A few issues back I wrote about the importance of systems, and provided the definition of “system” I use in my booklet The Success Formula:

“The process of predictably achieving a goal based on a logical and specific set of how-to principles.”

One of the clearest, simplest and most effective such systems I’ve come across, in my search for systematic ways of helping networkers grow their businesses, is an approach to attracting qualified prospects developed by my friend, master copywriter and marketing consultant Thom Scott. Thom calls it the ProfitFunnel System®.

The central principle of Thom’s system is that rather than going out into the world to pursue people, it’s far more effective to design a way to draw them to you to make the first contact. To accomplish this, Thom suggests creating a “funnel” that attracts and draws people to you:

“Imagine a funnel with a vacuum cleaner on the end that sucks in those prospects (and only those prospects) who are most likely to be interested in what you do.”

Building the Funnel

To determine what materials to use to make this funnel, you first look for the appropriate medium and a message that will draw a qualified person to take the first step to find out more about you and what you do.

For example, let’s say you are affiliated with a company that markets health and wellness products. How might you set up this “funnel with a vacuum cleaner on the end”?

Scott’s answer:

“Not so fast. First, we have to get a bit more specific—actually, a lot more specific—about your target market. The more specific you can get about the people you’re targeting, the more you can craft your message so that this specific type of person will relate to your message and be interested.

“If you want to target different audiences (for example, busy executives, salespeople, entrepreneurs, homemakers, women business owners and college students), that’s fine—however, you’ll need to target them one at a time. If you try to create one message that relates to everybody, you’ll end up being relatable to nobody!”

So let’s get more specific, and focus on just one market segment: let’s say, women business owners.

What media might be most likely to reach this group? Keep in mind that “media” can encompass far more than simply the traditional “television, radio and newspaper.” There are certain magazines read by this particular niche market. There are newsletters, both online (e-zines) and traditional, that this group reads.

On the local level, there may be clubs and organizations with a high concentration of women business owners, perhaps even clubs including only this specific niche. And what about athletic and recreational organizations that women business owners might frequent? All such groups will have some sort of newsletter or magazine where you can advertise, either for a small fee or for free. You might even set yourself up to be a guest speaker at events attended by those in this niche.

The Advertising Magic Ingredient

You’ll need to advertise to attract people to your funnel in the first place—however, traditional advertisement alone is not enough. Why? According to Scott, “Traditional ads rarely get the results you want and even if they do, they are not measurable. This is a key part of your success using the ProfitFunnel System®.”

So, what kind of advertisement do you use?

“This next element works like magic. Regardless of how you advertise, you must offer something of value, a way for a person who wants to know more about the topic to get something that will give him more information. Within that information, you place plenty of information about your product or service, you and your company.”

Scott suggests this message be in the form of a free special report, an audio, or a downloadable message. Choose a title that gives a promise of meeting a need, want or desire from your audience. What’s important is that the person takes a specific action to get this information—either requesting it be sent, going to the website, etc.

Only when he has actually taken the first step is he qualified as an actual prospect.

This free information has three primary functions:

1. It identifies the audience you are speaking to. The title should be written so that the person reading it could say, “This is for me!”

2. The text delivers this message: “You have a problem (or desire) and I have your solution.”

3. It compels the audience to take yet another step—by ordering your product or service, setting an appointment, or whatever action you wish them to take.

When a prospect has taken the first step of requesting information and that “yet another” second step, you know you’ve got someone who is likely to be a long-term customer or prospective team member.

However, even those who take only the first step and stop short of the second step are still far more qualified as prospects than those who didn’t request your information at all. And if you follow up properly, a significant percentage of this group will eventually do business with you.

Your product or service and your opportunity may be the best out there, and that alone is likely to keep people coming back to you—and even referring you to others.

But if you want to speed up the process of developing this type of grassroots support, you need to have a system to get the message out, yet still build that “know you, like you, trust you” relationship.

BOB BURG is on the faculty of Networking University
and is author of
Endless Referrals and The Success Formula.