A Proven, Lead-Generating Idea That (Almost) Always Works

A good way to meet potential first clients is to give presentations at service club, business club, and Chamber of Commerce meetings. You don’t want to do this without a solid strategy on how to turn your 20- or 30-minute presentation into serious leads. Here’s a method that worked for me when I was starting out.

Approach local business, trade, or service organizations whose members are potential clients. Offer to give a free talk on using Direct Marketing to improve their profitability.

Thoroughly prepare and deliver 20 or 30 minutes of simple but useful information about DM: How profitable it is … types of DM … what distinguishes good from poor DM. (Use specific examples but not from your local area. You don’t want to insult someone’s latest marketing effort).

Arrange to have your first talk professionally taped on professional-quality audio equipment. (Consider doing a partial or whole trade with the recording company to reduce your cost).

During your presentation, pass around a previously prepared sheet that asks your audience for their name, phone number, address, and email. Have a "For More Information" check box for the last column. Explain that you want to send everyone a copy of your presentation – free. But you promise not to contact them after that unless the box is checked. This reduces their reluctance to sign the sheet.

At the end of the meeting, pass out a "Special Report" that relates to your talk in some way. It could be a summary of your talk or a discussion of a related aspect of DM. Staple your business card to this report.

After the meeting, have the master tape converted to an audio CD. Make enough copies to send to the audience – plus more to use at other meetings. Having it done professionally will run you a dollar or less per CD.

Have the duplicator put a laser-printed label on each of the CDs. Include the title of your talk, your name, company name, and contact information (at minimum, your phone number and email address). Also, even though you will be giving the CD away and not selling it, put a price (I suggest $15) on the label. This increases its perceived value.

(If you have the time and skill, you can copy and label the presentation yourself using your computer.)

Send out the CD to all the people whose names you got at the meeting, along with a short letter reminding them who you are and why they’re getting it.

Use their actual names instead of a generic greeting like "Dear Rotarian." And in the letter, refer to another special report on DM that you’d like to send them. For example:

"If you would like a FREE copy of my report, "10 Ways to Protect Yourself From Internet Marketing Fraud" (list price: $15), just complete and mail the enclosed reply card. Or call Smith Copywriting at 530-555-1212 today."

Enclose a reply card with your letter. It should have a space for the recipient to write in his name and address, as well as a box he can check off that reads: [ ] Please send me "10 Ways to Protect Yourself From Internet Marketing Fraud."

You should add a second check box that says something like: "[ ] Contact me about a FREE consultation with Smith Copywriting to review my current marketing needs. My phone number is: _____."

The front of the reply card is addressed to you. You can put a box in the upper-right corner that says "Place stamp here." Or you can obtain a business-reply permit from your local post office and create a pre-paid business-reply card (BRC). (The advantage of doing this is that the recipient does not have to affix postage to a BRC. And you pay postage only on those that are returned to you.)

Even though these people are simply asking for a free CD, they are actually qualifying themselves as potential customers by demonstrating an interest in your services.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: July 18, 2005

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