🎙️Show Notes for Episode 074 of the IC Podcast

Aug 11, 2022
 
 
Balancing lead generation with working on/in your business can be challenging. 
 
If you’re like most independent consultants, lead generation is not your favorite business activity. It feels awkward and uncomfortable. As a result, it’s common to procrastinate, defer and delay your business development routines. This inconsistency creates choppiness (or even a big, gaping hole) in your business development pipeline. 
 
Today, we're going to fix this! 
 
Listen in as I share the 3 red herrings of why we defer lead generation, the 5 most common root causes of procrastination, and the 3-part lead generation procrastination remedy that you can implement for yourself.
 
I challenge you to become the business owner who puts a plan in place and decides to honor it no matter what and then use the tools that I've shared with you today to overcome that procrastination and continue moving forward in your business. 
  • [00:28] Today’s agenda
  • [02:35] The 3 red herrings of why we procrastinate
    • Thinking “I just don't have enough time for business development”
    • Thinking “I just need to get organized”
    • Thinking  “If I just figured out the best way to generate these leads, then”
  • [05:50] The 5 most common root causes of procrastination
    • Scarcity thinking
    • Perfectionist thinking
    • Making it about you
    • Not giving them credit
    • Hiding from discomfort
  • [26:00] The 3-part lead generation procrastination remedy
    • List 1: The top 10 things that I could ask someone in a conversation
    • List 2: Write down what are the top 10 things I could offer to someone
    • Consistently strengthen your business owner mentality
    • Arm yourself with two lists
    • Schedule your lead generation into your calendar
 
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FULL TRANSCRIPT
 
 

**note: This is an automated transcript, so please ignore spelling errors and grammar mistakes*


00:20

Welcome to the podcast. I'm so thrilled you're here. And today, we're going to dive into lead generation procrastination. This is such a trend that I see, both with consulting business owner clients who come to me wanting help with bringing their business to the next level, and just generally in the industry. I think this is such a challenge that so many of us face. Because we're trying to balance running our business with working on, you know, working in our business with working on our business. And quite frankly, lead generation is probably not your favorite thing to do or something you're necessarily comfortable with. And so, as a result, that procrastination comes into play. And on top of the procrastination, I mean, it's a two-fold problem. First, you procrastinate. And then you're not getting the results or that consistency in your business development pipeline. And number two, you end up judging yourself and criticizing yourself, and that inner critic comes out so commonly, and then it makes the problem even worse, right? You're having a problem, and then you're lying on top of it, criticizing yourself for the problem. And it's horrible. It's horrible. So let's fix it today. All right. So today, we'll focus on three things related to lead generation procrastination. First, I'm going to tell you what the red herrings are. So there are three red herrings that we think are the reason we procrastinate, and they're not the reason. So I just want to get that out of the way. And then, we're going to talk about the five most common causes of procrastination. So if it isn't those red herrings causing your procrastination, I may give you many examples. So you can identify for yourself what you might be suffering from here. And then, finally, we'll end up with, I'll share with you, a three-part lead generation procrastination remedy that you can implement for yourself. Now, listen, you might know very well that you're procrastinating. And so this all you know, you're right on track with me here you're tracking, you might think I'm not necessarily procrastinating, I just don't have enough time for business development. And that's a red hit, one of the first red herring; I don't have enough time. That is not a real problem. You're running a business; you need to find the time. You need to make the time. This is important. Otherwise, you don't have a business, right? So saying I don't have enough time is not a root cause of procrastination. That's an excuse. Similar. Similarly, you might be saying to yourself; I don't need to work on lead generation right now because I'm got, you know, a client that I'm working on, or my slate, of consulting clients is full at the moment. So it's not, it's not necessary. That also is not a valid reason to procrastinate or defer lead generation. You might ramp down the activity level but completely ignore it. Because you're on work, you know, you're fully utilized that the moments is a recipe for disaster, right? So that's not a valid reason to procrastinate or defer lead generation. And then finally, another couple of red herrings I just need to get I'm; as soon as I'm organized better, I will then be able to do my lead generation. I can tell you from personal experience that having implemented every sexy software out there, almost Salesforce Pipedrive drive, you name it, creating some amazing process and a piece of software does not make you consistent at lead generation. It just just


