When I say Lead Generation, what’s the first thing that pops into your head?
Facebook ads and Google ads, right?
Or, maybe you’re thinking, what is lead generation and why does it matter?
If you fall into the second group, then let me quickly explain.
To grow a business, you need a source of new customers. Many companies, mistakenly think that their website will make the phone ring or generate email enquiries. They believe that someone who has never heard of them is going to land on their website, read the 100 to 200 words on the home page and then pick up the phone.
Not unless you are selling sunlight!
Smart marketers know that you need to build a relationship with prospects before you ask them to grab their wallet.
Lead generation is the process of building a relationship with a prospect. It starts by asking the prospect if you can contact them again to give them more information to help them on their journey. You could think of this as asking someone for their phone number.
When a girl catches your eye, you don’t ask her to marry you. You ask for her phone number so you can follow up with her. So you can take her out on a date. So you can build a relationship.
Lead generation uses the same success system as dating. It's about getting prospects contact details so you can build a relationship with them.
You can think of Facebook ads and Google ads as the best bar in town. The one where all the pretty girls go on a Friday night.
The fact that I think people still meet a partner in the physical world shows my age. Today the process of asking a girl if you can take her on a date begins online with Tinder or Match.com.
Whether you first meet them online or in a bar or coffee shop, you are asking for the same thing – you are asking if you can start a relationship.
It's the same process when you are finding prospects for your business. You are looking for people that need your solution, and you want to build a relationship with them.
Here’s the problem!
Most Lead Generation consultants believe their job is done when they get you a name and email address.
You've asked them to get you some new leads, and that's precisely what they have done for you. That means they've done a great job, right?
Is a lead a Name & Email address?
It is by most people’s definition, but not mine!
For me, a lead is someone who excitedly opens your emails! A lead is someone who knows what you do, how you can help them, and what makes you different.
That’s a big ask, right?
And if they don't open and read your emails, then you don't have an opportunity to build a relationship with them. You don’t have a lead, you’ve got 2 pieces of data.
For most businesses, Lead Generation is trying to fill a leaking bucket.
They are desperately trying to pour more and more water into the bucket in the hope of filling it faster than it runs out the bottom.
So they spend more and more money getting 2 pieces of data. They spend more and more money just to stand still.
Here’s the good news: it doesn’t have to be that way! You don’t have to lose prospects as quickly as you are generating leads if you use…
How do you get off the Churn & Burn Treadmill? How do you plug the holes in your leaking bucket?
The answer lies in storytelling.
You see, you can grab a prospect's attention out an outrageous claim. After all, we all want quick solutions to our problems, right? We are all looking for the shortcut secret to achieve our goals. So you want the ebook or video that gives you the shortcut secret.
Have you ever bought a book and then not read it?
Have you ever been given a book and not read it?
There are plenty of books on my bookshelf that I haven't read. And I'm still buying new books. Why? Because I believe in education. Will I make time to read the books I've already bought? Yes. I just don't know when.
So, if you’ve bought a book and not read it, how likely is it that someone downloads your ebook and then doesn’t read it.
Does this mean that you have wasted your money generating the lead?
It means you need to develop the relationship over time. It means you need to share stories that reveal your expertise and your values.
Through the stories you tell, you will build a relationship with your prospect. Through the stories you tell, you will show the prospect the challenges you went through to achieve your “too good to be true” result.
When they can see that your journey of discovery was not easy, they will see that you are just like them. The only difference is that you are a few steps ahead of them, and you refused to give up.
You might be thinking, I don’t know how to tell interesting stories.
The good news is that great storytellers are made. Like all skills, storytelling is learned. Master storytellers find it hard to tell a thrilling tale. The only difference between them and you is that they refuse to give up.
Telling a true personal story simplifies the storytelling process. You don’t have to search for hardships because you have lived through them.
To help you start telling your inspirational stories, I’d like to share with you…
Two secrets make storytelling simple:
Where do all great stories start?
At the beginning. I know that’s not much of an answer and the reason why most people fail to tell stories is that they start at the end.
Seriously, most people start with the punch-line or the spectacular ending because that’s the exciting part.
If you’ve found gold at the end of the rainbow, you are not telling a story when you show the reader the gold. What the reader wants to know is how you found the gold.
That’s all it takes to tell a thrilling tale. Tell the reader how you found the gold at the end of the rainbow.
So, where does your story start?
It starts when you got caught in the thunderstorm without an umbrella. It starts when you were cold, wet and angry.
You don’t have a rainbow without rain, and without an unwelcome push journeys of discovery don’t happen.
