It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, lead generation and prospecting is essential for business survival. Without generating a list of leads, qualifying them, and moving them further in the sale process will leave your business without income. That’s why it’s so important to know and understand the importance of lead generation and ways to increase leads. At the end of the day, you are running your business contingent on your customers’ desires. If it weren’t for your customers, you wouldn’t be in operation, doing what you love and serving the community. First, it’s important to know the difference between leads and prospects and how to pursue them differently.


Leads are defined as any potential customer who shows some interest in your company. This can be someone who signs up for an email newsletter, submits a contact form, visits your website, follows you on social media, or something similar. There’s a plethora of actions they can take towards your business. However, these leads become prospects when they have been qualified as an “ideal” customer. They fit the designated customer profile of who you are targeting, and would consider buying from you. In order to create long lead lists, implement the following 5 ways to increase leads.


Know Your Product or Service

You may be wondering why this is the first tactic—it may seem obvious. Of course you should know your product or service, or why are you in business? However, this can sometimes be overlooked, and not fully knowing your product like the back of your hand can be detrimental for sales. If you can’t explain why your product is 1.) different from your competitors 2.) valuable to your customer’s life and 3.) truly unique—then go home.


Having deep product knowledge is the foundation for informing and persuading leads that your product is something they need or want. If you can’t explain or show them why your product  doesn’t solve their biggest problem, you’ve already lost the sale. Any future attempt to engage them is in vain, because you’ve lost the credibility and authority to speak.


Create a Prospect Profile

First, create an ideal prospect profile. What type of persona will be most likely to purchase from you? You’ll have to identify what characteristics make up your most interested and profitable customer. The first step is to analyze your database of past and current clients. From your database, rank your client list from most profitable to least profitable. Take note of your top 10% most and least profitable clientele. Then, generate a list of your top 5 and worst 5 customers. Then, draw comparisons between them. If you are serving B2C, then compare demographic, geographic, psychographic and behavioral characteristics. If you are serving B2B, analyze the industry the company is in, what they offer, company size, company financials, location, and more.


For example, if you’re wondering how to generate leads in real estate, your customer profile (most profitable) could be couples in high income brackets that live within 100 miles of you. They may be 25-40 years old looking for more space as they grow their family.


If you’re a digital marketer outsourcing your services to companies, then maybe your best customers are companies in the consumer-goods industry that make a minimum of $100 million a year in net income located in the same state or province as you.


With this information, you will want to focus your marketing and prospecting efforts on this group of people or type of companies.


In identifying your ideal customer profile, it’s okay to identify leads as someone who is not a good fit for your product or service. That’s because you don’t want to be spending the majority of your lead generation time on contacts that aren’t interested enough to buy from you. This is why the ideal prospect profile is so important. It allows you as a business owner or entrepreneur to identify and then prioritize the most attractive leads. Identifying the top 5 best and worst clients you’ve had in the past can help you identify characteristics of leads you should focus on.


Identify Ways to Meet Your Ideal Client

Prospecting and lead generation take a lot of time. Thus, you’ll want to be as efficient as possible. That’s why the first step is creating an ideal customer profile, and then identifying where you can find them.


Are your best (most profitable) customers found at industry trade shows? Are they usually a referral from an existing client? Do they attend informational workshops and events? Depending on the answer, that’s where you’ll want to hang out and establish a presence.


Additionally, determine their digital presence. What social platform are they using and what publications or online groups are they frequenting. If you’re in the B2B space, maybe most of your ideal clients spend time on LinkedIn, and that’s where you’ll want to spend more time. Spending time in the venues your customers are in will better help you determine their pain points as well.


Learn and Address Lead Pain Points

When you have identified your ideal customer and their place of hang out, determine what their main pain points are. Be able to articulate how your product and service can address those pain points. Clients will be more engaged with your brand and more willing to purchase from you if they feel you can truly solve their problem and make their life easier.


Block Out Time

Prospecting and lead generation is arguably one of the greatest challenges in running your business and staying alive. Therefore, it can be easy to put it off or put it on the bottom of the to do list. At Virtudesk, we recommend that you don’t do this! In order to witness a truly fruitful lead list, devote a certain amount of time every day to finding and qualifying leads.


This can be as little as 15 minutes a day to 2 hours a day. Pick a certain time of the day to devote to lead generation, and do it every day. Use tools like Clockify or Google Calendar to hold yourself accountable. Soon, you will see your lead list growing.


Following the tactics above can ensure you get more leads. Look out for Part 2 on “How to Increase Leads” next week. In the meantime, here are some more tips and techniques to improve lead generation.


If you want to devote more time to prospecting, but don’t have the bandwidth, consider hiring a virtual assistant. Virtudesk offers Prospecting virtual assistants that can help you with lead processing, outbound calling, client relationship management, and more.