04:44

it just delays the inevitable pain that we're trying to avoid. Right. So telling yourself you need to get organized is not a valid reason why your progress is not allowed. A thing to solve your procrastination, I'll say it that way. Let me just tell you how to get organized, open an Excel spreadsheet, and put some columns on it. And now you're ready to go. Like, now that problem is solved. This is not why you procrastinate; you don't have a sound system. The other reason why some people say they're procrastinating, you know, if I just figured out the best way to generate these leads, then I wouldn't have to. I wouldn't need to procrastinate anymore; then, I wouldn't procrastinate anymore. That is also a red herring. There's no, first of all; there's no best way; there are many very effective ways. So pick one that works for you is the best way, and then move forward. That's the best way versus researching, watching webinars, and even listening to podcasts. Those are all just ways to stay in your comfort zone. And you feel like you're learning and becoming an expert when just deferring the work that will create results for you. So these are the red herrings; these are not your causes; being unable to be consistent with your lead generation has nothing to do with time or your system. Or you're figuring out the best way or your level of knowledge, the true root causes of your procrastination. It all comes down to the way you're thinking about lead generation. When you have a high, some of these thoughts are subconscious, and some of them are most of them are subconscious, and some are conscious. Few of them are conscious; to be honest, most of them are subconscious, right? But how you think about lead generation subconsciously leads to either action or inaction. So let me tell you what that means. And then, we'll dive into specific examples to make this even more tangible for you. This means that when you have high-quality business, successful business owner-type thoughts about lead generation, you will naturally fall into action and naturally avoid procrastination. When you think things like lead generation provides value. Conversations with other people as a lead generation method is great for them. And for me and my business. They want to hear from me, like when you're reaching out and doing networking as a lead generation method, for example, those types of high-quality thoughts, of course, if you think I have something valuable for them, it's going to be so much easier to book the time on your calendar and get on the schedule and have those conversations than it is for you to when you start thinking things like I'm bothering them, or I don't know what I'm going to say, or I don't know, I don't I should probably figure out how to how to move someone from a first conversation to the contract close before I ever talk to anyone. Those are low-quality thoughts. Those things keep you in an act in inaction, right, in inaction, not taking action. When you think about lead generation as something difficult, some as something hard, or something awkward, of course, you're going to procrastinate. When you think about lead generation as something valuable, something that's easy, and something that you're good at, you get to decide all of this for yourself.


08:49

There are no facts in the world that say either you're good or you're bad at this is a way you think about yourself and yourself as a business owner, giving yourself the benefit of the doubt. That creates the momentum for you to stay in action and overcome procrastination. So that is the root cause of your procrastination at a high level. Let me give you some very, very specific root causes now. So you can see how this thinking, how the high-quality and low-quality thinking come into play. And also, as I go through these five root causes, I'm going to share with you an example real-life example of each one and how to fix it and how to overcome it so you can move out of procrastination into consistent action. So let's start with number one.

Root Cause number one of your lead generation procrastination is what I call what is called in the world. I didn't make this up. If you've done any type of professional development, it will sound familiar to you is called scarcity thinking. So what this looks like what means is when you start thinking that there's some finite amount of opportunity for you, then, of course, you start kind of freezing right and not procrastinating because you don't want to, quote-unquote ruin that opportunity. Because it's finite, it could go away from a thought process perspective. So the scarcity thinking looks like something like, I don't want to waste my chance with this person. So if we're using a lead generation example of networking, or talking with another human being when you think something like, I don't want to waste my chance, of course, you're going to procrastinate because you're you focusing on the worry of what could go wrong. So an example here, I had a client who was starting to have a lot of clients under her belt, but she wanted to get to a very consistent, repeatable, and predictable lead generation routine. And so she started by just really taking an inventory of her network, and figuring out what, you know, who she might want to start talking with, to, you know, start building a pipeline and that kind of thing. So she decided networking was going to be her lead generation method. And so from there, what she did was made, you know, made this inventory and started reaching out to people and wasn't really getting much traction. And so as I started asking her a lot more questions, we figured out, because she was reaching out to strangers, she was reaching out to people who seemed like, quote, unquote, safe people to talk to. Basically, she didn't know, who didn't know her, who was kind of tangential to watch her industry. But it felt safe, right? And so the reason why she was doing this was she wanted to keep those really good potential leads, save them, save them for later when she felt like she would be more competent. And I know so many of you do this; you will probably do this. And at least now, if not in the past. It's sorry, if it leads to the past, if not now, right? So you're just like saving this thing, say saving it for a rainy day hoping that you'll be you know, use it when you're good at lead generation. And so as we started working on this together, we realized that she was in such a scarcity mindset. So the awareness for her, first and foremost, was important to see how she was doing this. And then we put it into perspective for her. And for her, what clicked is like this, you can't waste a chance; you might have a conversation that doesn't necessarily go well. But that doesn't mean that it's going to waste that chance, quote, unquote, with that person forever. And quite frankly, have a lot of these reps under your belt doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to have a great conversation with that particular person in three months versus now. Also, you can't ruin your reputation in one conversation. And there isn't some finite number of potential clients; you might be like this client is in a specific niche. That doesn't mean that if you have one conversation that doesn't necessarily go the way you want it to, you've ruined your chances in that entire industry. And let's just go to the worst-case scenario, let's say that you do ruin your chance, something happens, and you end up ruining your reputation in a given industry, and you can't work there ever again, which, believe me is incredibly rare. I'm sure you would agree with that on illogically. There are always so many other opportunities to pivot into other industries or other solutions that


