Episode 8: The Startup’s Guide To Lead Generation with Cesar Teague

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As a startup entrepreneur, generating leads to your business must be your number one priority. Cesar Teague, an experienced business coach helping entrepreneurs from minority to multi-cultural backgrounds, is your go-to man. He aims to assist small business owners to find leads, present their value effectively, and convert leads to paying customers. He shares the tools he uses with clients to train them in organizing their thoughts quickly, creating a presentation with impact, and accelerating sales for their small business.

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Episode 8: The Startup’s Guide To Lead Generation with Cesar Teague

Are you an entrepreneur or small business owner who’s struggling to find leads or converting those leads to long-term paying customers? In this episode of Guiding You Through The Maze, I have the pleasure of speaking with Cesar Teague, an experienced business coach who could help you do that. I’m very excited to speak with Coach Cesar Teague, who helps entrepreneurs, especially those from minority cultural backgrounds, develop the skills to both find leads, present to them effectively and ultimately convert them to paying customers. Welcome, Cesar. It’s a pleasure to be speaking with you. We’d start by talking a little bit about yourself and why it is you’re motivated to help small business owners.

Thank you for having me, Lisa. There are some interesting statistics that are out there, which I’m not going to go into all the details. In terms of small businesses, SBA, Small Business Administration is defining that as those that are within 500 employees or less. There’s a significant amount of failure rate in small businesses as well as with good startups. Even after they received funding, something like $1 million in funding, eighteen months later, 70% fail. The idea is that I wanted to help small businesses. I’ve been doing volunteer work for twelve years locally here in San Francisco up there in Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center as well as the Silicon Valley Ignite Academy and the former Venture Greenhouse. I’m passionate about supporting entrepreneurs and small business. I decided to focus on helping them to succeed because I believe in what Zig Ziglar said that “If you help enough other people get what they want, you’re going to get what you want.” That’s what I’m focusing in on. I am focused on minority small business owners, women-owned businesses, as well as multicultural business owners in general. I’m a part of that personally. That’s why I created this Accelerate Program that I have.

One of the reasons that the name of this podcast is called Guiding You Through The Maze is because a lot of times even as small business owners, it’s like you’re trying to figure it out. You go down one avenue, it doesn’t work. You try a different one, it doesn’t work. A lot of times, unfortunately, the funding runs out before you figure it out. To have a coach like yourself who can eliminate some of those pitfalls while there are still some cashflow there, it can be crucial from making the difference between succeeding and having to try something else. It’s such a valuable service you are providing. One of the tools you use with clients is your RESONATE messaging for result’s 5P Formula Template. I was hoping you can walk us through the different components of this process to help us understand how entrepreneurs in our audience might use it to create more effective presentations.

The 5P Formula Template is a part of the RESONATE Method. I have the wheel, which talks about the steps of working either with prospects or with clients. If you’re trying to get some type of commitment from partners or even investors, one has to follow a certain format to do that. The 5P Formula Template is part of the connect, convey, collaborate, convince and close methodology. The template itself helps folks to ensure that they’re hitting on those five areas, given the amount of time you have to present your case or your demo or what have you. Most of the time people end up getting a lot less time than they thought they had and so then what do you do?

Connecting is a daily thing. Click To Tweet

When you have a template or a blueprint like this, you can quickly modify what to do or how to adjust it in terms of the time that you have. What ends up happening is I noticed through my 30 years of experience in sales and marketing and working with sales teams and with business development folks that what they tend to do is they tend to rush through their presentation, sticking to what they had, even if they had half the time to deliver it. What happens then is you have no impact. The message that you’re trying to send across doesn’t land because you’re blowing through everything. The template helps somebody to organize their thoughts very quickly without leaving out some of the key information there.

The 5P Formula itself is that the P stands for position. It’s position yourself and your audience is the first one. The second one is to position the problem. Not your problem, but what’s the problem that your audience is having. That requires some research and some ideas to share because some people may not be aware of their own problem they have. They’re so busy focusing on their business that we want to be able to help them understand that, “You’re missing out on this or you don’t realize it. Here are some of the issues that are challenging folks in your industry.”

