The business community is OBSESSED with lead generation and lead capture.
Here’s why you shouldn’t be.
If you’re a CrossFit gym, I’m sure you’ve seen the ads on Facebook: “Endless funnels! Download our free guide.” “Guaranteed 100 new leads!” – there are more, but they all sound the same.
Very soon, a reliable marketing company will become the obvious choice for our gyms. Lead generation and SEO and ad targeting will be taken off our plates. And I can’t wait for that to happen.
But what most gyms need is NOT marketing at all.
What MOST gyms need is SALES.
Here’s the difference:
Marketing puts your name in front of people for the first time. It guides them to your door. And then it stops, and sales take over.
Marketing starts with a very cold audience (they’ve probably never heard of you) and warms them up to the point of interest. Marketing won’t get anyone to pay for your service (Virtually no one enters their credit card online before visiting, do they? Maybe one in two hundred.) Marketing gets them to book the free consultation or No-Sweat Intro. At the very least, marketing puts people on your email list. Then Sales takes over.
Yes, “Sales” is a dirty word. I get it. When I say “sales”, I’m not talking about the used-car-salesman stuff (or worse, the gym-membership-sales stuff). If you’ve read my books or anything I’ve published in the last 5 years, you already know that. In our case, “sales” means telling the person what’s best for them–in other words, coaching. But for the sake of this post, it’s important to differentiate the two parts of the process. You’ll see why in a moment.
Marketing gets people to pay attention. Sales gets people to pay money.
The thing is, you probably already have ENOUGH people paying attention…even if you don’t have enough people paying you money. Let’s look at your email list. How many people are on there who AREN’T your clients?
Why don’t they unsubscribe, or hit ‘spam’?
Because they’re waiting.
They’re sitting on “maybe”.
Doesn’t it make sense to coach the “maybes” to either a “yes!” or “no” than to put more people into “maybe”?
Especially because it costs you money to put cold leads onto your list…but costs you NOTHING to talk to those already there?
What’s the value of your email list if you’re not having a conversation with the people on it? Zero.
But we still listen to marketers brag about having a list of 10,000 people! Who cares?
If you’re on this list, you’re on “maybe” too. So I write you a letter almost every day, because I want to help you choose: either to sign up for our program, or to sign up for someone else’s program.
“Maybe” is actually worse than “yes” or “no”. Because you can be “maybe” forever, take no action, and slowly slip backward. If you say “yes” to me, we can move forward. If you say “no”, I’m sure you’ll find help somewhere else.
Now think of the folks on your email list: If they say “yes” to you, you can enhance their lives. If they say “no”, they might get help elsewhere; or they might not, but at least you’ll stop splitting your focus. But if they stay on “maybe”, everyone loses.
Here’s how I get people from the Catalyst list (2700 readers, 40% open rate) to get off “maybe”: I write them love letters.
Every day or so, I pick a muse: one person facing one problem that I can solve.
Then I write them a love letter about their problem.
Then I send the letter to everyone on the list. Plain text, no images or links.
And 7 people email me back with their problems!
So I think about their problems for a day or so, and if I can help, I write them the next love letter.
The results? 7 new signups this month; 6 in our ID program. Two of them had been on my email list for 10 YEARS. That’s not something to celebrate: it means it took ten years for me to say the thing that spurred them into action.
Here’s the key: I can’t just email them a “newsletter” or send them special offers or incentives for signing up. Even the stuff I used to do in 2011 doesn’t work anymore.
I have to really care. Like, really, REALLY care.
I pretend the person is right in front of me, sitting around the campfire, and asking me the question. Then I answer the way I would in person: I use familiar language, because they’re my friends. I tell them the truth, because that’s what they deserve. I don’t give them an up-sell or cross-sell or any kind of offer at ALL.
I just care a lot.
I write these letters to YOU because I care if your business succeeds. You’ve invested your life into the service of others. If you’re investing your attention in me, I want to give you a return on that investment.
The future clients on your email list are the same. You care about them–I know you do–and want them to be successful. So tell them how.
Where do you start?
Use the eight-word email (you’ve seen it) or just ask, “What’s your biggest hurdle to exercise?” on Facebook. People will tell you. Take each of their reasons and write them a love letter. That’s your muse.
Your email list shouldn’t be a storage facility. It should be a temporary way for people to sample your empathy and knowledge before deciding: yes or no?
(If you’re on this list and a definite ‘no’, there’s an unsubscribe button at the bottom. Go in peace, friend.)
Need a push to write your FIRST client email? Just hit “reply” and ask for one!
PS – this has to be in your voice. Having someone else write your emails just doesn’t work: it’s like asking your buddy in sixth grade to write a love letter to the cute girl in the front row on your behalf. Either she won’t like the note, or she’ll spend the recess with him.