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Lead Generation: a 19-Point Plan to Generate Leads

A 19-Point Lead Generation Plan

Everybody’s looking for leads.  And for sales.  Hey, they’re out there: people need your services and want to do business with you.  If they only knew where to find you, and how great you are…

Here’s where your lead generation plan is broken
and why you’re not getting new customers:

19. You’re searching in the wrong places. You’re looking high and low, and these folks are left and right.

18. They don’t know you. Although you’ve been in an office right down the block for years, ate lunch at the same restaurant, shopped at the same grocery store — they’ve never heard of you, your business.

17.  They don’t trust you. Why should they?  No one likes to do business with a stranger. Their first choice: they’re certainly aren’t buying products from strangers.

16. Your campaign sucked. Sure you sent prospects a nice provider-company mailer and sales letter about their products.

Unfortunately you made them the wrong offer – trying to sell your products in the letter instead of just asking them to call you for a free booklet of valuable information or a free quote.  Then what happened? Since response was dismal, you never followed up with another letter or a phone call.  Finally, you announced direct mail doesn’t work, and never tried it again.

15.  You’re no longer a resource.  Remember how you got most of your customers before the internet?  You could offer potential customers a product no one else had.  Boat Insurance?  No problem!  Tractor insurance?  Git it right here, Billy-Bob!  Just call!  If people wanted it, needed it… they called you.

They were the good old days weren’t they?  Before the Internet.  We’ll partner, times change and it’s not like that anymore! Everyone sells everything.  Banks sell financial services.  Financial service people sell insurance.  If your competitors don’t have what your customers are looking for, they’ll go out and get it for them.

14.  It’s a perceived mess changing insurance companies.  Prospects don’t know why they should do business with you.  What makes you so great?  No, I mean besides your great smile, good office location, and nice looking secretary.  What makes you so great in THEIR eyes.  Why should they leave the comfort and security of their current provider, and move everything to you?  What a headache that would be.

13. Clients jump ship every couple of years, and yours did, too.  Why?  And now what?  Here are the lead generation fixes:

Here’s a new, low-cost lead generation plan to fix all that:

New clients are out there!  Here’s how to reach people who need your services and want to do business with you.

13. Figure out who your current customers are and clone them!

This is always the first place I look when clients ask me to find new prospects for them.

Dig through your files and find common values: What makes them your customers?  Is it location? Income level? Value of home? Is net worth the driver? Neighborhood? Business type? Circle of Friends?

Figure out where they hang out. Start hanging out there, too.

What mailing lists are they on. What do they read – what newspapers or magazines? What do they watch on TV? What circle of friends do they go out with? What charities do they donate to?

Where do they go to the gym to work-out?

What do they own – do they all have swimming pools?  Do they drive Chevys?  Do they all own boats? Airplanes?

Exactly what do most of your clients have in common?
If you could clone a few clients, what are the common characteristics they would all have? Because that’s exactly where I’d start looking for new clients, referencing the common characteristics of your own customer database. A great start to finding new clients would be to select people who have those same commonalities as your current clients.

Suppose you find out that every one of your clients reads the same 3 magazines. Those magazines would be a good places to take out an ad schedule, don’t you think? Or to send a press release to the editor.

There’s nothing hard about an intelligent lead generation strategy: it’s just creating a smart plan, following it, and measuring the results!  The hardest part is putting it into action.

If all your clients eat at the same restaurant, I’d start eating there too. That might be a good place to sponsor the coat check room for a few nights. For a few bucks I’m sure most restaurant owners would be happy to put up a small sign noting tonight’s coat check is FREE, courtesy of your firm. A small and tasteful sign does it. Unless of course your clients eat at Denny’s. Then, yeee-ha: time to get some new clients there, Jethro. Sorry, if it wasn’t for bad taste, I wouldn’t have any jokes at all. Anyhow… You could always sponsor desserts for an evening. Or if you’re in the city – sponsor parking, or an “escort service!”  Dammit.  I didn’t just say that did I?  My editor is gonna hate me in the morning.  I’m comfortable she’ll take it out…

12. Create media awareness. As a traditional direct marketer, I don’t believe a lead generation plan using unfocused mass advertising methods works best in most circumstances. However, some lead generation campaigns focused in traditional media such as newspapers, magazines and local TV work well to raise the level of awareness of your firm in your own back-yard. And you know who likes to shop in their own back yard? Everyone.  A good press release campaign can do this.

Create the right message, the right image, and present it consistently in the right media, and presto — people get to know you. Do it consistently and voila, people trust you!  Then you know what happens?  The phone rings.  Bingo! The Holy Grail of all lead generation plans – or at least all of my lead generation plans: The phone rings.  Look at it this way:  The phone doesn’t ring = marketing campaign failure.  The phone rings = lead generation campaign success.

11. Build up your network of referrals and referral sources. Create trust.  Start by referring customers to others, and it will come back to you. I promise you.

Remember, every referral – whether you make one or receive one, needs to be followed up by a WRITTEN piece of correspondence. Either thanking someone for the referral, or letting someone know that you just referred someone to them. Written! No a call is not the same. Sure you can call them, but then: write something down and send it as a follow up, referencing the referral and the call you just made.

