When it comes to leads, it seems like there's never enough. It's a chronic problem for businesses. Advertising costs are only growing and it takes a lot of time to warm-up cold leads. New prospects aren't exactly chomping at the bit to buy either. But what if they were?
What if there was a way to get an unlimited supply of leads?
Fresh leads whenever you wanted, from sources you could tap whenever you needed a new customer? Turns out there are plenty of sources and they're willing to do it, free of charge.
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I call these complementary sources.
Complementary sources give you all the leads you can handle. These are businesses, organizations or people that serve the same customers you do, but in a different way.
Let's say you're looking to buy a house. That transaction is usually filled with people working towards the same goal in different, yet complementary ways.
- Your Realtor contacts the seller and negotiates terms
- The mortgage broker secures financing
- Appraisers estimate the value of your home
- And the title company makes sure the seller actually owns the home you're buying
If you're a Realtor, the appraiser, broker and title company are all complementary sources. They have their own supply leads.
Every business is surrounded by complementary sources
Start by creating a list of all of the complementary sources around your business. Once you've identified the various types of sources, setup an informal interview.
This interview's about research, you're looking for places to add value.
Ask the right way and their leads become your leads. Sounds crazy right? Why would complementary sources give you the leads they've paid good money for?
They can't close the leads they have.
Complementary sources spend a lot of time and money on marketing. But they tend to be terrible at closing the majority of the leads they have for one reason or another.
They're not giving their leads the attention they deserve
Maybe they're terrible at lead nurturing or following-up. Or, they cherry pick the ones they prefer, ignoring the rest.
They're wasting leads and they're leaving a lot of money on the table.
That's your in. Show them how they're losing money and you have their attention. Give them a plan to get their money back - at no cost to them - and they're dialed in.
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It's time they turned their leads over to a pro (you)
If you've done your homework you should have an idea of what you're dealing with going in. What's your angle?
- Are you going to resurrect all of their dead leads and get them to buy?
- Can you increase average order values or boost customer upsells?
- Will you get customers to sign up for a subscription service each month?
Whatever your offer, it needs to resonate with your complementary source. If you're unsure about what they want, just ask.
Then layout the finer details of your plan
You're asking for sensitive and proprietary info. They're less likely to give you access if they're unsure about how you'll use it. Show them how you'll approach their list, what your offer will be and the goals you have in mind.
The offer you make to their list needs to depend on you in some way. If you're offering a product or service to their list they need to go through you to get it.
Set everything up once you have the go ahead. You want to make this as easy for them as possible. Set metrics and performance benchmarks ahead of time so everyone's clear about what success looks like.
You're ready to contact the people on their list
This is where upfront research really makes a difference. If you know your complementary source well you know about their customer's biggest problems. Build that into your offer when you contact them and you've got their attention.
At this point any sales you make are a bonus.
You're looking to disqualify any people who don't belong on their list. It's an important step because it tells you a lot about your source and the quality of their marketing.
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The people that belong on their list belong in yours
Put them into a follow-up system. Start with a pitch and alternate between helpful content, tools or resources and a sales pitch. The list you've built with your source should focus on one thing.
Nurture these new relationships.
Provide meaningful content and support to the people on this list. Sell these people on you and your source when it's appropriate.
This is great and all but it won't work for my business
It's a common objection: "I've got a SaaS business!" or "My product or service is completely new and original."
But it's completely false.
Apple's iPad was a new product, but they depended on ad agencies, retailers and parts manufacturers to sell it. Every business has others they depend on. And every business is surrounded by products and services that complement their own.
What if my source cuts me out after I've done the work?
It's always a possibility that your source will try to cut you out after they've seen your plan. That's why it's important to create a plan that positions you as the essential element. Do that and you'll decrease the likelihood that your source turns on you.
Complementary sources are the key to unlimited leads
They serve your customers in different ways but they're the perfect lead source. Show them how you can add value to their business and you'll have all the (free) leads you can handle.
Need step-by-step instructions to make complementary sources work for your business? Download our guide (no opt-in required).