Fill Your Pipeline – Today (on a ZERO Budget)

We’ve all heard varying insightful perspectives on the saying “time is money.”  When it comes to business, I side with the simple statement: Time is money.

The good news is, if you have “no money”, you can substitute a commitment of your time and effort to reach many of the same tangible goals in your business, especially as it relates to your marketing efforts.

There are five major hurdles along “Marketing Street” that I can share with you along with specific action steps to overcome each.  Today, let’s start from the beginning:

The first  major “road block” (chronologically speaking) consultants usually face when it comes to their marketing is “filling the pipeline.” Here are a few “FREE” (remember time instead of money) things you can do TODAY to make a difference:

* Write and practice a “cold-calling” script.  (No one I know likes to cold call and you may be able to avoid it, but having this language familiar and speaking it confidently WILL pay off, even in casual conversations. Think preliminary “elevator speech”….)

* Actually call (no email, this time) three “warm” leads.  Remember to send follow-up emails in reference to your conversation and provide any additional information you’ve promised.

*Ask someone you’ve done business with (any good business, not necessarily “this” business) for a referral.

*Find an event/organization and offer yourself as a pro-bono guest speaker on a topic that you are very familiar with. Public speaking increases credibility and visibility.  If you go in prepared, leads/prospects will follow.

* DO something to get your name in print.  Find a positive outlet of your professional skills and act on it. By the way, you don’t have to wait for someone else to tell the story.  You can issue your own news release via a blog, social media channel, or even a traditional press release. (Already have something planned? Promote, promote, promote.)

* Distribute business cards and flyers (or “books”.)  However, leaving stacks of advertisement materials is not enough. Try to engage in appropriate conversation as you hand out your materials. Be sure to point out your clearly marked contact information as you “close”.

I hope you found this quick list useful and inspiring.  What are some “fill the pipeline” strategies you use?  I welcome your comments and feedback.

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16 responses to “Fill Your Pipeline – Today (on a ZERO Budget)

  1. Right on!! One of the things I do is develop a network of friends in whatever venue … facebook, twitter especially who will hit that “like” button or give a quick tweet when they see my updates come by or check my tweets. This doesn’t create enough social mojo on it’s own, but it boosts most things to where they are featured and have a chance for wider exposure.

    • Thanks, Kathryn! We should connect on Facebook, too. I agree with you completely. Its less often about the numbers and so much more often about the support your network offers. Thank you for stopping by!

  2. Great tips! Most people love parties, get-togethers and celebrations. I’ve found this to be my favorite mode of networking. I host a monthly Ladies Brunch which allows me to accomplish the following: catch up with existing business colleagues , ask them to bring a guest so that I make a new friend and position myself as the go-to girl since it is my event.
    Consider throwing yourself a birthday party, anniversary party or other celebration and invite clients and prospects to mingle and get to know one another. As the common denominator at the event, you (and your products and services) will likely be the focus of conversation.

    • Kadena, yes! “Party Planning” strategies are a feature of one of my marketing programs. Your recommedation to throw yourself a party is a great one and your “Ladies Brunch” sounds awesome. It makes me wish we were geographically closer! Thank you for stopping by!

  3. My favorite is “Offer yourself as a pro-bono guest speaker”. That, in my opinion, is the best way to get people to understand who you are, what you offer and begin to establish a relationship, and rapport in a way that might be missed otherwise. Thanks Alexis!

  4. You are so welcome, Erika. I’m glad you liked the idea of pro-bono speaking. I know public speaking is a challenge in and of itself for some, but if you can master the art (or at least get comfortable with it), the rewards for your work can be plenty. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I truly like all of your tips; however, I really like “Actually Call Three Warm Leads. This is the most touching point in any business, but we rely on technology so much that we tend to forget one’s voice can do wonders. Thank you !

    • Hi, Jewel. You’re welcome and so right about the “wonders” of direct communication. Phone calls these days are rare, but that also makes them “exclusive” and who doesn’t like to feel special. “Time is money”, right. The right one(s) will appreciate the value of the time you took to call…and even if they don’t have the time to talk, your effort will be remembered. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Alexis, these are some great tips. I am definitely a fan of referral programs. There is often no easier sale than to have someone to refer another to you. There is usually instant credibility and less effort on your part to persuade closing the deal. I believe the methods you have outlined are not only good practice for someone on a ZERO budget but excellent practices for anyone interested in continuing to gain exposure and grow their business. This is part of what leads to sustainable success.

  7. These tools do work. Calling is still a great way of getting new leads. The key is not to put all your eggs in one basket.

    • You hit the nail on the head, Jennifer. Disciplined diversification of your efforts…gets results. Thank you for stopping by!

  8. Thank you for the reminders. I love the fact that you said, after the conversation, point out your clearly printed contact information. That is a great idea! It would leave a visual in the mind of the person you are speaking with. I don’t know if this would be considered filling the pipeline, but I like to go to conferences and workshops that other people are having so that I can learn new things, but also it is a great networking opportunity for everyone without having to through a party and inviting only those you know. This is an opportunity to meet people you may have never seen before. I find it a great way to learn and connect with other of like minds.

  9. Sequoya, attending and participating in the right conferences is a great idea. Be sure to bring ample business cards and other small/appropriate promotional items. You don’t want to be a walking store front (unless that is your strategy), but as we’ve said, having something to GIVE with your name attached to it, is a great way to close a networking conversation. Go for it! Thanks for stopping by!

  10. This is wonderful info. I know it will help many beginning marketers like myself to really fill their pipeline.

    • Thank you, Simone. I’m glad you found this info useful. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your comments!

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