February 22nd, 2013
When the clock strikes 5pm, some of us are ready to head on out (except for those who love overtime work) and step back into the comfort of our homes – either that or go get a drink with the guys. Once that happens, well, there wouldn’t really be anyone left in the office to handle your lead generation campaign. And because of that you’re missing out on the chance to generate some good leads.
October 10th, 2012
Normally, many businesses big and small will take as many sales leads they can get their hands on. But instead of looking at how many leads, do you care to check how many hands? When you are so willing to receive as many leads that you can take, have you ever double-checked the fine print of that question?
Business Leads Can Be Excessive
It is very understandable that you want to open your accounting service to as many business clients as possible but never ignore that last word: possible. If you have so many quality, accounting leads but do not have the possibility of pursuing them all, then you you would have wasted a substantial amount of the money you invested in marketing and lead generation.
At Inc.com, Langley Steinert writes about his own experience about handling more than what you can take. He also recommends a more reasonable alternative:
“Both at my former company TripAdvisor as well as my current company Car Gurus, we have a saying: follow the 80/20 rule, technically known as the Pareto principle. The Pareto principle tells us that 20 percent of the inputs account for 80 percent of the results. You have to cut through the noise, figure out what tasks represent the 20 percent with the greatest leverage and focus on those tasks. Find those projects that make a big impact and ignore EVERYTHING else.”
You can apply the Pareto principle to your own business in several ways:
- Controlling the amount of leads – First off, you can apply it by limiting yourself only to leads that you can immediately serve. This controls the amount you spend on marketing as well as maintaining the sales for each successful appointment. A goal is only too high or too low for your marketers if they deem their results too much beyond the capacities of your salespeople and your services.
Related Content: Sales Leads – The Dangers Of Data Overload
- Focusing on the tasks that matter – Some might protest and say that some business processes are still critical despite having a lower priority. You have explained this extensively when demonstrating the need for accounting services. You have seen this reasoning also deployed by marketers and lead generators. How can you focus on the tasks that produce the 80% when that description still covers a wide range of processes that you cannot do? Answer: you outsource it. Focus on what really drives the quality of your business while leaving it up to a provider to worry about your accounting sales leads.
- Expect customers and prospects to adopt this principle – By ‘expect’, it does not mean presume. Rather, both your marketers and salespeople engage with the understanding that your market only cares about the bottom-line. Asides from money, life in the business world costs people plenty of time. Do not waste that time and get straight to the point. Cut down on information that is not relevant to a prospect’s problems and focus only on a proposal or a solution that works best.
Related Content: Be Up Front In Lead Generation Just As You Are Up Front With Financial Planning
Never look for an excuse to do everything when you just simply cannot. Despite how many entrepreneurs and gurus call people to stay optimistic, this is where a bit of healthy realism should play in. Do not take too many leads beyond what you can handle. And if you cannot let go of a particular process (e.g. telemarketing services) then at least outsource to save up on your focus!
July 18th, 2012
Risks are inevitable in business. However, one can’t deny the endearing effect of a success story that came out of something that only had a small chance at it. In fact, the Harvard Business Review defines this as the long-shot bias.
“One of the most pervasive of these is a phenomenon called the favourite long-shot bias, first observed by the American Psychologist Richard Griffith in 1949. Since then, numerous studies have found evidence of the bias at racetracks and other sports betting markets all around the world. Indeed, it is probably the most discussed empirical regularity in sports gambling markets, and the literature documenting it now runs to well over a hundred scientific papers.”
Regardless, excesses of this bias are a deadly reality. Just look at the case of Facebook’s IPO. Even though many of its supporters more or less worship the ground that Mark Zuckerberg treads, the disasters surrounding Facebook in the stock market have done more than prove his company’s vulnerability.
Speaking of which, that is just one example of what happens when you have an unhealthy love of risks. Here is a simpler example from the same HBR blog:
“This oversensitivity to small changes in likelihood at both ends of the probability spectrum gives rise to an interesting phenomenon in gambling on horse racing; punters tend to value long shots more than they should, given how rarely they win, while valuing favorites too little given how often they win. The result is that punters make bigger losses over the long run when they bet on long-shots than they do when betting on favorites (they still make losses when betting on favorites because the racetrack takes a percentage of each bet, but the losses are smaller). ”
Given the recent popularity of risk-taking and how more and more people are discouraging reserved positions, one can conclude that there is a small ‘epidemic’ of the long-shot bias. Unfortunately, as shown above, this bias isn’t all that healthy (hence, the ‘epidemic’ label). Now this has both good news and bad news:
- Bad News – It means that more business owners out there are making reckless mistakes all for the sake of their love of the long-shot. What’s worse, such frequency could lead to more mismanagement unless expert steps are taken to put it under control.
- Good News – It’s good news for financial planners who specialize in risk management. Those of you who are looking for financial leads now have an identifiable market. This makes it easier for you to plan out lead generation campaigns and set appointments.
At this point, this doesn’t mean that risks should never be taken. As a matter of fact, there are some cases where taking risks are pretty much a necessity (take career decisions for instance). On the other hand, that might as well be comparing apples to oranges. Though on the bright side, financial planners like yourselves now have a time to shine with a clearly defined source of B2B leads. With this prevalent attitude towards risk, you need to be there to offer aid before an evident long-shot bias starts doing some serious damage. It’s the one edge that you can have over the rest of your competitors!
July 5th, 2012
No doubt that the recent Supreme Court decision on the controversial health care reform is sparking a lot of buzz within the insurance community. A particular topic of heated debate is how it now mandates businesses to provide insurance for all it’s employees. This quote from CNNMoney adds a few more details:
“The ruling also means that companies with 50 or more full-time employees must start providing health insurance for all workers by 2014 or face stiff penalties.”
At first glance, it would at least give you a more detailed picture of what kind of businesses to target if you’re a company that provides B2B insurance. In other words, this could mean an easier time generating B2B leads. Be careful though, not all businesses are thrilled with these recent turn of events.
Regardless, they have to comply. The problem with that sort of attitude is that it could lead to careless decision making. You see, whether it’s an entire business organization or just an individual, rushing somebody never ends well. Once you have the government itself doing that rushing, it can only get worse.
Forcing companies to start sifting through providers might only mean that they’ll just pick the first one they see and be done with it. They won’t try and learn all the details (which is a seriously dangerous thing to do, given the complexity of insurance).
No matter what, it is critical to let your prospect companies know what it is that they’ll be spending their money on. You never know if some of the details might or might not be within the best interests in their business. Before you object, that’s better than having them sign a deal with you only to have the complaints coming in because they didn’t know whether you could cover this or that.
Business leads aren’t just about giving you information about a prospect and what it can tell you to help you get your sale. It’s about sharing information with the prospect as well. That includes information about how your business works, what kind of insurance you provide, what your coverage is, your conditions etc, etc.
Furthermore, maybe the reason why these businesses aren’t so eager to meet with you is because you’re not being accommodating enough. Maybe there are things that you can do to help better your control over the information you provide without necessarily overwhelming your prospect. Simply put, don’t opt for the easy way out. You’ll be no different from the companies who don’t learn well enough about their insurance providers because they just didn’t want the government breathing down on their necks.
To summarize, you shouldn’t always count on government mandates to get prospects moving in your direction. It might do more harm than good. For all you know, it might even direct them to your competitors first before you! Again, it leads to reckless decision making and a short-sighted ‘let’s get this over with’ attitude. It’s bad enough that these people are being forced so you should be as accommodating and not look like you’re just jumping at these ‘opportunities’ pointed your way courtesy of the federal government.