13:49

you might offer. So it is important for you to see where you may be having scarcity thinking and get yourself into the zone of really thinking about it from a different perspective. Well, number one, being aware of it. And then, number two, get yourself into the perspective to say it's seen that the stakes are truly not that high. When it comes to having conversations with other people, whether it be networking or talking with people about potentially speaking for their organization, whatever it is if you take the stakes down, you're going to be so much more you're going to overcome the procrastination. You're also going to come off so much better than if you're creating this amount of pressure and bar for yourself. Okay, root cause number two of procrastination as it comes to your lead generation is perfectionist thinking. Perfectionist thinking this sounds like I need to figure out the best way as if there is the best way. I can assure you I don't know. There are probably 20 3040 different ways for you to generate leads. If you were to just list them all out, there's no very best way; there's a way that works for you, that you can be consistent at. And that resonates with your ideal client; for the most part, that involves you having a conversation, networking, and having conversations with ideal clients, ideal referral partners, and just people who can connect you to others. But what happens when we think there's this right or the best way? We end up down that trap that I mentioned earlier, the endless research and the endless planning. And I had a client who was kind of stuck in this cycle, you know, having a hard time getting out of the perfectionist vortex. And so what we ended up doing is, again, just really recognizing that what was happening was important, because so it's so easy to look on the surface like, well, I better just figure it out, get all my ducks in a row first, and then start working on my lead generation sounds so logical. But as we realized they were doing this to avoid the discomfort of having conversations and maybe not going anywhere or feeling rejected, or whatever it was, we figured that out, that was the blocker. And then they could shift into what's called Imperfect Action mentality. So look, we don't know what the outcome is going to be of one specific conversation. And when you look at imperfect action, let me have a lot of conversations, for example, or let me do whatever your lead generation method is. A lot of those things, and some will lead somewhere; some aren't. And it doesn't have any control over a specific conversation isn't what we're looking for; we're looking for the bigger picture, which is to have a lot of activity and ultimately get the result. And so that's what we were able to do: get into that imperfect action to say, there's no perfect way of doing this; we're just going to do a lot and just keep getting better as we go. And ultimately, for this client, what ended up happening is they had a, you know, I don't know 20 conversations or something. And one of those will probably be the least likely, on paper, to lead to an introduction to someone else that led to another introduction. So some bread crumbs led to a multi-six-figure contract; we had no idea what would happen. And we had no control over the exact steps, right? But what we did is we were able for her to drop the perfectionism and then focus on just getting into action and being open to whatever would come from it. And that's how that unfolded. And I see that so often for clients when they're able to just kind of drop the expectations and have human conversations; they're able to things happen that they least expected. So if you think about it, if you're getting stuck in perfectionism, just take away that expectation layer and get into some curiosity so that you can move forward and break out of the procrastination cycle. Okay, root cause number three, making it about you. Making it about you, I get why you might make it about you. We all do this because we're ultimately selling our services. And we are the one who delivers it.


