If you own a professional services business, odds are you’re trying to get leads in the door. What I often see, is that these types of business owners jump straight into the latest ‘flavour of the month’ marketing tactic (e.g. Google Ads, Social Media Posting, LinkedIn, SEO, etc.), because that’s what they’re told to do. The results of that approach are typically somewhere between zero leads (i.e. complete campaign failure) or a lot of leads that are unqualified and need to be heavily vetted by the business owner. But let’s face it, as a busy professional already running a business, you probably don’t have a lot of time to do that!

Instead of focusing on building an endless supply of leads, you should only be focusing on the amounts you actually need as well as how to balance bringing new clients in, and keeping exiting clients around. For example, if you’re a Chartered Accountant, wouldn’t it be easier to focus on the clients you already have year after year as opposed to constantly be looking for new ones?

Here’s how I believe you should approach lead generation for your business.

Define your ideal client

Hopefully, you have a pretty good idea of who makes an ideal client for your business, but if not, you should figure that out ASAP.  To get started, it’s easiest to target the group you can help the most, the fastest because you’ll probably be able to demonstrate how you can get quick results and build raving fans.

Develop a client generation system

I have worked with a lot of service professionals, and from what I’ve seen, most of them want to work with roughly ten of the right clients at any one time. That’s it.

The typical service professional acquires new clients by attracting a lead that wants to meet and learn about how they might help them. Let’s say you have four clients now and you’d like to get six more. If one in four meetings turns into a new client (this is very low for our approach but will use this for easy math), it will take 24 meetings to get those additional clients you’re looking for.

You need to ask yourself what it takes to schedule consistent appointments and how you can increase the conversion rate of these appointments. If you can understand this and build a system around it, you’ll remove a lot of headaches that many service professionals experience in their lead generation efforts.

Set a revenue goal

Before you put any meetings on the calendar, you need to determine your annual revenue goal. This will give you insight into how many clients (and in turn, meetings and proposals) you need to obtain in order to reach that goal.

You simply need to factor how many appointments it will take to land one new client, and move forward from there.

Create a workhorse piece of content

Content development may not necessarily be in your professional wheelhouse, but it’s now essential for your business. You must create a valuable piece of content that will resonate with your target audience and demonstrate your subject matter expertise. Many find blogging to be the easiest way to format this content, although i’m a raving fan of creating a rock solid 20-30 minute webinar presentation – what I call your ‘Expertise Manifesto’.

To ensure this one piece of content is the workhorse you need for your system, spend time researching the questions and problems your audience experiences the most.

Do your research. Interview past clients, and/or look at online forums to better understand what your audience experiences and common questions they have. The information found in your research may provide invaluable information as you search for hot topics for your blog post.

Once you know who you want to target, develop a list of people that you’d like to reach. If the list is properly targeted, it doesn’t have to be very large.

Add a content upgrade

In order for your promotion to work, add a “content upgrade” to the blog post you created. This is an offer for related content made inside the blog post that entices visitors to exchange an email address to receive the upgraded version of the content as well. Your content upgrade can be in the form of a checklist, ebook, or even a pre-recorded webinar. The email should then be used for follow-ups and lead nurturing efforts.

Advertise the blog post

Once your audience is in place, create Facebook ads or launch a LinkedIn outreach campaign to drive people to your piece of content. To make things easier, you can even promote your blog post in a status update and “boost” your post to the custom or lookalike audience you created to get their eyes on it. The post will then show up as a sponsored post in the timelines of those you’ve targeted.

Offer value

Once a person responds to your content upgrade offer, reach out to them and offer a valuable service for no or low charge as a way to demonstrate how great it is to work with you and the type of service they can expect.

Set appointments

Make sure that your prospect is qualified to move forward before you propose any services to them. Remember, you want to enjoy working with them too. Even if they’re an ideal client on paper, they may not be the best match based on personality which can make it a difficult working relationship for both of you.

Provided all seems good to go, be sure to understand your lead’s objectives, goals, and potential challenges.

Then, make the appointment.

Deliver

Once the lead is qualified, over deliver on what you promised as you set the appointment. Identify the ways you can truly help them and really show them the value of working with you.

Master the close

The key here is to help your lead tell you in their words what’s wrong and what not fixing it costs them. Listen to them before you mention anything related to your services.

Once you’ve heard their story, at that point you can identify ways to help them, but just make sure they know they have been heard. Show them how they can get immediate and long-lasting results by hiring you.

A client generating system doesn’t have to be that complex, but it does have to be based on your overall growth needs, services, goals and stage of business, so make sure you know what those are from the beginning.

This post originally appeared on the Duct Tape Marketing Blog.