My journey of discovery started when I lost my first business, a photography and graphic design business. In 2007 and 2008, I was flown around the world taking pictures for international companies, to create brochures and websites.
In 2009, I closed the doors on that business because I didn’t know how to find people that needed my help, and to make them feel good about buying.
In 2009, I got caught in a thunderstorm without an umbrella. The moment when I was cold, wet and angry was when I closed the doors on my business. That was my lowest point. That was the moment when I committed to discovering how marketing could make the cash register ring.
So, where does your story start? What’s the moment when you were caught in the rain without an umbrella?
Now you know where your story starts (when you got caught in a thunderstorm without an umbrella) and you know where your story ends… what goes in the middle?
What goes in the middle are the challenges that you faced along the way. The mini-victories that kept you going and the setbacks that made you want to quit.
If you spent a year studying for an exam that you failed, then you need to share the weekend and evening sacrifice that you made while studying for your exam. This sets up the emotional crushing of your exam failure.
The reader doesn’t need to know every detail from sunrise to sunset on a Saturday when wanted to do anything other than study. Especially if nothing much would have happened. If you missed your Brother’s wedding, then that’s significant and worth mentioning.
The point is, you want to make your story a roller coaster ride that’s filled with excitement and terror. Once the reader starts to say, So What, then you’ve lost him.
If you share your struggles, and why you kept going despite the setbacks, then you’ll have an interesting tale that will hold your reader’s attention.
If you take creative writing courses, then a lot of time goes into talking about different story structures. Some of which (in my humble opinion) do nothing but confuse the reader and make the writer feel intelligent.
The simplest story structure, and the one that you’ll need to use for true stories, is The Straight Arrow. The straight arrow follows a timeline of events without any unexpected turns.
That doesn't mean your story will be boring because the events that happen along the way (mini-victories and setbacks) are what keep the reader turning the page.
The Pixar Story Structure is the best way to tell a Straight Arrow story, and as you’ll see, there is enough freedom within it to make every story different. Here’s the structure:
Because of that…
Because of that…
Because of that…
If we go back to the first storytelling secret, Stories explain why change happens, this storytelling structure starts by setting the scene. It describes what life looked like before change happens.
One day… is when you describe the moment you were caught in a thunderstorm without an umbrella. This is the moment when you were cold, wet and angry. The moment when you decided to change your life.
Because of that… is the first step that you took on your journey. This is also the first mini-victory or set-back. Early victories often lull you into a false sense of security. These are also the memories that keep you going through the tough times.
You can have as many Because of that… sections as you need. The point is that a story is much more than a sequence of events. Because of that… forces you to show the reader the cause and effect of the mini-victories and setbacks that you endured.
Until finally… is the happy ending. This is where you show the reader the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Now you know how to tell your inspirational personal stories, let’s get back to
Lead generation is expensive, and it is only going to become more expensive! So, you may ignore these secrets today, and you’ll be clamouring for them in a years time.
With Traffic, an Ethical Bribe such as an ebook and a Lead Capture Page you can generate a lead. You can win someone’s Name and Email address.
Can you make them want to read your next email?
Email open rates range from 4% to 30%. The reality is that open rates for most businesses are between 8% and 20%. Above 20% is really good!
The secret to fixing the leaking bucket is to increase your email open rate. It’s as simple as that!
How do you increase your email open rate?
The simple (and incorrect answer) is by split testing subject lines. Yes, subject lines matter and I’m going to talk to you about them in a minute…
There is something that affects your email open rate MUCH more than the subject line.
What is the magic key?
Your Sender ID.
The From Name of your email. I know that there are people whose emails you will open without reading the subject line. You know their emails give great value, so you don't care what the subject line says. You are going to read the email anyway.
Other people have lost your trust, and you will only open their emails if the subject line pulls you in with curiosity or with an irresistible offer.
If you want to fix your leaking bucket, you’ve got to make people what to read your emails. You do that by telling inspirational personal stories and by giving great value.
Now, you might be thinking, that’s great Roland and when can I sell my products and services?
The truth is, you should use stories to sell your products and services. When you do this, you continue to build the relationship with the people that don’t buy.
The most important thing you have with your community is the relationship. So, you never want to damage that with the way you sell. In my humble opinion, the best sale is not a sale at all. It’s an opportunity to work with you further.
If your offer is not right for your reader today, then you still win if you strengthen your relationship with them. If you tell stories in your emails, then you always strengthen the relationship with the reader.