18:40

It isn't about you. So, for example, if you're doing some networking as a lead generation method, what happens often is thoughts like, I don't want to be needy, I don't want to come across as needy. I feel bad asking people for things. I don't want to ask for help. Does that sound familiar? And so then you another one that I hear from clients is I don't want to I don't want them to think I can't run my business on my own. Like I need someone else to help me do it. That's not what we're doing here. This isn't about you. This is about you having conversations, you having interactions with other people, getting to know them, making a connection with them, to have a conversation with them to understand what their challenges are. And then to offer something of value to them. Something of value, it might be your services. It might be a recommendation, the next step of some sort, or an introduction for them. You're not going in there with the perspective of I'm going to turn this person I'm talking to him into a client; you're going into this conversation or this interaction from a lead generation mindset. I'm just curious to find out what they might need. And how I might help them turns it into about them versus about you. And that can take away the obstacle or the barrier and the procrastination that comes with it in such a simplistic way. So, think about whether you are getting in your way because you're making this about you. And then reframe it into? How do I make this about them, being curious, and quite frankly, just treating it like a consultative conversation, so you can find ways to help them? And naturally from that, the lead generate leads occur. All right, root cause number four, not giving them credit, not giving them credit. So this sounds like, I don't want to waste their time, or this, this, this won't be a benefit for them. It's just for me when you're thinking about interacting with other people for lead generation, so often we make decisions on their behalf about what's important to them. Oh, I know, they're really busy. I don't want to, you know, I don't want to impose, why are you making decisions on their behalf, let them they're an adult, let them make their own decisions. I had a client to story on this one for you; I had a client who told me, you know, look, palsa I, I have exhausted my warm network, everyone I know, I don't want to return to them and waste their time. And so we need to focus on like automating my lead generation. And I said, you know, there is a time to automate lead generation, but you're at a stage in your business for this particular client, and most likely for yours. That having conversations is the lowest hanging fruit. This is the most direct way to generate leads versus trying to automate something or make it a mass marketing effort. So I started questioning why you think your network is, quote, unquote, exhausted, and then he started sharing Well, I'm just, I just don't want to waste their time; I've already had these conversations with them. And in some ways, as I dug even more in our coaching call, those conversations were two or three years ago. So clearly, something could have changed in the last three years. So that's not exhausted; we can always circle back. And then, as we dug in more, we realized he hadn't talked to he probably talked to 10% of his warm network; there was a 90% that was still outstanding that he had written off for some reason or the other, which all folds into not giving that other person credit for being open to having a conversation or letting them decide. And so, as we dug into this, we realized that there was such an untapped potential for this particular client to just have conversations, not 50 of them a week. Still, just a couple of weeks to talk with his network, find out what's happening, what's keeping those former colleagues, friends, and acquaintances up at night. And, again, just figuring out where might he recommend that, that he could solve their problems, help them solve their problems, but instead, he was deciding for them that he knew better than they shouldn't waste their time on him.


23:39

Let them decide if it's a waste of their time. First and foremost, you decide it isn't a waste of their time, that you're helping add value to their life in some way. And then let them decide to put the ball in their court. And then if you're getting rejected, you know, quote, unquote, rejected, which means maybe they don't respond, means maybe they say no, or maybe they say, maybe later, whatever it is, then you get to, you get to be the business owner who's good at handling whatever comes back at you, but don't decide for them that's in their court, put the invitation out there. Then you'll see how much more people are willing to have human conversations when you're approaching it that way. Right? So that's root cause number four, giving them credit for making their own decisions about whether or not they will talk to you and have a networking conversation or whatever type of conversation that might be from a lead generation perspective. Okay, and then finally, the root cause number five of your procrastination is just really hiding. You hide from the discomfort of feeling rejected; you hide from The discomfort of feeling fear. Where are you hiding? One way this comes out so often is a thought process that this regeneration method in my business should be scalable. And by scalable, we, in this case, most people mean, well, it should be repeatable, and probably very little human touch. And somehow, the leads just pop up for my business, and then I can move forward. I hear this often. Sometimes people come to me and say, well, I should run some kind of ads, or I should have a really heavy content strategy to generate leads. And the truth of the matter is there truly are some points and inflection points in your business where this makes perfect sense as a strategy to automate some lead generation. But for the most part, for independent consultants, this is not the first, second, third, or fourth strategy you should be thinking about when it comes to lead generation. What's most effective for independent consultants as it relates to lead generation is having conversations with either your ideal client potential client or people who might refer you to your ideal potential client. It's as simple as that. But a lot of times, we like to hide, we like to hide behind some idea that automation will be more effective, which is just an elegant way, or a sexy way of trying to avoid that rejection, to avoid feeling like a failure. And so it sounds real, it sounds really good to say, well, I'm going to automate all of this. But at the end of the day, what you're doing is avoiding that discomfort of rejection, avoiding that discomfort of failure, whatever your perceived failure is, and avoiding feeling inadequate. That's really what it comes down to. And so the fix here is being aware of where you're doing this. Where this hiding concept is creating procrastination or avoidance for you. And then overcoming it with the concept of walking before you run. We'll have some conversations don't with ideal potential clients and, or speaking engagements. You can scale that way, right, where you're speaking to a group of your ideal clients,


