1. Educate potential clients about how to solve their problems in general. They will hire you as the proven expert to specifically apply your knowledge to their unique situation.
2.Build a bridge of trust by giving them valuable ideas on how to improve their business and their lives. Face-to-face seminars and speeches are best, then comes telephone seminars, online seminars and getting published.
3. Hold free or low-cost small-scale seminars. The best proactive tactic you can employ is to regularly invite prospects by mail and e-mail to small seminars or group consultations.
4. Hold paid ballroom seminars and charge for your expertise. This is the strategy of renting out the ballroom at the local Marriott or Hilton and charging for an all-day or half-day seminar. Participants should take away a substantial packet of good information from your firm (and a good meal too).
5. Always collect e-mail addresses and send e-newsletters. This is the water drip torture school of marketing and the opposite of Spam. By signing up for your newsletter lists, prospects are telling you that they are interested in what you have to say but not ready for a relationship now.
6. Send e-mail prospects valuable how-to information and event invitations on a monthly basis until they decide to opt out of the list.
7. Attend networking events and trade shows. This is an excellent place to gather business cards and ask for permission to include them on your e-newsletter list.
8. Get involved in community groups and associations. Everyone likes to do business with people they know, like and trust. You need to get involved and “circulate to percolate,” as one Ohio State University professor used to say.
9. Get how-to articles published in client-oriented press. Better than any brochure is the how-to article that appears in a publication that your target clients read.
10. Be sure to include a blurb at the end of the article that includes your e-mail address and Web site so prospects can find you.
11. Give how-to speeches at client industry meetings. People want to hire experts, and an expert by definition is someone who is invited to speak.
12. Actively seek out forums to speak and list past and future speaking dates on your Web site. Being a speaker builds credibility as an expert.
13. If your prospects are spread out geographically, you can do seminars via the Internet (Webinars) or the telephone using a bridge line (teleseminars).
14. Write seminars so they are not 90-minute commercials. You need to present valuable information about how to solve the problems that your prospects are facing, and then a little mention about your services.
15. Make follow-up phone calls to all your seminar invitees. This should be done by a business development person, never a principal. A better approach is warm calling, which is following up seminar invitations.
16. Advertise regularly in trade journals that your target audience reads. If you specialize in an industry and they publish directories, it is always good to have your firm included. Mention the free resources available on your Web site in the ad.
17. Include a clear positioning statement on the home page of your Web site. Tell prospective clients, in as few words as possible, what you do, whom you do it for, and what results you achieve. If you have a proprietary process or an extraordinary guarantee, this is the time and place to mention it.
18. Add free resources on a monthly basis. The key to earning your prospective clients’ trust is to demonstrate that you know how to solve their problems in general. They will hire you to solve specific problems. With that key fact in mind, your Web site should be filled with how-to articles, white papers and special reports that give away valuable information.
19. Declare your specialization throughout the Web site. The number one attribute prospective clients hunt for is specialization, so put yours right up front. No successful small firm is “all things to all people;” figure out who you serve, and how, and put that information on the front page. Be sure also to describe the outcomes you achieve, such as decreased costs or increased revenues.
20. Turn e-mail addresses into gold with an e-mail subscription link. Forrester Research studies show that converting prospects into clients via e-mail is 20 times more cost-effective than using direct mail. Once you capture their e-mail, why waste first-class postage? Offer prospective clients solid reasons for giving you permission to e-mail them; free reports, studies, white papers, or notifications of key Web site updates. And of course, state clearly that subscribers can easily opt out of your list whenever they want.
21. Create on-demand materials (PDF files) and put them on the Web site for easy downloading. What happens if a prospective client wants to tell someone else about you? The problem with a beautiful Web site is that is usually doesn’t look so beautiful when the pages are printed. The way around this is to offer professionally designed PDFs, readable with the free Acrobat Reader. But don’t just offer a standard capabilities brochure; we recommend your menu include a how-to guide or tips brochure that includes capabilities information.
22. Create a proprietary process and feature it on the Web site. After specialization, clients look for a specific problem-solving process. You should create this process, name it, trademark it and describe it with reverence on your Web site.
23. Feature your upcoming seminar information to boost attendance. The best lead generation topic you can employ is the seminar, briefing, workshop and/or round table discussion. Focus on the biggest problems that you solve for clients. Your Web site should prominently list upcoming seminars (to promote attendance) and past seminars (to promote your reputation as an expert).
24. Prove that you are an expert by listing the public speaking that you do. List upcoming and past speaking engagements with industry and civic groups. This promotes your reputation as an expert and will also help you garner invitations for future speaking engagements.
25. Make your contact tool easy to find and use. The purpose of the Web site is to let prospects check you out and then contact you. Have a device that makes it easy for them to do so.
26. Package yourself as a subject expert. Write a one-page letter that explains who you are, what your background is, and three to five topics on which you are prepared to speak. Make this your standard “speech pitch.” Also make sure you have a one-paragraph biography, introductory paragraphs for each speech, and a pre-written introduction (to YOU) available for the people who book you.
27. Hold an online seminar (or Webinar), an interactive, real-time way to hold online meetings and conferences. By eliminating the barriers of time and space, Webinars enable you to share information with thousands of customers or partners anywhere in the world, through a standard Web browser.