Relentless Lead Generation

Most business owners spend about 20% of their time generating leads to grow the business. It’s a fraction of what you need.

As a business owner, it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day. Administrative tasks and the like. It keeps you busy, and you feel like you’ve accomplished something at the end of the day. But to propel real growth, you have to focus more on business development, specifically generating a steady stream of good quality leads.

Marketing is the answer. But it’s easy to go wrong there too, using channels that aren’t appropriate for your business or target market. You’re reaching people with your message… but it’s the wrong people.

Let’s explore a more systematic approach, one that works for your business. Tune in to discover…

  • The layered approach to marketing
  • A hidden danger to your business’s longevity
  • The importance of follow-up – and how to keep new leads “warm”
  • A one-two punch approach to lead generation
  • And more

Listen now…

Mentioned in this episode:


Steve Gordon: Welcome to the Unstoppable CEO Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Gordon, and today I’ve got another special episode for you in the series that we’re doing on the Inevitable Growth Scorecard. If you haven’t seen the scorecard yet, you can go to, that’s And you can go through the scorecard, you can get your own growth score in each of the different areas.

There’s eight different mindsets that we’ve observed over the years that our best-performing clients all have in common. And you can score yourself and see where you are and then see where you want to be in, let’s say, 90 days or six months or a year so you’ve got a really clear picture of the areas that you want to focus on to improve your marketing, improve your growth and improve your business. So today, we’re talking about mindset number seven out of the eight that are on the scorecard. And mindset number seven is relentless lead generation.

Generate Leads Relentlessly

And this is, I think this is just a critical mindset if you’re going to be successful in business. You know, I think it was a book by Michael Masterson, Ready Fire Aim, where I first saw this, and he talked about the fact that, you know, as an entrepreneur, you want to set yourself up so that you’re spending close to 70, 80% of your time, focused on growing the business and filling the pipeline and doing all those sorts of things. And now, I can tell you that very few business owners ever hit that.

And actually, most of them have it flipped the other way. They’re spending only about 20% of their time, if that, on business development, lead generation and growth and they’re spending about 80% of their time on other stuff, whether it’s administration, or it’s, you know, client work or things like that. And in service-based businesses, it’s often really difficult to pull yourself out of the client work because, you know, oftentimes you are the product, and really create a system where you’re getting enough time on business development.

So we’re going to talk about a little bit of that today. And I want to walk through these mindsets. So they’re really four different kind of categories of thinking that we’ve seen in business owners around the idea of lead generation. And the first of these sort of on the bottom of the scale is that you’re not getting any consistent lead flow, your pipeline is almost always empty and you worry about where the next client will come from. And I, you know, I hear from business owners that are in that situation all the time.

You know, just, I think, kind of the nature of the business that we’re in and the fact that, you know, we have the podcast and we have a growing email list and, you know, people will email me and they’re in a bind sometimes. You know, if you’re in that spot, you’ve got to really begin thinking about how you’re allocating your time and what you’re focusing on. And a lot of times, folks that are in this situation, they just feel like it’s hopeless.

They’re not any, you know, they think they’re not any good at business development. They think that they, you know, maybe they’re introverted, or, you know, they just feel like they don’t have the skills or it’s something that they don’t want to do. And unfortunately, when you believe those things and you allow yourself to sort of convince yourself that the business development isn’t a skill, it’s got to be something that you’re gifted at, then you sort of end up being stuck. And it’s very, very difficult. You know, I’ve seen business owners are struggling with this where they just, you know, it is almost impossible for them to get going.

And so if you’re feeling like you’re in that spot, the very best thing you can do is begin to get some time on business development and begin to really work on your thinking around that and begin believing that it’s something that you can do. And I know that’s not a trivial thing. I mean, this isn’t about, you know, sitting in the corner of your office and, you know, thinking positive thoughts and manifesting your next client. I don’t believe in any of that. But you do have to begin thinking the right way.

And you do have to begin believing that you can do it. And that’s about the only way out of that mindset. So let’s look at the second of these ways of thinking around lead generation. And the second one is that you’re good in front of prospects, you close deals, but you know you’re not seeing nearly enough people to reach your goals. And this one, I hear an awful lot. You know, I, in fact, I used to joke, you know, I’d have initial conversations with a business owner with a professional and I’d asked them, Okay, out of the last 10 clients that you were, you know, prospective clients, you were in front of, how many of them became clients?

