Inside Perspective from the Team at Belardi/Ostroy

The common business definition of lead generation is: “the action or process of identifying and cultivating potential customers for a business’s products or services.” But is that really all it is?

I define the overall quest for new clients in a much broader sense, viewing this process as one not merely focused on identifying “qualified” and/or “targeted” prospects.  Given the advances in technology and the evolution into many different sales and distribution channels, I’ve found more success in identifying any opportunity to build a connection or begin a conversation with marketers even remotely involved in my industry. Rather than obsessing over trying to find the most ‘traditional’ leads in the quickest manner, I prefer building a vast, diverse network of ‘folks I constantly talk with’ who ultimately can yield the best ROI. I often chat with someone who others might write off as ‘unqualified,’ yet they may introduce me to a friend or colleague that proves to be an invaluable contact.

The key to excelling at lead generation is persistence. The job requires certain personality traits including confidence, creativity, conviction, resourcefulness and downright doggedness. Shy? Unimaginative? A procrastinator? Then new business development is probably not for you.  Being successful at lead generation also requires a keen sense of how to navigate the internet; tapping personal relationships; and being fully present. It’s also critical to set aggressive goals and push the limits of what is customarily “achievable.”

Being highly self-motivated is extremely important. I pump myself up with my own little mantra: “When in doubt, talk to someone.” That means constantly picking up the phone, sending a text message or emailing someone. Even chatting up my B/O colleagues. I view everything and everyone as a possible path to a viable business contact and sale. But to me it’s also fun. I love people. I love the sales process. I love to engage. There’s nothing fake or phony here. Just a pure interest in learning about people, what they do and seeing if there’s an opportunity to help each other. I don’t think of myself as a salesperson. I don’t sell. I communicate and relate. The rest often falls into place organically.

Lastly, where to find the best leads can be the difference between success and failure. Networking events provide an unparalleled opportunity to meet someone face-to-face, build a relationship and learn about their goals and needs. Select advertising and promotion—from prospect companies as well as our own—can generate interest and contacts and trigger incredible opportunities. And social media can be a tremendous asset in creating new relationships as well as keeping on top of the folks currently in the orbit.

But most of all? Be different, but always be you.

Rob Santangelo