As a lender specializing in working with business owners, lead generation is the name of the game. You need a steady flow of leads entering the top of your funnel on a regular basis. Otherwise, your business will dry up. The question is, how can you consistently load your funnel?
4 Lead Gen Tips and Strategies
For business lenders, success is a numbers game. It’s about getting in front of as many potential clients as you can, knowing that just a fraction of them will ever turn into actual clients. You fill the top of your funnel with as many leads as you can and then gradually qualify and filter them until you’re left with a handful of promising prospects at the bottom of that funnel.
Not sure where to begin? Here are some tried and true tips that will get you moving in a positive direction.
- Identify Your Target Market
As the saying goes, there are riches in niches! If you’re trying to be all things to all people, you’re probably not getting the sort of results you want/need. To reach all people, you have to water down your marketing message and cast a wide net.
Ideally, you want to focus on a specific niche or target market. So rather than being the lender who helps people buy businesses, you’re the lender who helps people buy cash-flowing online businesses in the ecommerce space.
Or maybe you’re the lender who helps first-time entrepreneurs buy restaurants in the Northeast. The more specific you get, the more you’re able to dial in your marketing and sales messaging.
- Segment Your Leads
Be meticulous with how you segment leads when they enter your system. We recommend tagging leads with as many different descriptors as you can, including the lead source (email, social media, referral, etc.), loan size, location, timeline, and more.
- Use Technology to Automate
When you have a few leads trickling in each week, it’s not difficult to manually push them through your funnel. But as your lead gen efforts increase and you start bringing in dozens or hundreds of leads per week, it’s no longer efficient to play in the weeds. You need to automate the manual, repetitive tasks that take lots of time. We recommend doing this with a platform like SPARK.
SPARK is basically a simple, streamlined solution that eliminates complex lending processes and allows for total end-to-end visibility. Not only does it offer automated lead capture, but it also keeps leads organized as they move through the funnel from prospect to client (including each stage of the underwriting process).
- Leverage LinkedIn
Overall, social media isn’t the best place for business lenders to be spending their time. It’s noisy, distracting, and rarely produces the sort of ROI you need to justify the investment. There is, however, one exception: LinkedIn.
The power of LinkedIn lies in the quality of its users and the robust native search engine that’s seen dramatic improvement over the past two or three years. With a simple subscription to LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can find business owners and entrepreneurs, filter them based on dozens of factors, and connect with them for high-touch nurturing. It’s a great way to get in front of qualified prospects without being spammy.
Filling Your Funnel With the Right Leads
In the world of lead gen, there’s a common debate surrounding what matters most: quality of leads or quantity of leads? And to be quite honest, the answer is both.
In order to be successful, you need a high quantity of high quality leads. There’s usually a trade-off between the two.
If you’re super focused on quantity, you’re going to end up with a massive pool of prospective clients. The only problem is that you’ll have to weed through the unqualified to find the tiny percentage who will actually work with you.
If you’re overly focused on quality, very few prospects will enter your funnel. And though those prospects will probably end up working with you, you’re likely missing out on other prospects who could have been nurtured over time and turned into clients.
The key is to find good lead sources and to do basic pre-qualification at the top of the funnel. For example, you want to know that you’re dealing with business owners, entrepreneurs, and/or founders. But you don’t necessarily need to know if they plan to apply for a business loan in the next seven days. Keep it high level and you’ll get more leads into your funnel. Then you can worry about segmenting based on quality.
As is the case with most things in life, success is found in the balance. Find a system that works, stick with it, and iterate over time. A good lead generation strategy will put you far ahead of your competition!