It was a more difficult undertaking before digital media. As human beings, we don't scale so well. And many go out on their own to do more of the kind of work they love doing: design, communications, etc. -- sales being a necessary aspect.
Yes, we're all selling all the time. However, we generally suck at selling ourselves. (there are exception to every statement)
One of the best ways to build a steady stream of leads without burning out on a 24/7 day, is to provide content and deliver work that are both so valuable your customers become your main source of referrals.
That's what some call building momentum and is worth in gold what you put into making clients happy with your work.
John Jantsch has written a book that is right off his practice and experience: The Referral Engine, where he shares plenty of useful information on learning to market your business by using many of the tools we've come to use online to extend your networking activities.
I just finished the book and I can tell you it's a treasure trove of tips that will help you get organized and become systematic in your approach to generating leads. You'll take the scary part out and start to enjoy your chosen profession and work again.
A few things that caught my eye, which John practices in his business, are:
- focus on your key story and don't be afraid to tell it with passion
- have a point of differentiation -- think of Duct Tape Marketing, memorable, right?
- learn about what triggers a referral
- be social as a way to be found
- create a convergence plan
- build a strategic partner network
There is much more, of course. Including how you can integrate many of the tools available today to scale your resources. I especially appreciate the idea of building a strategic partner network. It helps spread the wealth. The book will change the way you look at business development -- and that is good.
The best part is that it's all actionable and will feel natural for any kind of person -- introverted, extroverted, somewhere in between. Are you easy? He covers the answer to that question, too. Get the book and find out.
What is your main source of leads today? What would you like it to be in the next 6-8 months?
[Disclosure: although I forgot I had already asked John where he was from a little earlier in the evening when we met last year, he graciously gave me the answer again and went ahead and sent me an advance copy of The Referral Engine anyway. This review and recommendation is based upon the quality of the material - and not on how I obtained it.]
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.