And I started keeping track of the answer and it always worked out to somewhere around 70%. And I don’t know why that is. Now, that wasn’t always reality but that was at least the perception in the mind of the business owner that when they were in front of a potential client, they were pretty good at turning them into an actual client, into a paying client. And you may be sitting there thinking, yeah, you know, once people meet me, once they engage with me, once they see the value that I can deliver, then they want it.

They become clients, you know, you may just be sitting there thinking I’ve got, I’ve just got a really hard time getting them to actually engage with me enough to get there, you know? To get to the point where they know me well enough to really see that I can bring value. And if that’s what you’re thinking, then you get to real lead generation problem. And the good news is you’ve got a really great business. So you’re delivering value. The, once people see the value, they, you know, they make the decision to do business with you.

Getting Your Prospects’ Attention

But you’ve got to figure out how to get in front of more people. And a lot of times when I talk with somebody who is at that place, they are trying anything and everything, or they have tried anything and everything. And a lot of times I see people that just really struggle and try and figure out what’s gonna work for them. And, you know, they go to methods of marketing that you aren’t appropriate in their situation, or they aren’t likely to work anytime soon. So in fact, earlier today, I was talking with a business owner who, you know, was just talking with another marketing firm, and that marketing firm, which, you know, they build websites.

And so the recommendation was that they build a new website. They also create content. So their recommendation was, hey, look, we’ll create, you know, some articles for you. We’ll work on your SEO, we’ll work on your, you know, local business listings and rankings. And, of course, as I’m talking to the business owner, you know, I find out she’s trying to reach a nationwide market. So the local ranking doesn’t mean a whole lot. And she’s got a very specific market that she’s targeting.

And because it’s so specific, she can actually go pull a list of all of the prospects that exist in the country. And it might take some time to compile it, but it’s there. It’s available. It’s relatively easy to find. And certainly, she could build a list of 500 or thousand prospects. And instead, she’s sitting here confused because she’s talking with a marketing firm that wants to, you know, create content and work on SEO and do all those sorts of things, which those are all great.

And for certain businesses, particularly a business where your prospects are invisible, you can’t really see who the next prospect is, those are actually really effective ways of attracting people. But when you’re in the type of business where you can get a list of exactly who you want to do business with, and it’s a finite number and let’s say you can get a list of 250 or 500, or 1000, or 5000 prospects. Well, at that point, you don’t have to invest quite so much in trying to randomly attract an invisible prospect because you can go directly to a very visible prospect.

You’ve got their name, you can figure out where they are, you can find them. And it’s just a faster, more direct way of getting the result that you want. And so sometimes you got to sit back and think about like, what’s actually going to work? Now, you know, I’m not saying that, in that specific example, that’ll work for everybody. The point is, you want to think about what is appropriate for your business and for the market that you’re trying to go after. And then look for ways that you can get in front of that market.

And ideally, look for ways that you can get in front of that market that scale, that don’t, there, you’re never going to find a way that will necessarily eliminate you from marketing altogether. You know, if you’re in a service business where ultimately you’re selling your knowledge and your wisdom, you’re in an expertise-based business, you need an expert in the business, right? People are going to connect with the person behind the expertise. They’re going to want to know who that is. So you can never completely remove yourself.

But you certainly can build a system that really scales. And the way that you do that is you do fewer types of marketing and you focus on getting them, getting one piece working at a time, and then layering them kind of on top so that you’ve got layers of lead generation. You know, my favorite way to do that is to start at the kind of the basic layer with a podcast to build relationships with people who can refer you. At the same time, have a book that you’ve, that really captures your expertise and use the book as the way to generate the lead and use the partners as the source of those leads.

So you can go to your partner and say, Hey, you know, it’s was really great interviewing you on the podcast. And I would imagine, you know, the people in your network are struggling with this particular type of problem that I solve and I wrote a book that would probably really help them because it outlines all the things that they need to know about this problem, all the things they need to know to make the right decision for how to solve it for them, you know, for themselves and I’d love to give it to everybody in your market as a gift. What do you say?