We have to position the problem well is the second P. The third P is to then, at that point, collaborate with a client and do some effective discovery or ask some diagnostic questions prior to then presenting any solution, which is part of the third P now is positioning your solution. Typically, it’s always a good idea once you’re talking about a solution, is to add some type of story. Some type of a success story or what they call anecdotal evidence that’s relevant to the particular client, prospect or investor that you’re speaking with in that industry. You want to have a relevant example that you’re giving up a success story.

It helps to make it more concrete for them.

GYTM 8 | Lead Generation

Lead Generation: When you’re doing sales presentations, what you present has to be very highly relevant to the case that you’re discussing, and leave it at that.

 

You’ll probably notice that or maybe not, I don’t know how involved people are out in the field. When they’re looking in different sales presentations, folks will put up a slide that has all the different logos of the companies that they serve. That’s great. People don’t put much value on that. They want to know, “What are you going to do for me?” We’re all tuned into that famous radio station, the WIIFM, What’s In It For Me? What you present has to be very highly relevant to that case that you’re discussing and leave it at that. A lot of folks also start to talk about, “We can do this and we can do that.” They start layering on the different solutions that they provide. What ends up happening is that you have somebody in the other end that’s a little bit more confused or overwhelmed.

Do you know what happens when people are confused and overwhelmed? They don’t do anything. They shut down. They don’t make a decision. They said, “Forget it or let me think about that,” or whatever it is. We have to be careful. That’s doing appropriate discovery very important. The solution that’s relevant to that is also key. Your fourth P is to position your proof. What third-party evidence do you have available? Whether it’s research by Gartner, one of the research companies in our constellation or what have you. Share information that’s not coming from you or coming from your clients, but it’s coming from an industry or trade association, etc. to be able to position the proof to support your overall solution.

Increasing the credibility for sure. It’s not because you said it or because your clients said it. It’s because an independent objective party mentions this. If available or if it’s not always available to everybody but where it is. That takes a little bit of research to do. It’s part of your messaging work. Culminating in your fifth P, which is to position your call to action. What is it that you want the other person to think, feel and/or do? Sometimes the next call to action is to move on to the next meeting. Perhaps you realized that this is a complex sale or especially if a small business wants to grow their selling to mid-market companies or to enterprise companies. That’s where I’m specializing in helping them, in B2B.

It’s still a bit more complex. The next step may not be signed on the dotted line. It may be, “We want you to meet with four other people,” because there are some stats being shared there by CSL Insights, for example, that there’s now something like 6.8 decision-makers on the complex sale on average, which is up from five folks a few years ago. Your call to action might be different in that scenario, in a B2B complex sales or whatever the next step is that you want to get to. When you’re putting together this template, it is the best place to start that whole begin with the end in mind. You start with identifying and clarifying what is my call to action here? You work down from one to four. That’s the way to do that. It’s very unique to each person whatever the product or services that you’re selling as a small business that you’re trying to grow their sales in that. The 5P Formula is one template that we are using in this RESONATE Method, which is part of the Accelerate Program, which is to help accelerate sales for a small business.

It would be very important to define who your ideal target clients are. Click To Tweet

One of the things that you talked about was helping to define the problem for them. One of the most important things about that is as a small business owner, you want to understand that this coach or this program and the people in this program understand you. They get your day-to-day struggles here. It’s like if you’re a small startup that’s trying to pay the next bills and someone’s talking about like, “If you have a budget of $50,000,” that people are going to say, “That would be ideal,” but that’s not the reality here. I love when you’re focusing on that and communicating to your potential audience, “I understand what your day-to-day struggle challenges are.” You’re taking some time to demonstrate that to them and build a connection with your audience that some people might jump over.

That’s why it’s important to do that. There are some tools out there, speaking of that connection which the first step in the RESONATE Method is who are you going to connect with? It will be very important to define who your ideal target clients are. That sounds very easy to do. It takes a bit of testing because it’s not necessarily the case that what you think your ideal target client is, is necessarily the best one or there’s more than one. You have to test it. That’s part of the art of the marketing side of it. Connecting with folks is I use LinkedIn. I’m very active there. Certain people are welcome to connect with me because I have a rather large network. There’s got to be somebody in my network that can help support a small business in one way or the other.

