When I talk to growing agencies and creative services firms, their top concern is lead generation.
They are confident that they can deliver value, but everyone struggles to get in front of the right potential buyers.
Because their pipeline is skinny, and they’re anxious about that, I see folks relaxing their qualification. Instead of focusing on their ideal customer, they tend to start talking to folks who might be “less ideal.” Then, to close deals with those “less ideal” clients, they stretch their service offerings to match what those clients “want,” and they end up working on things that they “can” do instead of what they are best at.
The solution isn’t to open up the top of your funnel; it’s to make it narrower.
When we narrow the top of our funnel to focus on our ideal customers, it changes the game! We realize that relying on our network and referrals isn’t going to get the job done.
Networking and referrals are kind of random. It’s hard to educate our referral partners well enough for them to identify our ideal clients. Worse yet, when they send us someone who is not ideal, sometimes we feel obligated to help because we want to preserve the relationship with the referral partner.
But when you make your funnel narrower, you get more creative about how to attract those ideal clients!
- Create a series of workshops that address their core problem (Like Jeff did.)
- Build a podcast that answers their biggest questions. (Like Jeannie did.)
- Join associations and industry groups and act as a speaker. (Like Brooke did.)
- Create or join an online community (such as a Slack community or a channel on Reddit) that answers questions your ideal prospect needs answers to. (Like Austin did.)
- Find them on LinkedIn and reach out to them there. (Like I do!)
What would you do if networking completely dried up and your referral partners stopped producing leads? Start doing that.
When you are talking to your ideal clients, deals close faster, you don’t have to reinvent yourself for every client. You can get good at solving similar problems and gain an advantage over your competitors.
What are you doing this year to reach your ideal clients directly?