27:39

meet with people who could refer you. Maybe they have some kind of parallel offering where you both are serving the same type of audience; those are the things that move the needle and directly impact your business. So you're not procrastinating through trying to accomplish something far advanced and beyond where you're at in your business and not applicable to what you're doing. Okay, those are the five root causes scarcity thinking, perfectionist thinking, making it about you, not giving them credit, and hiding behind some seemingly elegant solution that you want to put in place, which allows you to just avoid the discomfort. So with that, let's talk about that procrastination, procrastination remedy that I told you I would give you the procrastination remedy. So to overcome procrastination in your lead generation process, there are three things here. The first is consistent; create a practice for yourself to consistently strengthen your business owner mentality. So you're constantly redirecting your thinking into those higher quality thoughts I shared with you versus the lower dollar quality thoughts. So you can just look at it in kind of three buckets. What are your thoughts about yourself, as it relates to lead generation, something like faux, you know, really purposefully and intentionally thinking about yourself as someone who adds value and creates connection? Not someone who's needy and looking for someone else to help them. Then consistently strengthening your thoughts about other people, the other people thinking on purpose, they're receptive, thinking on purpose, this is valuable for them thinking on purpose that they get to decide if this is important for them right now. And if not, it doesn't mean anything about you. And then thirdly, strengthen your thoughts about the process. Thinking about conversations, in general, will lead me to opportunities, and I don't have to control the outcome of any given conversation to be successful. There are thinking about the process in the sense of abundance, right? That there are so many opportunities, I could never ruin something by having a one-off conversation. So that's step one, strengthen your business owner mentality. Step two, go sit down and arm yourself with two lists. I love doing this; sit down and ask yourself, what are the top 10 things I could ask someone in a conversation I'm having with them? could be things like, you know, do it? Are you a member of an association that is looking for speakers? It could be, you know, is there someone in your organization? Who is having this challenge? Would you introduce them? To me, whatever it is, just think about what could those 10 possible things be that you might ask someone, so you've got that, you know, armed. And when you're having these conversations, it can flow off your tongue better? If you kind of grease the skids here a little bit for yourself. And similarly, write down what are the top 10 things I could offer to someone. In addition to your services, I could offer an introduction to someone could offer an article to someone I could offer I would write a white paper for a given challenge they might have, whatever it might be, what could I offer someone that doesn't relate to them buying anything from me. Still, it's just me giving them value. And then finally, very tactically, schedule your lead generation into your calendar; we need to overcome the procrastination; we understand what's creating the procrastination, one of those five root causes, if not all of them. But you've got to be able to become the business owner who puts a plan in place and decides to honor it no matter what, even though you're feeling insecure, even though you're feeling inadequate, even though you're feeling uncertain, even though you're worried about being rejected, or having a failure, whatever it is, schedule, your time and your lead generation in your calendar for lead generation daily or weekly basis, and then honor it no matter what be aware of what might be trying to talk you into procrastinating, and then use the tools that I've shared with you today to overcome that procrastination, and continue moving forward with imperfect action. All right. So that's what I've got for you today. I want to also just really


32:37

emphasize for you, if you haven't done it already, go take the assessments. I've created two assessments to give you insight into your business. The first is the recession readiness assessment. We discussed it in the last week's episode; take that assessment. It's at ICassessment.com. And it will walk you through a series of questions and then give you a report at the end about where you can prioritize readiness for the recession. And then, similarly, go take the business scaling assessment. It will give you a report you'll answer. I think it's 26 questions. And then, we'll give you a detailed report about where your business is set up well and positioned well for scaling. And then the areas where you would want to dive in and strengthen those weaker areas. So that gives you a really good blueprint in terms of scaling. And by scale, I just want to be clear, that doesn't mean you have to grow or create some massive business with a bunch of subcontractors and team members. What it means is you're increasing your income and your revenue. And you can do that by working smarter, fewer hours more efficiently. And it doesn't have to mean that you're creating some complex organization, so be sure to go to that icscorecard.com. So be sure to go take those two assessments. And I will see you again next week. Take care.

 

 

 

 

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