- Posted by Alaia Williams
- On August 11, 2018
- acuity scheduling, crm, dubsado, lead generation
Leads. Prospects. Prospective clients. Whatever you call them, if you're a service-based business owner, having leads in your sales funnel (or pipeline) is important. Even if your dance card is full right now, its ideal to be in conversation with people who are interested in working with you down the line. Why? Because if you wait to “fill your funnel” when all your projects are done, you'll undoubtedly face a rocky point in your business. It's hard to predict when someone will be ready to work with you – especially when you haven't talked to them or heck, when you don't even know who they are.
Bad leads. You've probably had your fair share of those right? They come from all around – well meaning clients, family and friends who refer people who really aren't ready to work with you (or who don't view what you do as essential). Or maybe you put an offer out there, like a freebie or a webinar, that you thought was great but ended up attracting the wrong market. Or, you just get people who aren't serious. They may drop an email address, fill out your funny quiz or drop their business card in a bowl to win a prize, but beyond that? They aren't really interested in hearing from you.
While most of us can certainly refine our sales and marketing tactics, there isn't always fault to find. Leads are a numbers game. Hardly anyone closes 100% of the leads that come their way – and that's probably for the best anyway! The key is to increase the number of qualified leads you have and minimize unqualified or bad leads before they hit your doorstep.
In this post, I'll share with you the simple tweaks I made, using two systems I already had, that created a huge rush of qualified leads.
I specialize in helping people get the right systems and processes in place for their businesses. So, I'm not afraid of systems. And I'm not afraid of tech. I've used a variety of software as a service (SaaS) tools in my business for years. I've experimented with the best way to generate leads, track prospects, schedule appointments, follow up…you name it!
Before “the change,” I had a contact page with a contact form. I had a services page with a link to my contact page. Pretty simple, pretty standard. But potential clients rarely filled out my contact form. I'd occasionally get replies to email newsletters. Facebook messages. Referrals. But, my website wasn't really compelling potential clients to reach out – not in the numbers I was looking for. When they *did* reach out, they'd usually mention something that caught their attention on my services page or home page. That made me feel good about my copy, but where was the disconnect?
Looking back, there could certainly be a stronger call to action. And, after doing this work for so long, I should understand that sometimes the people that seek me out are so overwhelmed they can't really describe what's going on – they just know they need some help. So, its my job to guide them along. This page wasn't doing that.
For better or worse, because I'm constantly playing around with tools and tech, I'm always eager to improve my own business operations (hey, I've got to practice what I preach, right?). Earlier this summer, I made a change that's already greatly impacted the trajectory of my business this year.
I didn't change my services.
I didn't change my prices.
I didn't redesign my website.
I didn't use any gimmicks, trickery or make any false promises.
I got smarter about my systems. Go figure.
What I Did
I found myself wondering, how do I attract more quality leads? How do I talk to more people who are serious about improving their businesses? And how do I shorten the sales cycle (which was never that long, but why not make it more efficient)?
That's when I decided to pull in the pros.
I've been using Dubsado for a couple of years now. It's a CRM (customer relationship management) that has a whole host of features you can use to manage your business. I use it for contracts, invoices, questionnaires, and the handful of times a year that I have to write a proposal. It does way more than that – things like time tracking, project management, bookkeeping and lead capture and management. I kept telling myself I'd try out the lead gen forms soon. I wasn't in a rush. I'd done it for several clients, I knew it wasn't hard – it just didn't feel that important. I was clearly out of my mind.
I've been using Acuity Scheduling off and on for years – WAY before Dubsado even existed. Acuity helps me save a ton of time when it comes to scheduling appointments (and rescheduling appointments, and canceling appointments…). I love Acuity so much that I became an Acuity Certified Expert (ACE) this year. I've been dropping my scheduling link to clients and podcast guests for years. Occasionally I'd drop a link in my newsletter to encourage people to sign up for a discovery call. People would click. But they wouldn't sign up.
So, one night, probably after an episode of The Handmaid's Tale or The Americans, I went into Dubsado and created a lead form for myself.
I created it in minutes. And I had a really good feeling about it.
First of all, it's action oriented – Let's Get Started!
I added a picture, because people want to know you're an actual human.
I told people what I wanted them to do – and what would happen if they did it. “Drop your information below and set up a time to chat with me about how I can help you eliminate overwhelm and ramp up your revenue.” Because, well, that's what I help people do.
And then I asked for just the essential information. How I could help (not just “send me a message”), when they want to start and what else they want me to know.
Then, I connected my lead form with Acuity – I dropped in my link to that free discovery call I mentioned earlier. I took the embed code that Dubsado provides and pasted it into a page on my website.