The right folks are very important. Part of the work that we do is identifying who that is. Once you identified that, then it’s developing the messaging and the approach to do an outreach program both on LinkedIn, on that platform and also off of LinkedIn, outside of that platform. That’s the approach that we do in the Accelerate Program because it takes eight or nine touch points these days to be able to progress a sale forward to fruition. The majority of people give up after two or three. Something like 75% of folks give up after the third try. When you’re a small business owner, you don’t have time to be chasing all these folks. As small business owners, we all know we’re wearing multiple hats. It’s hard to focus on one thing. It’s very interesting. Focusing is a very difficult thing to do when you are wearing multiple hats.

I’m not necessarily working directly with the business owner themselves because they’re trying to run their business. Usually, there might be somebody like a sales manager, a business development manager or even a marketing person that is the one that’s doing the day-to-day. When you’re connecting, it’s a daily thing. It’s not like, “Once a week I want to do some sales.” I’m not telling you anything you don’t know but that’s the issue of the cashflow, which is the number one reason that businesses fail. That’s how we started the conversation was that the cause for high failure rates is due to cashflow. If you don’t have some system or process in place to ensure that you’re getting a steady stream of highly qualified prospects that are raising their hand and interested in speaking with you, you may end up being one of those statistics.

GYTM 8 | Lead Generation

Lead Generation: Focusing is a very difficult thing to do when you are wearing multiple hats.

 

You talked about some of the outreach, especially like you do a lot on LinkedIn. Can you give us some example of a typical outreach program you might help a small business design?

I get five or six messages a week, both on LinkedIn and off of LinkedIn for folks who are offering various types of lead generation and appointment setting programs using either LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all these things. I don’t know if you receive those as well. Perhaps other folks get those as well. The issue where I come in is what do you do when you have the appointment? That’s where I use my RESONATE Methodology to help accelerate that process. The sales, closing ratios, the number of folks that are being converted from the prospect into an actual sale, which is going to maximize the deal flow. There are lots of services that do straight ahead lead gen and appointment setting but what do you do once you have those?

That’s where I come into to coach and support with that, looking at your tools, your process and any methods that you have as well as your presentations. I’m looking at the content and the delivery aspects of it to create greater impact and maximize your sales and deal flow. That’s in a nutshell what that’s about as far as connecting with people. The step is researching first your ideal target audience where that may be. It’s typically on LinkedIn. You cannot choose by the sales volume. You have to select by the employee size of the company in particular target industries. You can go deeper into particular profiles or what they call avatars. You’re going after the CTO or the VP of Sales or director of IT. It depends on the products and services that you have as a small business.

We identify who are those key target profiles to go after and which industries and which location. Maybe you want to focus on California or you can do nationwide. It doesn’t cost any more to expand your reach. Once you’ve identified that, then you have your messaging. The sequence of the messaging is to first connect with them. It’s very important that I should warn folks to understand that don’t do what the typical folks are doing out there now, which is they’ll connect with you now and then the next day you’ll see a pitch from them immediately. The caveat there is to not do that and not use that approach because you’re burning the bridge. Unless somebody is the perfect timing for what you have, then you might get something. The chances are folks are going to ignore your message and not want to add value to it. You have to start off by connecting with folks.

When you're able to see the body language, you'll be able to convey better what you have to offer than just a straight phone call. Click To Tweet

Perhaps sharing something of value like an article or some type of a template that you may have. I have my 5P Formula Template so I offer that as a giveaway, “Here’s something I use.” You start with that first. Maybe in your third message, you can talk a little bit about, “I hope you liked that. Here’s what I’m doing. Let me know if you or somebody in your circle of influence could leverage what I’m doing with my program or with my services and let’s network about it. Let me know how I can support you from folks in my network.” That’s what the platform is about. That’s the connect part of that whole process. It does take a few messages to do that. Not everybody is checking their LinkedIn messages. Even though the message you sent on LinkedIn goes to the person’s email address, they may not get it.

I know at times I feel overwhelmed by the amount I sometimes get.