And so then you can have them email that out, email an offer for out, they come to you, they request it, now you’ve got leads coming in, okay? And you’ve got a podcast that helps you continually generate new partnerships, new relationships with people who can refer you. So that’s a never-ending, kind of conveyor belt of new opportunity coming to you. And you’ve got now the podcast content following up with all of the leads that don’t convert right away. And when you put those pieces together, you’ve now got a machine you can do relentless lead generation, okay?

Systematize Your Business

But you’ve only got a few things there. You don’t have to go out and, you know, send 50 LinkedIn connection requests a day. You don’t have to go out and post on Facebook 10 times a day, you know? You don’t have to do a lot of different things. You’ve got one system with a few moving parts and get that working. And then from there, you want to level up and add, you know, a layer of lead generation on top of that, you know? But only do that once you’ve got that kind of base layer working and producing results, you know?

So then the next layer up might be, hey, I can use advertising, whether it’s print advertising, or online advertising or direct mail or whatever, to get in front of this group of people I want to get in front of. Well, guess what, I’ve got a system for that. I got a book that I can offer them. And when they raise a hand for the book, I know they’re a really, really great prospect. And then I’ve got this great follow up system with the podcast content that’s already here and working.

So now when I dump leads into that, you know, I know that I’m gonna get a good result out of it. And then you just add a layer on top of that and a layer on top of that and you kind of keep going. And so that’s how you get out of the position of sitting there going I’m really great in front of people, I’m doing great work, I’m knocking myself out but I just am not seeing enough people. The way to get out of that is systematize it, pick a couple of things, put them in place, get them to the point that you’ve mastered them or get, you know, work with somebody who can get you to that point and then let that run for a while.

Get the pipeline built and then start layering on top over time. All right, so then the third kind of way of thinking or third situation I find people in when it comes to lead generation is when they’ve been in business for a little while and they’ve built up a book of business and the way that I kind of described this is that, you know, your lead generation sort of slows down as you build your book of business.

And you’ve really changed from looking for new leads and new business to looking for new sales to existing clients and looking for referrals. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. And what I see happen a lot of times is that somebody will get to a level of success, they’ll sort of get to the lifestyle that they were hoping to have. And they kind of plateau and they lose a little bit of that fire for growing the business and for, you know, driving new leads, and they’re sort of resting on their book of business.

And nothing wrong with that, you know? If that’s kind of where you’re at and that’s where you want to be, that’s okay. You know, the one thing you got to be careful of, though, is that, you know, you can kind of plateau and it can get to a point where it, you know, if things get a little shaky, you know, it starts to erode really quickly and you’ve lost the capability of really, you know, relentlessly generating leads. And so it’s just, it’s something you need to be aware of if you’re at that point. If you’re happy at that point, great. But you just want to be careful there.

And then the last way of thinking around lead generation, and the one that the most successful businesses that we’ve worked with all have is that they’ve got a team and a system that contact and attract their 100 next best future clients. And they built a system that operates whether they’re working or not. And that doesn’t mean that they’re not involved. You know, if you look at the way we do our own marketing, I’m still involved, you’re still hearing from me, and I think that’s critical. It wouldn’t work as well if you were hearing from somebody on our team.

But I’ve got a system in place so that when you hear from me, it doesn’t take a lot of my time. And I’ve got systems and team in place to multiply the effort that I put in recording this. So I’m going to spend, I don’t know, 20, 30 minutes, whatever it works out to be recording this episode of the podcast. Then it’s going to go to the team and there’s going to be copywriting that’s done and editing that’s done and there’s going to be audio editing that happens.

And then it’s going to go out and be put on social media and snippets are going to be taken out of it. And all that’s going to happen without my involvement, but I’ve designed the system for that to happen. You know, you look at what our clients experience is very much the same. They have an interview, they show up on the interview and then, you know, our team and our systems take over from there and get all of that stuff done for them. And that’s really what, where you want to get to. You want to know who your ideal clients are.

