Your business development or sales team starts speaking with businesses they see as being a good fit based on your offering or experience, and they get a couple of meetings booked in. Brimming with enthusiasm they’re eager to share the news about the meeting they have set-up, only to be met with the phrase we all know too well “I only want to meet them if they’re actively in the market for a [insert your product / service / offering here]”.
Let’s play out this scenario…
Fred has recently set up his Tinder/Bumble/Hinge (insert other platforms we’re not up with the play on) profile and is ready to get out there and find his ‘perfect match’. He has a list of qualities he is looking for:
- Has a stable job
And, most importantly, is looking to get married within the next two weeks.
You might agree that Fred’s expectations are a little unrealistic. Chances are he won’t find anyone that is willing to get married in two weeks to someone they barely know.
Settle down Fred, you need to be patient!
And remember that before you pop the big question, you have some work to put in.
This is effectively the same principle of “I only want to meet them if they’re actively in the market for a [insert your product / service / offering here]”.
To win new business, much like finding your ‘soul mate’ there is a journey you have to embark on.
Lead generation v. Dating
(1) Your eyes meet across the room (someone downloads your content or opens your newsletter)
You’ve spotted your ‘one true love’ on an app or in a spin class at your gym. You believe your love is meant to be, so you decide to strike up a conversation.
Likewise, a potential prospect might have seen one of your newsletters, some of your content, an events, a social campaigns or has previously heard of you; either way there is some form of initial contact.
(2) Social media stalking (online research)
Before progressing the relationship, you want to go away and do some ‘hard-core’ research, or as it’s more commonly known some good old social media stalking.
The same way that Fred might want to rush away and delete a few embarrassing pictures on Instagram from his summer trip to Ibiza ‘with the lads’, you also want to pay close attention to your online presence. You need to ensure you’re providing prospects with content that won’t bore them to sleep and that helps them better understand what you’re all about.
A sure bet is that Fred’s ‘new love’ will be quick to track down his ‘past loves’ and make judgements and comparisons on what they’re like. (Note: We’re not encouraging this type of behaviour, endorsing it, or believe that it is healthy).
But … so will your prospects, who else uses this platform or service? How are they similar to my business? What challenges did it help them solve? Are those challenges similar to mine?
(3) Starting to fall (showing interest)
They’ve passed your thorough online investigation and you’ve gone on a few dates. Everything is going great, there are butterflies every time you see each other and they even laugh at your bad jokes. There is clearly some interest and you are keen to see where this goes.
Similarly, your prospect likes the look of you, thinks you’ve done some interesting stuff and is keen to learn more about you and how you could help them with their challenges.
(4) Putting on the brakes (hesitation and market comparison)
Uh oh. This is the stage where things can get a little awkward. Suddenly you’re not so sure this person you’ve been dating is the person you always dreamed of. Maybe they have a really annoying habit or a weird collection of rubber duckies – either way you are beginning to have some doubts.
Same thing happens with prospects, before they get serious with you they’ll want to make sure you’re going to get them the results they want. They might have some doubts and insecurities, they may even be looking elsewhere … but your job is to provide them with reassuring information at the time they need it most.
(5) Popping the question (appointment or commitment)
Phew, you’ve made it past the blip. You’ve decided to look past their flaws, and instead focus on all their great attributes.
Remember, just because you are at the commitment stage it doesn’t mean all the work is over, you still need to keep the spark alive!
Your prospect decides you are the one they want to do business with. You are both over the moon and can’t wait to get things going. This is your time to shine and show them why they made the right decision choosing you. Now there needs to be a smooth handover to account teams or implementation experts and you need to deliver amazing results that help to keep the fireworks going.
So… what’s the point we’re trying to make?
New business is much like dating – it takes time, research and commitment. You wouldn’t commit to spending the rest of your life with someone after just one date, you take your time to court them, build a relationship and develop trust.
In new business, becoming known to your prospect is only the first step. You then need to start to understand their challenges and how you could help them solve these.
Next time you go to say, or hear someone say “I only want to meet them if they’re actively in the market for [insert your product / service / offering here]” consider whether you would only go on a date with someone if you knew they wanted to marry you within the next two weeks.
Looking for a fresh approach to lead generation?
We’re a global business development and B2B marketing agency.
We specialise in starting and nurturing relationships between leading B2B businesses and their dream clients – generating quality MQLs and converting them into SQLs.
How? With distinctive, carefully curated engagement campaigns, designed to get prospects thinking about their challenges in exciting new way, and placing you at the top of list when they’re ready to act.
We have a simple test for our work. Is it distinctive? The right angle, landing at the right time, presented in a way that demands attention. Anything less is ordinary and expected. And your prospects aren’t interested in either.
We’d love to chat if you’re looking for fresh ideas on how to turbo charge your marketing and lead generation programme, drop us a note here.