In a former life I worked in sales support for one of the highest grossing advertising sales engines in the country. At the time, they were generating so much ad revenue, the biggest sales challenge was how to generate new business. The vast majority of the viable prospective customers were either already buying, or were currently "in the pipeline" (being worked by one of the sales agents.) For a new sales executive, it was virtually impossible to find a brand new lead that wasn't already picked over by someone else at the company in the past.
While revenue was through the roof, they had a problem with lead generation. Management needed to find a new source to feed their sales machine. At the time, the target market was white working class men, the cross-section of the average American consumer. Their low-hanging-fruit or target consumer was very lucrative and sales agents were discouraged from even wasting time with a less attractive demographic. Today, that former employer struggles to hold on to a dying industry with a far more competitive landscape. No longer the alpha dog, technology and more importantly, a changing audience demographic knocked them off the pedestal. What management failed to realize is they need not rest on their laurels and instead adopt a multicultural lead generation strategy. Now, its easy to play "captain-hindsight" but as a small business we don't all have the resources needed to hire a multicultural advertising agency. So proper multicultural lead generation can ensure you don't go the way of my former employer.
To best understand multicultural lead generation, we must first define what we mean by a lead. A lead is a sales processes' lowest common denominator. Its a person who has indicated interest in your company's product or service somehow. However, perhaps its best to define what a lead is NOT. A lead is not a name in the phone book that your randomly cold call. That's just a random name in the phone book. Do we even use these anymore? Despite your hopes, they haven't expressed any interest and are not yet ready for the "lead" designation.
For example, maybe you recently conversed with an admissions representative at an open house to learn more about a continuing education program. If you got an email from the school about a new adult learning program you might be interested in, it would have context and not come across as spammy as if the school just called you out of the blue without knowing if you are even thinking about going back to school. Not to mention, the intelligence the admission representative was able to relay to the marketing team about your needs, could only help frame more personalized communication with you as a prospective student. In this example, you would be a lead.
The best part about multicultural leads is they're almost exclusively accessed via this more intuitive approach. Whether its a language or cultural barriers, taking the time to understand their unique challenge and showing that you were listening in your initial communication is key to a developing multicultural leads.
Lead generation is lead generation. Its the art of attracting and converting strangers into the aforementioned leads. To be successful, marketers need to offer them enough value to pique their natural curiosity so they will want to hear more. For multicultural consumers that value is quite unique and no singular approach will work across all demographic groups. Multicultural consumerism more often than not, defies the habits of the general marketplace, thus the more you know about them, the more successful you'll be at converting multicultural leads.
When executed correctly those strangers will initiate the relationship with you instead of vice versa. Studies have long supported the fact that the number one factor for multicultural consumers in buying decisions is trust. Establishing this consumer initiated, organic relationship establishes this trust and helps increase the chances they will want to buy from you at some point.
As we've discussed, a multicultural consumer can't become a lead until we've collected information. But how do we do that? Through a process we call qualifying. We qualify multicultural leads by collecting information where multicultural consumers are most likely to show a level of interest, usually while exhibiting shopping behavior. This could be online browsing or doing research, in-store, or as we mentioned before at an open house style event. Its essential to incentivize the multicultural consumer to volunteer their information by trading for coupons, free trials or educational pieces of content like an ebook so we can qualify them. The amount of information appropriate to collect in order to qualify someone as a lead, as well as the that person's level of interest in your company, can vary from offer, to data collection method to multicultural demographic.
Its important to keep in mind, when collecting data from multicultural strangers, using collection agents and/ or language that mirrors their own will only make them feel more comfortable, more likely to share information, better qualify them as a lead and ultimately lead to more sales. Remember leads are indicators of budding relationships. Treat them with respect and care. Nurture them over time. As they grow into customers, so will your bottom line.