If we go back to mindset number two in this series, which was the target 100 advantage, you know, you want to have that target 100 list, where you know that here are the hundred or the 200 or 250 or 500, whatever that actual number turns out to be. Here are the next group of people that I’m trying to acquire as clients, and that’s your working list, and you’ve got a system in place that’s always going out to that list generating leads from that list and maybe from elsewhere as well, but from that list for sure, because these are the people you’ve identified as the most valuable next client for you.

And you’re constantly working to list and you’ve got a system in place to do that, you got the team in place to do that, you know, so if you look at our business, the way that works, you know, we’ve got that list that target 100 list of people, and we go after him a number of different ways. We go after them from a referral perspective. We go after them, you know, through our network, saying, hey, here are the people we’re looking to connect with. You know, we also go after them.

You know, from an advertising perspective with direct mail, we can reach that small group of people that hundred or 150 people for pennies. And get in front of them directly with an offer for one of my books to try and see, okay, who’s ready now who’s going to raise a hand who wants to play and, and we’re always continually going after that group of people trying to figure out who is ready. Now, I always want to know who’s ready now and bring them into our system because I know our system works.

You know, once they’re in our system, even if they don’t buy right away, they’re going to be, they’re going to be hearing from us on a regular basis. And you want that kind of a system in place where you’re showing up every week or at least every other week, in the lives of all of your best prospects and all of your clients and all of your partners so that you’ve got a relationship with them. That’s so critical. Most of the prospects that you come across aren’t going to buy right now.

You know, you meet them today. They’re probably not. Odds are they’re not ready to buy but they may buy if you’ve chosen them well and chosen those prices. strategically, they very likely will, by in the future, do your job to stay there and stay in front of them. And, and that’s really where this idea of having a team and a system in place to execute on all of that is critical because otherwise it just won’t happen. I mean, I’ve talked with enough business owners over the last decade that I’ve been doing this to know you’re too busy, it’s not gonna happen otherwise.

But the most successful of our, our clients and most successful business owners, I know, have built systems specifically to target those best next customers to stay in front of them weekly, or at least every other week for as long as it takes. And they’re relentless about it. And so this is, I think, a critical, a critical topic. You know, a lot of people talk about doing marketing, but they don’t think strategically about how am I going to generate leads, they look at tactics, and the first thing you need to do is you need to focus on mindset.

What’s the mindset that you want? And then once you’ve adopted that mindset, then what system do I need to build? And what are the pieces of that system that I need to build? And really critically important there is what system is likely to be appropriate for my business and for the market I’m in and that aligns with the way I like to do things? And that’s also important. So I like doing podcasts like this. I like connecting with the guests that we connect with. That’s a lot of fun for me. And so I enjoy doing it.

Play to Your Strengths

Because I enjoy doing it, I’m much more likely to follow through on it. I also like to write. So as I, you know, write books and write articles and things like that, that’s a great part of our marketing. I’m not a big fan of being on video, though. Makes me pretty uncomfortable, frankly. And so you don’t see us putting out a lot of videos where I’m on video and you probably won’t. And that’s okay. Video is great. It’s wonderful. It’s an amazing tool but it doesn’t play to my strengths.

And so you want to think about that as well. You want something that’s going to play to your strengths, and something that you’re going to enjoy because you’re going to be better at it if you do that. So anyway, go get the scorecard, go and get your score, and kind of see where you fall both on what we’ve covered today around lead generation, but also on all of the other different mindsets. And you’re going to get a score for where you think you are today and you’re going to be able to put in a score that, you know, for each of these, where you want to be in the future.

And you get to pick that time horizon, and then look at the differential. And that’ll tell you where to focus on the areas where there’s a big differential. Might be the areas that you really want to focus your attention on next. And so that’s really the purpose of that scorecard is to help you hone in and decide instead of trying to do everything at once, make it simpler and figure out where you want to focus next and then and then do that.

You know, improve that area and then come back and take the score again, you know, once you’ve improved in that area. And then see how you feel and see where you think you ought to then focus, you know, for the next period of time, and by doing it like that you can very simply and very systematically improve your marketing. So go to and get your score.You know, I’d love to hear how you scored yourself, you know, and hear what you think about the scorecard.

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