If you strengthen the relationship because of the stories you tell, then you make the reader want to work with you. Readers with intent, are security in your business.
Earlier in the year, I worked with a client that had a bad relationship with their list. Let’s call them Client A.
The first thing I did was to give some great value and to tell some inspiring personal stories.
This led to an opportunity to work with Client A further. Some people bought, and for others, that was not the right moment.
Client A criticised the campaign because there was no giant push for the deadline. There were not 5 emails all highlighting the deadline. No, these emails told stories and pulled in the audience that was ready to take action.
The campaign made £78,000 in 9 days so not a stunning success.
It did something much more important! It started to fix their leaking bucket.
Infusionsoft (the CRM system Client A used) tells you how many people open your emails. Infusionsoft also has what they call an engaged part of your list.
The campaign more than doubled the size of the engaged part of their list!
That is setting up the next sale. It also doubled the “true” size of their database. Let’s face it, we can all brag about the size of our database. And the only thing that matters is the number of people that open and read your emails. If that number doubles in just one month, then you have doubled the “true” size of your audience.
It gets better…
The engaged part of your list is something you can see and measure. But what about the things you can’t explain.
Client A suddenly started making sales of their retreats (£15,000 plus flights and accommodation) with ease. Something that had never happened before.
Now, I can’t prove this, and I know that it is storytelling that made that possible. How do I know that? Because stories make people want to work with you. If you make an offer that is not right for them, they won’t buy, no matter how good the offer.
If you offered my wife a beautiful sports car at half price, she wouldn't buy it. Why? Because she wants a fast family car.
The same thing is true for the offers that you make.
The stories you tell make people want to work with you. When you share your expertise and your values with your community, they will work with you when you offer the right product.
With Client A, their best customers new about their Retreats and had not booked. After hearing story after story, they felt closer to the guru. They could see how the guru could help them achieve their goals faster than they could on their own, so they bought the product that was right for them.
Most businesses have a 7-day or 14-day nurture sequence for a new lead. They shelter new people from the reality of what is to come, and shower them with value.
After 7-days, new people are dropped into the fire pit of pushy emails.
This is how you shoot holes in your bucket. This is how you lose prospects just as quickly as you are buying them with lead generation.
When you tell interesting and inspiring stories, you give value to your list. When you tell interesting and inspiring stories, you build trust with your list. When you tell interesting and inspiring stories, you make people on your list want to work with you.
Telling interesting and inspiring stories is not hard to do. It’s also not hard, to not do.
When you’re pressed for time, it’s easy to fall into the trap of doing what you’ve always done.
When you’re pressed for time, it’s easy to start with, you should buy this because…
Messaging like that does not inspire people. Messaging like that does not make people want to work with you.
So please think of every email you send as another part of your nurture sequence.
If every email you send strengthens the relationship with your community then you win, even if the reader does not immediately run to grab their wallet.
The biggest reasons why people don’t tell their inspirational personal stories is because they don’t take the time to find the stories that they can tell.
If you build a bank of stories, then you can turn to it when you are short on time, and your mind goes blank.
Take half an hour to uncover your inspirational stories. Look for the times when everyone said it was impossible and you proved them wrong. Look for the times when you got knocked down 9 times, and you kept getting back up until you finally succeeded.
This will be really hard at first because it’s your life. You lived it and got on with it without stopping to appreciate what you had achieved.
Once you start to see the stories in your achievements, you’ll see them in memories from decades ago.
Once you've got your list of 5 or 10 or 20 stories, take one of them and write it with The Pixar Storytelling System.
If you’ve found this useful, then please leave a comment below.
If this can help someone you know, then please email this to them.
Until next time…
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Roland Eva is a copywriter and marketing trainer, mentor and consultant.
For the last 5 years, Roland has helped authors, coaches, mentors, and trainers in the property, technology, finance, personal development, and business opportunity markets to fill seminars and sell high-end programs ranging from £1,000 to £6,000 by telling true stories that inspire people to change their lives. Many campaigns have made over £500,000 in just 9 days.
Roland’s marketing journey began when he lost his first business, a photography and graphic design studio. The pain of watching his business slowly die, motivated him to discover a proven system to find your ideal customer, earn their trust and make them feel good about buying.
Today Roland’s mission is to prevent every business owner from suffering through the same pain as he did. Roland wants to take entrepreneurs on the ecstatic ride that comes with having a proven system to turn leads into happy paying customers. Roland helps entrepreneurs in 3 different ways:
To contact Roland, please email him on: Roland.Eva@RolandEva.co.uk