What happens when your current contracts expire?
What happens when the referrals run out?
- It takes on average 3 to 4 attempts to contact a business owner
- Once reached, only 2 – 3 owners in every 100 will agree to a meeting first off
- Up to 15 owners in every 100 will agree to a call back within 12 months (nurture)
How can you stack the odds in your favour?
The answer is very simple – create and nurture a leads pipeline. Read on:
Very occasionally, a business may find itself requiring the urgent assistance of an advisor to address an unexpected development, but this is very much more the exception than the rule. Making appointments, like much else in business, is subject to seasonal fluctuation.
As experienced lead generators we are fully aware of the factors in the NZ market-place that determine the most advantageous conditions in which to secure face-to-face meetings.
As an advisor, coach, or mentor, if you haven’t been looking after your leads pipeline, you will be dead in the water. We cannot over-emphasise the importance of maintaining a leads pipeline.
Starting again from scratch can be really costly. Your old client target inventory will be horribly outdated. The time investment alone in getting your original prospect list up to scratch will be prohibitive. And depending on what time of year you find yourself in the work doldrums, unless you are really lucky, it can be some months before you start to refill your book.
Generally, companies are most open to engaging with a business advisor in the first 3-4 months of the year; that is, as they take stock of one business year coming to an end and starting to plan for the next. As the new financial year begins in earnest, organisations become decreasingly interested in seeking outside advice as they are wary about muddying the waters and interfering with already laid plans. Appointments gradually tail off until, by December, they become very few and far between. Even in the period May through November, variables such as school holidays must be taken into account as business owners are often away with their children.
Securing appointments – considerations and statistics
Getting the decision-maker on the phone is the crucial first stage in this process yet this alone may involve several calls and take several weeks. As a general rule of thumb, once they have finally been reached, out of every 100 conversations with business owners only 2 to 3 will result in a face-to-face meeting, while a further 15 or so will request a call back at some stage in the future. Those in the latter category are the prospects that we put on nurture; and thats when the odds start to improve
Once placed on nurture, the prospect of securing a face-to-face appointment with a lead increases by 50% although it must be noted that the appointment may not materialise for up to 2, 6, or even 12 months. In a way, this type of appointment is the most productive as it is made with owners who are fully conversant with your skills, have been prepared for you, and, perhaps most importantly, are themselves now ready and therefore more receptive to hearing your pitch. In other words, for the prospect it’s just a matter of timing.
Once we have made an appointment, we hand the lead over to you to work your magic. Some advisors may get lucky and convert a client at the very beginning of the process, but a more realistic time frame is anywhere between 3 – 12 months before you start a paid engagement.
Advisor lists – how you can help us to help you
Our experience in lead generation has taught us some valuable lessons. Some advisors attempt to ‘carpet-bomb’ in that their approach is to target any company in any industry so long as they meet minimum dollar turnover and staffing level criteria. That can be a counter-productive approach. The most successful and long-term client-advisor relationships are formed when we match your experience and skill-set to the industries and companies you are in the strongest position to help. Having business owners immediately resonate with your own strengths vastly improves our chances of scoring you an appointment.
To give us the best chance of filling your book, then, we would suggest a leads list of around 500 companies limited to those industries in which you have some previous experience, training, or interest. To keep down travelling costs, you may also wish to stipulate the geographical areas within which you are willing to operate.
If you wish to supplement our in-house database with your own leads lists, we are happy to pursue them on your behalf. If you choose to do so, however, we require that you supply a minimum of business name, physical address, decision maker’s name and phone number, e-mail address, and NZ Companies Office website record. These details are imperative if you want us to reach the business owner/decision maker, but it is just the start of the process for us. There is only so much we can glean from websites and a NZ Companies Office search. Quite often such research does not reflect the true nature of a business, which is why our professional telemarketers are so important, because it is their job to fully investigate prospects and dig below the surface for the critical background information to give you an edge in a face to face meeting.
Why it is often hard to get appointments?
There are many reasons why a company will not commit to a one-on-one meeting. Some companies are superbly run and require no outside input. Others have an owner or board member who already performs the function of mentor, coach, and advisor. One of the most common reasons we encounter for an outright refusal to agree to a face-to-face meeting from a company on your list is that they either already have an incumbent outside BA or have tried out business advisory/mentoring services in the past and been unimpressed. And then there are other business owners who simply detest cold callers.
But there’s another category, one that we consider to comprise a good 15 – 20% of companies we contact. They are the ones who clearly need help in some area – be it staff, cash-flow, sales and marketing, whatever – but are either too proud or too ashamed to ask for it. That is the category that we put on our softly-softly nurturing programme.
The growing importance of the Chinese Market
We at Business Support Studio have received many enquiries about how we can help NZ companies in their dealings with the Chinese market. Our response has been to acquire in-house native Mandarin and Cantonese speaking resources (and Thai as well should it be required) whose skill-sets are made all the more formidable by their decades of experience importing and exporting from the Chinese mainland. The presence of these resources allows us not only to prospect for leads in the growing trade sector between NZ and Chinese companies but also to contribute native language and Sino trade know-how to augment the offerings that you as an advisor bring to the table.
Timing is everything- make sure your pipeline is ready
The telemarketing prime-time for Business Advisors and coaches tends to be immediately after the Christmas/New Years break when businesses are beginning to look forward to the end of the financial year, take stock, and begin planning for the new one. This should result in a very busy period for Advisors where they make contact and convert the prospect.
After the end of the financial year, owners are looking at their results and are open to speaking to someone about their issues but this is a flattening out of the appointment cycle.
From September until late November, we find that owners are reluctant to make a commitment to meet, however this is when the astute telemarketer will set up nurture calls for the New Year.
If the advisor understands this cycle they can work with the telemarketer to ensure a continuous supply of clients – but we must stress that only a pipeline that is assiduously nurtured over a 12 month period is likely to result in a steady crop of appointments and clients.
And that’s where we come in. Business Support Studio will keep your prospects warm for you, and liaise with you so that, when the time is right, we can reel them in and keep your book ticking over. Get in touch or see our pricing for Pipeline on our brochure.
Get In Touch
7/59 Paul Matthews Road
09 930 8463