So, a lead lands on that page, they submit the form and they immediately get the opportunity to schedule a time to talk to me. I created a similar page for my ACE services and now I create them to give to audiences I speak to at events. 90% of the people who fill out the forms immediately schedule a time to talk. 5% schedule within a few hours and the other 5% don't schedule a call after submitting the form. Regardless of what they do, before we connect I already know about their business and how soon they want to start.
No emails to get extra info.
No chasing them down to schedule a call.
No time spent writing up email reminders about our upcoming call. It's all taken care of.
I've swapped out most of my contact form links and buttons to go to this lead page. I've put it in blog posts and in my email newsletter. The results have been great.
I don't have any graphics of how abysmal my contact form conversion rate was. I know that people look at my contact page every day. I check my spam thinking “I MUST have a message. It MUST be in SPAM. Because people are looking at that page.” Nope.
Less than two months after I created my lead capture form in Dubsado I received 21 *qualified* leads.
Were you expecting me to say 100? I'm flattered.
21 qualified leads is A LOT for a business my size. I cannot work with 21 clients at one time. I enjoy napping far too much for that. And, I was already working with clients when I put this lead form out there.
But also, I got those 21 without running a lead generation ad or, like I said, without changing my services, prices or website design – and without telling people I'd help them make six figures in 30 days.
I used tools that are simple, powerful and affordable. I created a call to action. I asked the right questions – and I made it easy for people to give me the answers and talk to me (on my terms).
And, if you're wondering what happened with those qualified leads, here's the breakdown:
- 9 leads wanted to start working together in 30 days or less – and did. One has completed his project, one is in progress and the other 7 signed on for bigger/longer term projects than what they originally contacted me for.
- 5 are looking for something 30 days out or longer
- 2 ghosted after receiving pricing or proposals, even after agreeing to the pricing during their discovery calls (not ideal, but 2 out of 21 is not too shabby at all!)
- 2 people's problems were so simple I gave them the answer during the discovery call
- 1 had a problem I couldn't solve (the software wouldn't do what she was looking for)
- 1 pretty much assumed she'd get my services at minimum wage – but no time was wasted on a phone call, so that's also great.
- 1 person has an outstanding contract (you're not a client until there's a contract).
So yeah, it's worked pretty darn well. 43% of those leads became clients within a week of filling out a form and having their discovery call. My services are practical, action oriented, change making – and valuable. So, when I talk to potential clients, if we vibe well and I can help them, we often agree to work together.
I've never been interested in chasing leads – I like working with people who are ready to take action and who are excited to work with me. I also don't have time to chase leads. I have to binge watch 30 Rock again, for heavens sake (Liz Lemon is my soul's twin). But if you're willing to put in a ton of elbow grease, you can easily track the status of your leads and log your communications in Dubsado. So, you're covered either way.
Why These Tools?
- I'm already using Dubsado to manage contracts, invoices and payments. The ease of converting a lead into a job/client is worth it. It literally takes one click. So, from the time they inquire to the time we finish working together, I can manage the client relationship and history in one place.
- I didn't have to do anything fancy to connect Acuity to my lead form. All I had to do was paste a link.
- Acuity is easy to use both for my clients and for me. It integrates seamlessly with my calendar, with Zoom (most of my meetings are online), with email marketing and more (my clients typically use more integrations than I do).
- Both companies have great customer service. In fact, they've both got just about the best customer service I've ever dealt with (I never called Zappos).
Can This Work For You?
Were you hoping I'd just say yes? Think again!
If you have a business structure similar to mine (even if you do something completely different), this can work for you, technically speaking.
Of course, results may vary. I've been in business for 12 years, specialized in business systems, operations and project management for the last eight years, I have a mailing list, I create content that drives traffic, and I know what I offer and who I want to work with. So, if you're doing things to generate interest and attract leads, then absolutely these two systems can help you capture and nurture those leads and hopefully turn them into clients!
If you have a radically different kind of business, maybe you just need Dubsado. Or maybe you get tons of people emailing you and all you need to do is throw your Acuity link at them. Maybe you need something else entirely – like if you have retail store or an ecommerce business. You'll be generating leads in other ways.
But, if you've read this far (bless you), the odds are in your favor. And you have nothing to lose by trying.
You can grab a free trial of Dubsado by clicking here. Your trial is good for up to 3 contacts, for an unlimited time. If you decide to subscribe, my affiliate link – or code ‘atthehelm' will save you 20% off your first month or first year.
You can get a 30 day free trial of Acuity by using my link. You don't even need to enter a credit card.
And of course, I'm here to help. If you have questions about your business systems, processes or how to attract and nurture leads in your own business, get in touch with me today.
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