It can be a lot. After about three or four messages on LinkedIn, I then take it off of LinkedIn and do direct emailing. Most of the time we are using the emails of folks that they have utilized for their LinkedIn account, which could be a different email than their main email. There are different tools out there to use for capturing both their email that they use for LinkedIn and as well as other services that provide emails for folks. That’s the one best way to do that. If somebody is interested, the approach is that you can have and add your calendar invite and things of that nature. Schedule where people can go ahead and schedule a time with you directly that’s convenient for them. That’s another approach that we do is to build in your own Calendly invite. It’s a free service that you can use for booking time with Google Calendar or whatever tool that you want to use. There are a few of them. Whatever it is, it’s best to have one tool.

I do both the online calendar. I have my trusted Franklin Planner, the old-fashioned way. There’s a reason for that. You have your daily appointments section but to the left of that, you also have the ability to prioritize your daily tasks. You can mark whether you completed it, forwarded, deleted or delegated it, one of the four. You have to be constantly identifying that. I coach people on that as well as here are some of the tools I’m using to keep you organized. That’s the connect portion, your self-organization piece, which is often you do a lot of work of that on the onset. Otherwise, the rest of the work that you do later in terms of conveying the problem that the person has in their industry area. Finding out, doing some discovery with them about, what’s going on is not going to be strong unless you’ve done the work well in the front end.

GYTM 8 | Lead Generation

Lead Generation: You may not have your own book, but even if you’re sharing an article that is relevant, it builds that credibility, trust, and likeability factor because what you’re sharing is resonating with the folks you are targeting.

 

In your method, I hear the need to build a relationship with the person. You start off with value. You start off with not only showing and giving that person value but also demonstrating your expertise and saying, “This is what I’m about. This is what I know. This is what my experience is.” I agree that many people seem to jump into that to try to make the sale far too quickly.

You may not have your own book that you’ve written. Most people don’t have their own book or eBook. Even if you’re sharing an article that’s relevant that you didn’t necessarily write. In LinkedIn, you can post articles that you like. You’re starting to build that credibility, trust and likeability factor because perhaps what you’re sharing is resonating with those folks that you are targeting. That’s the idea there. It may take a little bit of time. You’re planting the seeds early and you’re doing this in the consistent process so that you’re getting about ten to twenty people a month, raising their hand and saying, “I’d like to speak to you about what you’re doing.”

Those are the results that I’m getting for clients. That’s what we try to target with it. It sounds easy but it’s not. There’s a number of folks I mentioned earlier that are generating leads and appointments. What is it that you’re doing with that after or when you get on the call with them? Are you meeting with them in person? Usually, it’s a phone call or some type of Zoom or Google Hangouts meeting initially. Going through the next step from there because when you’re selling to B2B, there’s usually a few conversations. It’s not a one-call-close type of thing. Depending on the complexity of what your products and services are, it will require multiple decision-makers involved and therefore multiple conversations.

You want to make it as easy as possible. I like your idea of using Calendly. You don’t want to create any hurdles for that person to then connect with you. You make it as easy as possible. If we get someone that says, “I want to make an appointment with you.” What are the next key steps? We’ve been able to generate the lead. We’ve got a qualified lead here. They’ve clicked on the Calendly link. I’m ready to meet with them. Now what do I do?

When there's clarity, there's a lot greater chance for success and moving forward to the next step. Click To Tweet

Before the person meets with you, it’s important to share something again of value prior to the meeting. 24 to 48 hours before the actual appointment timeframe, you could share something preferably that’s very relevant to the conversation you will be having with him on your appointment. You could share a PDF or you could share something that outlines a little bit about your product and services, real bullet points, thousand-foot view, not too much detail which emphasizes some of the benefits of your solutions. They’ll tend to come to the meeting better prepared because presumably, they’ve read it. That’s one approach that we take.

Prime them for the meeting or sometimes we’ll ask a couple of questions of them and ask them to prepare one or two things, not too much. You outline, “Here’s what we’re going to talk about. Here are the top three things, this, this and this and be prepared with that so we can have a productive conversation.” That’s an important layer to factor in prior to the call so that they’re primed. Once you have the call, I do recommend using the Zoom or Google Hangouts on a video call because you’re able to see body language. You’ll be able to convey better what you have to offer than just a straight phone call. I’ve tested it myself and I see better results from a video call versus a phone call.

It’s easier to build rapport. It’s easier to see if your message seemed to be being well-received or are they zoning out or do they look confused? It’s easy to read those things.

