Every business needs prospects to sell to, in order to grow. However, the age old question every business owner is constantly concerned with, is how to acquire new customers at a low or break even cost. When a business is able to solve this problem, the sky’s the limit to how far and how large a company can grow. In this article, you will learn 4 powerful reasons why having an “affinity approach” to your lead generation can accelerate growth while keeping costs low.
An affinity approach can be defined as having a similarity of characteristics. For example, Bob is an avid football fan and meets Jim in line at the grocery store who happens to be wearing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers shirt. Bob and Jim spark up small talk about the super bowl, share their stories, and exchange information. Their affinity for football allows a bond to form.
When put into perspective, having a “cold” conversation with a stranger on a common interest makes it less “cold” and more “warm” therefore more likely to be more pleasant and less “spammy” or awkward.
Low Barrier of Entry
Oftentimes, generating leads may require upfront capital to invest into the campaign build out as well as the advertising campaign expense. There are no cost lead generation initiatives such as content marketing, organic social media messaging, or email outreach. The affinity approach works best in a direct phone call process. There is no cost to picking up the phone and dialing prospects you have something in common with.
A good introductory line should mention your name and the affinity connection. For example, if Bob wanted to speak with business owners in the Tampa Bay area, here’s what Bob would say to start the conversation: “Hello, this is Bob Brown, I do business in the Tampa Bay market and I’m a proud fan of our super bowl champions (with a slight laugh to keep it light). Do you have a quick second to talk?”
One of the biggest fears when approaching a stranger or making a “cold” call is the fear of rejection. Rejection is a legitimate fear, however, having a common interest to break the ice helps to soften the blow or eliminate the blow all together. The beauty with an affinity approach is that the common ground you share actually accelerates rapport building, which in turn moves the conversion away from resistance and into receptiveness.
Endless Pool of Prospects
As multifaceted individuals, we have a plethora of interests that we value. This tremendously opens up the pool for prospecting. Rather than limiting the pool to specific business criteria, in the affinity approach, you use your set of interests to carve out your initial targets to contact.
For example, if Bob is in a fitness network marketing company and is looking to grow his business with other influential and resourceful leaders, he could call on ecommerce store owners that sell sports apparel and use the super bowl champions as the affinity connection to start the initial conversation.
Assuming he has direct contact with the store owner (phone numbers can be found on store websites) “Hello, this is Bob Brown, I’m a big Tampa Bay Bucs fan and very excited about our Super Bowl victory (with a chuckle). Do you have a quick second to talk?” Bob now has the business owner on the phone, a common ground established, and needs to have solid sales skills to move the needle and book the appointment.
With a list of interests and values, coupled with a list of people who share similar interests, you can build an endless set of contact records to dial and prospect. You are only limited by your imagination.
Predictable Lead Generation Process
After removing the barriers of cost, effort, and fear of rejection for your lead generation, creating a predictable process centered around the affinity approach becomes an easy task. Make a list of your interests, build a list of contact with commonalities, set aside time to make your phone calls, then schedule appointments when necessary and move on to the next calls when you come across people who are not interested.
The affinity approach gets your foot in the door, builds rapport quickly, and allows your sales skills to shine. Scheduling a consistent time in the day and blocking out that time frame for affinity calls will establish a healthy routine you can follow, day in and day out.
The affinity approach is a great way to generate qualified leads. As an old school method, it continues to work well in the digital age. This strategy is perfect for B2B companies, solopreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners. It works well if you’re just starting out and don’t have a large budget to invest into lead generation campaigns. It can also serve the seasoned sales team as well.