community organization

Networking Tools

1. Web site

Unless your site consistently turns up in search results, it ends up being a resource only for the few who know about it. Generating leads through your Web site can be easier thanks to a number of free and inexpensive online applications. Consider integrating a newsletter feature into your Web site. Every request to receive the newsletter translates into valuable contact information you can use to spread your message.

2. Social media

For the most part, many of the popular social media sites are free. That said, one paid feature that is worth a second or third look is a Business LinkedIn Account. Nothing spells power more than the ability to send InMails to third-party members; customize searches; and drill down to see if groups have your targeted demographic, or are present in your geographic location. Just these few features make an upgrade from the basic plan worthwhile.

3. Print and Web media

Are you seen as a leading expert in your field? Magazines and newspapers are always looking for volunteers to contribute articles. If you can open yourself up to a team of experts critiquing your work, there could be possible leads lurking.
The important thing in being seen as an expert is to rise above making mere sales pitches, and share relevant knowledge. If you don’t feel you can contribute a whole article, you could begin by writing a short personal blog, or maybe even commenting on other people’s blogs or tweets.

4. E-mails

Anti-spamming laws are making it increasingly difficult to communicate with leads and prospects. Even spam filters on e-mail accounts force us to look at other alternatives to get our message out.

5. Telephone

Picking up the phone is still the quickest way to gather information. But if you’re painfully phone-shy, hiring a lead generator to make your calls could help. Find a firm that has experience working with financial professionals.

This avenue can be very effective when you’re putting together an event and are targeting businesses. By combining the push communication method — when you consistently send information to your prospects so you’re always top of mind — with telephone calls, you can drastically increase your number of yeses.

6. Communication campaigns

Whether you initiate an e-mail, telephone or direct-approach campaign, it’s important that your message gets to your intended market. You also need to have a strategy that allows you to gather contact information from respondents. The use of surveys both in an online or face-to-face setting may be the strategy needed.

An online survey is a very cost-effective way to gather information that can be used to help your business thrive. At times, the use of an incentive may be necessary for a participant to complete the survey, but the information gathered may be priceless. The key to this or any other survey method is to keep things short and simple, but relevant enough to give you the information that you want.

7. Referrals

In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini shares the principle of reciprocation: People feel obligated to return a favour when we first give them something.

By the same token, you’ll find it much easier to ask for referrals if you first provide value to your clients by offering a service and/or solution that meets their needs. Another way to make prospects who are referred to you feel comfortable is to explain at the very outset how you’re compensated — and that referrals help you build your business.

8. Events

Events can serve as a means to gather specific information about your attendees in a non-threatening way. Event registrations and feedback forms can be a great way to generate leads seamlessly. But the difficult part is getting people to attend. The website http://www.eventbrite.com/ can be a great resource when promoting your event. The free site lets you post events or search and attend other events that could lead to prospecting opportunities.

9. Direct campaigns

Having a direct marketing campaign requires that you be consistent with your delivery. This form of lead generation may take longer, but it does allow you to trickle information to prospective clients and give them or yourself a reason to make personal contact. If cost is an issue, try some door knocking or mall walking for leads.

The final step: Follow through

Once you’ve made a prospect interested in you, you need to formulate a strategy that helps convert curiosity into a meeting and a sale.

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