You can also do screen sharing. When people want to know some details and some people are a lot more detail oriented than others. I’m a pretty detailed oriented person. I want to see exactly what’s this going to look like? For example, we have a report that shows what’s transpired during the week. How many leads were received? How many of those were hot, warm, what have you? You have some report like in a dashboard. I can talk about it until I’m blue in the face but you still won’t understand it. If I show it to you using Zoom or some video conferencing device. You can see it very clear and you can understand. When there’s clarity, there’s a lot greater chance for success and moving forward to the next step.

GYTM 8 | Lead Generation

Lead Generation: Your call to action is depending on what was discussed and what transpired during that conversation to see what the next steps are.

 

It’s a very powerful tool in terms of your showing a picture can convey a message very quickly and much more powerfully.

Those are some of the tools that you want to use during the sales process. There are some other tools as well as CRM and things of that nature. That’s more on the back end. It helps you to be productive and organized as well. As far as the client facing tools, that’s very important to be able to do an appropriate little demo of what you have to offer.

That’s all part of the convince step of the process?

It’s the collaborate and convenience part. The collaborate piece is before you share some solutions, you’re talking about you doing some discovery. You’re collaborating on what are some of the challenges that are there. You share some ideas on how some other folks have resolved some of those challenges. That’s the collaborating piece. Once you’re demonstrating some of the ways that folks have to resolve those challenges, you are inherently talking about the solution that you’re offering for that particular challenge. You need to identify what are the main key challenges that folks are facing. The convince piece is more about using some success stories and some third-party proof for that.

The last step is the close. Is there any key piece of advice for the close?

The close is the call to action section of your 5P Formula is what we’re using for that. The idea is to keep it short and sweet. When you say close or your call to action is depending on what was discussed and what transpired during that conversation to see what are the next steps. It’s usually good to ask a question at that point. Ask, “How would you like to move forward?” Go from there because that can mean different things for different people.

Then put it into some concrete step.

Before you get off the call, it’s very important that you schedule and pencil in what is the next step, when and who’s going to be involved. More importantly is it’s what both parties to this relationship or this conversation are going to do, “I’m going to take care of this, you’re going to do that. Together we’re going to move forward and go to the next step.”

I love the way you’ve outlined it step by step. It allows people to think through each step. Once you have that template, then when you need some flexibility to shorten it or to expand on it, you’re in a much better position to be able to do that. It’s a wonderful program that you’ve put together with the Accelerate Program. I know many business owners would benefit from your guidance in working with you. Do you have any final words of wisdom or advice for our readers?

I have a lot of years of experience in what I’ve been doing. I’m coaching people and I’m training. I do workshops as well. I’m happy to have any free strategy sessions with folks. There’s no obligation. There are no requirements because I enjoy supporting folks. If anybody is facing some challenges, they’re welcome to reach out to me and connect on LinkedIn. Take a look at my website because I have free resources there. The 5P Formula is on the resources section of my home page at ResonateNow.org. People are welcome to take a look at that. Send me a note and say, “I’m about to give a pitch to Angel Investors. I have a presentation coming up with folks at my company. I have to do this sales presentation.” I’m happy to bounce ideas and go from there.

I can certainly hear your passion for trying to help entrepreneurs and young small business owners. I thoroughly appreciate that. For our readers, you can also find Cesar at his profile on the Coaching Connector, which is www.TheCoachingConnector.com. Thank you again, Cesar. I appreciate the wisdom, the advice and the concrete strategies that you’ve shared for our readers.

Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

It’s a pleasure having you. Take care. That brings us to the end of this episode. Please remember to visit www.TheCoachingConnector.com for more articles on guiding you through the maze to your best personal and professional life. Also please remember to subscribe to Guiding You Through The Maze and share a link with anyone you think would benefit from the information we’re presenting. We’re so glad to be part of your journey.

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About Cesar Teague

GYTM 8 | Lead GenerationCesar Teague, an experienced business coach who helps entrepreneurs, especially those from minority cultural backgrounds, develop the skills to find leads, present to them effectively and ultimately convert them to paying customers.

 

 

References

  • Lentino, L.M. (2014). Constructive thinking how to grow beyond your mind. Sudbury, MA: Grow Beyond Your Mind.

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