Generating leads is part of the sales process and happens mostly before you start to qualify your leads. Remember, a lead is someone who doesn’t know about your product or maybe even what their problem is. Your job is to educate and persuade them so that you can turn them into prospects whom you nurture and convert into real customers.

The Sales Process

This is a short version of the sales process:

  • Gather Leads – You’ll need a method to collect the information from your leads as well as attract them to sign up. You can use content marketing, freebie offers, ads, and more to do so.
  • Qualify Leads – A qualified lead is called a prospect. A prospect has an awareness of their need, the ability to commit, are willing to listen to your pitch, and they feel like it’s essential to do so because they trust you.
  • Convert – At this point, you’ll use content and other information to lead your prospect to become a buyer or convert. Sometimes your prospect is not interested in buying, but they do download a freebie that segments them further so you can nurture them even more.

The Lead Generation Process

Before you can do any of that, you have to set up a way to gather your leads. There are four stages of the lead generation process you need to be aware of:

  1. Awareness – You want to make your ideal audience segment aware of their problem and the solution you offer. You’ll do so with a strategy using networking, referrals, content marketing, etc.
  1. Education – After your lead is aware that you have solutions to their problems, you’ll want to work on building trust and confidence in your expertise and ability to help them. You can do this via testimonials, showcasing your knowledge with books, blog posts, videos, interviews, and so forth.
  1. Sampling – Most of your audience wants to ensure that your product’s quality or the impact of your service is what they need. Often this happens by giving them a taste of what you offer. However, be careful because when it comes to services, it’s better to rely on testimonials.
  1. Conversion – While sales are a conversion, so is getting someone to sign up for your list, or come to your webinar, or download your content or book – all of that is a conversion.

Each time, through research, you identify a new segment of your audience who are ready to buy from you. You’ll want to develop and go through this same process.

Create information to bring awareness; educate them about their problem and your solutions. Show them what you do – either through actual samples of the product or service, or by letting them experience other customers’ point of view and review. Finally, you’ll convert them to sign up for your list by asking them to, offering them an incentive to, or once they make a purchase.