10. Personal Contact.  Here’s an easy call to make: Pick up the phone and say “Thanks for your business!”  No no no… don’t sell anything. Just thank customers. Ask if you can help with anything, provide any information they may need.  Thank them for being a valued customer.  Better yet, send a letter of thanks after that phone call… sighting how great it was speaking with them, even if it was’t.  And thank them again for their business.  Can’t hurt.

9. Help out in your community!  Don’t forget helping out with school fundraising: if your clients mostly have families with children, take out ads in the yearbook, play programs, and school events. People trust firms who work with schools. These ads are always inexpensive and generally are presented to a tightly focused audience and targeted in a local market of your own back yard.  And you know who likes shopping in their own back yard.  Yea, you know.

8. If your market is local, get more active in the local scene. Go to area meetings and join local associations. Join a local board, or get on some committees. Go to local business events. People trust people they can look in the eye and get answers. And business goes to people with this level of high accessibility.  Make sure your lead generation plan has a local participation angle. And their business goes to… people with high accessibility and the highest visibility.

Helping out with local events, fundraising, and taking out ads in the yearbook, calendar, play programs, school events shows you care about your community.  About your neighborhood. And you know who likes to shop in their own backyard?  Yep.  Everyone.  Now you’re catching on.

7. Make sure you remember you are in a relationship business. Stop pushing products, start prompting people to call you for answers. Once they’re on the phone with you, it’s all you baby, it’s all you. Unleash that magnetic personality. The best lead generation programs generate a rash of warm phone calls – then it’s all up to you to create a relationship (and client) when the phone rings.

6. Make the phone ring: This is my number one GOAL for the campaigns I create for my clients.  To do this I create an ad, a press release or send a post card or letter. In any of these advertising mediums, I often offer Free Booklets of helpful information. (Keep in mind the title drive the response – the better the title, the greater the response.)

A great direct mail offer is a FREE booklet with a sizzling “must-have” title. Show a bullet list in the center of your letter or post card of compelling FREEE booklet titles; if one title is truly a “Must Have!” you’ll get a call.  The better the titles, the more calls you’ll get. For our colleagues in the insurance field, I have a list of great booklet titles and if you call or email me I’ll send it to you with my compliments.

And when neighbors need the type of services you sell, your name and phone number will come up first.  Then you can offer a FREE quote, which is always my favorite start of any business relationship.  It’s what happens right before you get any business.  You quote.  Similar to my simple formula for success cited above, no quote = no business; quote = business.

Bonus tip:  Always use the word free in all capital letters, it’s more powerful.  Would you rather get a free booklet or a FREE booklet.  See what I mean?

5. Build more trust. Offer a range of FREE informational services along with your FREE booklets and FREE quotes. This will make people call, and put you on their radar of helpful people to call when they need something.

For example, FREE quotes, FREE policy review, FREE portfolio reviews, FREE drop off and pick up; FREE Seminars, FREE book, “FREE FREE FREE… just pick up the phone and call now!” If you can’t bury the cost of giving away a free book to activate an account, you’re doing something wrong.

Most any business offer FREE quotes, and it’s a particularly common offer in the insurance industry.  In insurance, you can offer a FREE policy review to save clients money.  In financial advisor services, offer a FREE portfolio review and analysis.

I once wrote a letter for a client that offered a FREE Cross Pen in a promotion to high end accounts.  That campaign worked really really well.  Really really really well.  Call me on it to discuss!

4. Put more effort into keeping your current clients for life.

Keep clients for life.  You can do it by delivering the service you said you would, at the time you said you would deliver it, and holding to your quoted price.  Then thanking clients for their business.  That’s the full Monty, right there.  Everything you need to do summed up in a single paragraph.  Simple as that.  So…

3. Don’t forget to send a letter thanking clients.
Send a letter thanking clients for their business a couple of times a year.  They never get this from companies who don’t care.  It sets your firm apart from, you know, those firms.  And a “thank you for your business” letter gets people to call you even without asking.  Double bonus.

2. Buy my books.  And read them.

Did I mention how my books can show you how to get even more business?  Call 610-642-1000 or email me ( for more information on how to get one of my books for FREE. No strings. Just sent on request.  To thank you for reading down to here.  Thanks.  Hope you enjoyed this article on lead generation.

1. Read the FREE marketing articles on this website.  Like it or not, if you need deeper marketing, this site has it.  It’s all free, and I’ve tried to keep the reads pretty fast  — and fill the technical marketing articles with a high density of practical marketing techniques.  With a splash of old jokes but who cares, they’re still funny.

Jeffrey Dobkin

Jeffrey Dobkin

Jeff Dobkin is the senior writer at the direct marketing firm of The Danielle Adams Publishing Company.  His specialty is bringing clients more business by making their phone ring. He also writes some highly responsive sales letters, direct marketing packages, web content, marketing plans, direct mail and even annual reports and stuff like dat dere for his clients who need to make their phone ring with greater frequency.  He can do the same for your firm – please give him a call to discuss.

Jeff has written 5 books on marketing and direct marketing. More than 300 magazines have featured Dobkin’s articles on direct marketing.  Jeffrey can be reached at 610-642-1000, or visit   Call or write and ask Jeff to email you a FREE Copy of his book, Uncommon Marketing Techniques, just as our thank you for reading this marketing post all the way down to here. Hope it was helpful.  Continue reading…  Almost 100 more articles can be found on his website.

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