How to get 50 leads in under two hours

You check to see what your upcoming projects look like only to find out there’s not many. Even worse, you’re wrapping up a project and you don’t have a next project!

What do you do? Will you starve to death? How do you get your next project?

It’s time for you to prospect, my friend.

But how do you start?

Your first step is to research and gather leads.

Don’t worry, I got your back.

Let me teach you how to get over 50 leads in under an hour.

Let’s define what a Lead is once and for all

I’ve heard different salespeople use and talk about “leads” in different ways. So, let’s define a “lead” so we’re on the same page.

A lead is a piece of information that can lead and connect you to prospects. Click To Tweet

For example, if you find out about a conference full of people who fit your ideal client, then follow the lead by attending. The lead in this scenario is the conference itself.

If you find out that your friend, Ana, is friends with a potential prospect, then follow the lead by asking her for an introduction. Ana is the lead since she can connect you to the prospect–she is the information.

Easy, right?

Okay, let me teach you how to systematically extract leads you already have access to.

There are 5 different types of places you can find your leads in. I call these areas “Prospecting Pockets” because you’ll find your prospects there too.

Let’s briefly discuss them at a high-level.

Pocket #1 – Past Co-workers and Clients

If you’ve been freelancing for some time or have extensive career experience, this is the best pocket to start with. It also happens to be the pocket in which you’ve already earned lots of trust.

You’ll find that some past co-workers have moved on to different companies. Some might have become key decision makers or influence those who would hire you.

Keep in touch with these people! It’s not that difficult nowadays. Technology has made it so easy for us introverts to maintain better friendships without having to commit to facetime.

It’s as simple as sending a text or email. Congratulate them on their new job, spouse, or child.

Be present and truly connect with people in person. But it’s okay to maintain friendships and connections at a distant or with quick messages every few months. You don’t have to be everyone’s best friend.

And it should go without saying that asking your past clients for referrals is necessary. And yes, ask them again if you already have.

Pocket #2 – Conferences, Meetups, and Events

Attending in-person events relevant to your clients is also a great way to connect with fresh new prospects. This pocket is also great for observing and learning more about your prospects.

Ask your clients about industry events they attend yearly, monthly, etc. Research local meetups you can attend.

Finding conferences, meetups, and events is as easy as searching for them online. If you haven’t done this, WHAT have you been doing!?

Don’t even try to pull the “I’m too introverted” card. Business is business. Learn to navigate events and make the most of events as an Introvert.

One last note about events: Don’t waste time on events that are irrelevant to you. Attend events that are made of 80% of the kind of people you want to meet, which are prospects in this case.

Pocket #3 – Online Communities

Hello, Digital World.

We’re all part of this type of prospecting pocket whether we like it or not. Nowadays, we all hang out online. Heck, some people hang out with people online more than they do in-person.

(I’m guilty of that when it comes to meetings)

If you’re building your freelance business to be location independent, online communities will be an important part of your business.

Just like conferences, meetups, and events, you can learn a ton about your prospects from online communities. It’s the perfect place to study your ideal clients and engage with them by helping first.

Pocket #4 – Other Freelancers, Agencies, and Companies

For every niche, there’s another niche that compliments it. Make friends with freelancers, agencies, and companies within your industry or who compliment your type of work.

A few examples:

  • Web designers should make friends with great copywriters and developers (and vice versa).
  • Consultants should make friends with Freelancers (yes, there’s a difference between the two).
  • Wall Painters should make friends with Drywall Contractors.

You get it.

There’s one more scenario: You should make friends with those who do exactly what you do.

What? You mean people who serve my same niche, in the same way, aren’t my sworn enemies? Shouldn’t I secretly want to bury them?

…Okay, okay, maybe a little dramatic. But some people really do think that way! Ha.

We all do our work in different flavors, so we serve different people.

It’s handy to have a list of freelancers who do your type of work for many reasons. Here are some of the most relevant ones:

  • Reason #1 – If you have a solid niche, then you’ll find yourself saying “no” to projects. Referring incompatible prospects to other freelancers who are more compatible proves you to be a resourceful person. And who doesn’t like being connected to someone resourceful? Exactly.
  • Reason #2 – When you come across a huge project with a tight deadline (it’s bound to happen if you’re becoming a freelance master), then you might need an extra set of hands to help out.
  • Reason #3 – Sh*t happens–especially unexpected sh*t. Divorce, sickness, death (God forbid), etc.

To have freelancer friends who’s good work you trust comes handy when you face a time of need.

Make friends with those who do exactly what you do. Click To Tweet

These same freelancers might refer work to you one day for any of the reasons above too. Funny how that works, huh?

Finally, make sure whoever you decide to refer work to is great at what they do. Your name will be associated with theirs and vice versa. So, make it count.

Pocket #5 – Friends and Family

If you’re just starting your freelance journey, this is a good pocket to start with.

Here’s the truth: Family and friends like you more than they actually trust you. It’s important to understand that. They can trust you as a person but many of them have zero experience or knowledge about what you can do for people.

That’s why it’s important to develop a great single sentence to explain your niche clearly. People will often use the same sentence when explaining your business to others.

I’d stay away from doing business with family unless you plan to do it for free or dirt cheap (this is a great way to gain experience in foreign areas of work). Instead, tap into their connections and ask for an introduction to a prospect.

Doing business with friends is different, though. They won’t be eating with you at the table on Thanksgiving. Nor will they expect cheap work or a “family discount” (unless you’re Mexican like me, there’s a compadre code we keep, lol).

How to get 50 leads in under an hour

Okay, so you know enough to get some serious leads.

This is the part where you’re expecting me to teach you an ultra-secret tactic that will help you find a gold mine of projects, right?

Well, turns out you’ve been building a gold mine all along.

Getting 50 leads in under an hour is as easy as creating a spreadsheet and walking through each of the prospecting pockets and jotting down every piece of information + person which can lead you to real prospects.

Yeah, it’s that simple and straightforward. I have no complex algorithm for you.

BUT… I do have something I made for you.

To make it easier for you, I’ve created a template you can use as a spreadsheet.

Download The Leads Worksheet

Leverage this free worksheet to gather at least 50 leads.

Use the worksheet as a template to organize your leads according to their prospecting pocket going forward.

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At the end of the day, you’ll find that the network you’ve developed over the years will be your greatest asset in prospecting. Don’t underestimate who you know and who they know–especially as you build and grow.

And yes, there will come a time where you’ll have to prospect less because eventually, prospects will seek you out more and more. I’ve experienced this firsthand.

Conversation: Share your strongest and/or weakest prospecting pocket in the comments below.

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