Converting New Business Leads: 90% Perspiration, 10% Inspiration

In this article, founder of We Are Parable, Teanne Andrews asks 'Ever met a new business prospect and felt 100 per cent inspired afterwards?'

You’re not alone. The key is to make the most of these meetings within the next few days.

We recently attended Makegood in London and experienced a massive high after exhibiting at the School for Creative Startups festival, which showcased over 200 of the hottest young UK companies. There were 6,000 visitors through its doors in four days so you can imagine how busy we were.

After meeting some inspiring people – what we realised is that now is an absolutely critical time for business, and that if you ever want it to grow, you’ll need to ensure you stay at the forefront of people’s minds.

Below are some top tips of how to remain upbeat as you look to convert new business leads.

1. Be realistic about who you can convert

There is a certain excitement about generating new business and getting them ‘across the line’. Focus all you energy on your best prospects. While it’s easy to get carried away with what new customers you might get, I would say try and be as realistic as you can and know how much time you’d like to invest into converting a lead. For example, is there a pitch process – will you have to invest into research and come up with creative ideas?

If so, this is time spent (and money) could be used on existing customers. You should have a clear idea in your financial forecasts about how much resource you can invest new business. We use products like Sage One which provide us with clarity for our future planning.

2. Hit the phones

We all hate doing it, but it’s part of the game. You need to stay at the forefront of their thinking by sending reminder emails and phone calls. Perhaps try and schedule a lunch or an after work drink. Your new lead may be socially media savvy – so you could send them a tweet or have a conversation with them on LinkedIn. If you’re interested in contacting new business leads via social media, here are some top tips from a business2business blog I came across.

3. Tailor your message – not everyone is the same

It goes without saying, but you should customise follow up according to the prospects preferences. Whether it’s you or someone else from the team, you have to ensure that you have proper understanding for follow-ups. When you spoke to them at that trade show – did they say they were on school drop-off and pick-ups or that they didn’t work on Tuesdays? Make contact when’s best for them. In addition, nose around, join their networks, their groups – follow who they follow – read what they read. You can then use this information to better communicate and engage with them.

4. Keep in touch

Converting leads can be a long procedure and sometimes it’s a case of keeping a lead warm until the right time comes.

I’d suggest keeping a list of potential clients meaning you never overlook an opportunity. Keep leads up to date with your news through newsletters or even more casual chats on social media. Sometimes a conversion is the result of months’ of work – but always remember how good it feels when that new contract comes through.

5. Make sure you can provide

I’m sure you’ll agree there is no point in converting new business leads if you cannot supply. Staying on top of your finances is of utmost importance when you’re looking to expand. We use Sage One cloud accounting so that we can be as flexible as we want in who does the accounts and where from. That way we always know where we are and don’t waste time chasing business we can’t sustain.

With eight years’ experience of arts and events management, Teanne Andrews is a passionate and creative professional, responsible for managing significant cultural partnerships. Having worked on successful community arts projects, Teanne has also collaborated with prominent organisations such as The Science Museum, The Wellcome Collection, The Charles Dickens, London Transport and British Museums. She has delivered youth and community engagement projects with successful results.

In January 2013, Teanne co-founded We Are Parable with her husband Anthony. We Are Parable is an experiential events organisation that helps companies stand out by producing memorable events, turning their customers into fans. She currently works on implementing and producing creative solutions for companies, and contributing to the event’s delivery as well as overseeing the company's administration and financial dealings.

Through We Are Parable, Teanne is passionate about helping companies tell their stories through the power of events.

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