advertisements, and feel like you are not getting a solid return on your investment and sometimes feel like you are just throwing money away and not getting any new sales even though you are getting good click rates and views. Your sales rep has a good pipeline of contacts, but he only has so much time to respond to everyone in the pipeline effectively. So what do you do next?
One area that we promote at InfluenceLogic is introducing companies to the world of influencer marketing. If you are looking for an entire rundown of how performance based influencer marketing works, you can see an in depth article on how we do it here. But in the meantime I would like to show you why influencer marketing is the easiest way to scale your lead generation efforts and increase sales based on trust and how it can lead to the highest return on your investment if done properly.
For those new to influencer marketing, from the outside you would think it is no different than spending money on TV ads. You pay one lump sum of money up front for air time in front of an estimated audience with very little metrics available to then show the impact of your advertising dollars.
Instead, influencer marketing allows you to be able to reach a highly targeted audience that an influencer has spent time building rapport and trust with. This trust means that their subscriber base which can sometimes have millions of followers is highly engaged and can be a great fit for your brand to use for lead generation. In addition, influencers are normally willing to partner with brands that are relevant to their audience. If the influencer specializes in beauty supplies, and you sell guitars then it would not be a good fit for you or the influencer. However, if the influencer specializes in giving reviews and news of the hard rock industry, then you may be a good fit.
Influencer marketing allows you to target niche audiences that are already engaged and have trust with an influencer which helps provide you with a higher ROI. This also means that you are not spending money on larger audiences such as TV advertising where maybe only 10% of the audience would be considered an ideal customer for your product. When you pair this targeted audience with an influencer pitching your product means a higher conversion rate and higher ROI on your advertising dollars.
In addition, many influencers will work on a performance based model where you are only paying money on converted sales or a certain amount of views. This means that instead of paying high up front payments to the influencer, the influencer will only get paid if their video performs well for you. At InfluenceLogic we specialize in finding influencers that are the best fit for your brand and we do so on a performance based model. We also have all of the proper technology to be able to track exactly how many clicks and sales have sourced from your partnership with an influencer allowing you to see exactly where your money is being spent.
Build Trust And Look At Scaling Through Influencer Marketing
Lead Generation and Sales are much easier when your strategies are based around trust. Just like you hire an experienced sales rep with a large rolodex where trust already exists, influencers also have large networks built organically on trust which can sometimes be the hundreds of thousands and also millions. Instead of your sales rep needing to email or call contacts one by one, with one video an influencer can directly pitch your product or service to a large audience that has relevant interest to your brand.
The key is you need to focus on trust for solid lead generation strategies, and fortunately, influencers and creators have built their business models and followings via trust from the start: