Mechanical Lead Gen

Short term versus long term Mechanical versus organic

Philip's Message

Tomorrow I want to hear about your lead gen model and in particular the mechincal method. i think that's potentially a sticky, powerful term for you to use. it's evocative, but invites questions/conversation, which is great POV material


Notes on Mechanical Lead Gen

  • Requires something you have direct control over
  • Paid ads, regular ol' prospecting, Podcast Pipeline, intentional referral strategy
  • Background: the best leads are the ones that trust you deeply and decide, on their own, that they want to work with you; only problem is that you have minimal control over the number of opps that come in this way
  • organic v. mechanical = pull v. push
  • The more you want to control your growth strategy, you'll need to add a mechanical channel, especially because it gives you predictability

Full Transcript


This transcript was made by robots, so it's far from perfect.

Liston Witherill
Welcome to offline, a podcast about building a 100% online and remote expertise driven business without the bullshit, posted remotely by me, Liston Witherill.

Philip Morgan
And me, Philip Morgan. You'll learn how we're building our businesses, what scares the shit out of it, and hear from our friends and experts who are building their own businesses to welcome to offline.

Liston Witherill
Phil Morgan, welcome to offline.

Philip Morgan
Liston. Witherill. Thank you. I have a question. You mentioned, you're drinking less coffee, but you're brewing it stronger? Well,

Liston Witherill
this is starting to fade. I'm starting to drink more coffee. But yeah, I am brewing it stronger. Yeah, go ahead.

Philip Morgan
What ratio Are you at between coffee grounds and water?

Liston Witherill
Well, I don't weigh it. I have like a little grinder. And so I kind of fill it up to the same level every time. I think it's about eight cups worth or about 64 grams, some somewhere in that neighborhood. And then I brew, I want to say, five to six cups of coffee.

Philip Morgan
That's a rookie numbers, rookie numbers list and we're going to get you up to a one to 10 ratio between the coffee and the water.

Liston Witherill
That sounds like espresso, not coffee?

Philip Morgan
That's a good question. I actually don't know what the ratio is for espresso.

Liston Witherill
That was a statement well in, in Italy, they don't drink coffee. Well, they say cafe but it's all espresso. That's all they drink. Alright,

Philip Morgan
well report back when you get to a one to 10 ratio.

Liston Witherill
Why is that so critical?

Philip Morgan
It's not so critical. I'm just giving you a hard time I want you to drink stronger coffee, because on these calls, I really want more of you. And that stronger coffee is going to achieve that for us.

Liston Witherill
Well, I'm waking up earlier. I'm for those listening to this, you can't see it. So I guess I won't even hold up this weekly agenda that I put together. But I have at the top discipline wins and like 30 point font because waking up earlier I worked out I worked for two hours before we met today. So a lot has happened already. And we started at 830 Pacific.

Philip Morgan
Alright, let's just continue this awesome. Use just casually threw out some word a few weeks ago, you're like blah, blah, blah. Philip, for your workshops, you really need to have a mechanical lead generation method. Yep. And that phrase just really stuck with in my mind. And you said, What do you want to talk about? I said, I want to hear more about mechanical lead gen, which now I'm thinking about mechanical bowls. Anyway, what's the difference? Tell us more. Let's start there. What is mechanical lead gen.

Liston Witherill
So mechanical lead gen is something that you have maximal control over. So I think of, there are a couple of ways to think about it. One is just organic, versus mechanical. So organic being I published content, I put it out into the world, I send an email about it, I posted on LinkedIn. And through my past efforts, the accumulation of all my past efforts. Hopefully the right people will see it. And on a regular interval enough people will respond to it, that that creates leads for me. But that is a poll method, right. So this is just the difference between push and pull. So on the poll method, I put something out there, I'm trying to attract people to me, if I'm lucky, they raise their hand, I get leads. Mechanical, on the other hand is more of a push method. So this is the way sales has always been done. But now with digital marketing, I would say the line between what is sales and what is marketing is becoming really, really unclear. It's hard to tell. And so for mechanical lead gen, it's just me having maximal control over who sees these messages, and really taking more of a direct response approach. And that doesn't necessarily mean hey, I have consulting Would you like to buy consulting from me? Right, so like, right now, I have this program called podcast pipeline that teaches people to reach out to their ideal prospects, referral partners and industry experts. And that's mechanical, right? They're creating a list. They're reaching out to the people that they want to talk to. And they're giving them an offer or an offer that creates the possibility of having a relationship with this person. It's not by my stuff now, it's Would you be willing to talk to me for an hour and I'll give you some free PR, right? There's an exchange there. You know, of course, mechanical lead gen could also just be true. Additional cold outreach that has a really either hard approach, right? So like, if you're selling something that's low priced, well known non expertise driven, podcast editing, right, you can take this approach. And you don't need to do any point of view or authority based marketing, it's really unnecessary for you to do that. Because you're competing on, essentially, price and speed most of the time, right? quality is not the main thing you're competing on, you're competing on quality, you're making NPR shows. And so you'd have to take a different approach for that. Go ahead. Looks like you're trying to get something out.

Philip Morgan
I love where this is headed. I want more structure. Okay, and how this all fits together. So it sounds to me like you're talking about different parts of something we could kind of draw out as some sort of model on paper, about how you look at the world of lead gen. So is that a sort of a hierarchical model? Or are there different categories that we're talking about? You've mentioned organic pull, push mechanical point of view authority? How does that all fit together? And then let's, let's keep going after we establish that context.

Liston Witherill
Yeah, so this, this is actually something I'm gonna draw out on paper today, literally, but nice. The way I'm thinking about it is let's look pulled back now. 30,000 feet? Yes, the whole revenue engine of a service based business, right. So if you're in agency, and you want to be known as the leader in something, and the reason you want to be known as a leader in something is because you want to charge pricing that's at the very top end of the market, you need to build some level of authority, right? So how do we do that? That's where the organic stuff comes in. Right. And so you're starting to tell a story about what you're especially good at how you think about things, and how that can apply to clients in your market. Okay, so that's kind of the big like, prerequisite, we have to have a point of view in a position, we need to know who we're talking to. And we need to start creating some content to solidify those ideas in the heads of the people who are in our market. The problem is, without great distribution right off the bat, the people who we really want to see that content, probably won't. Right. So now we need a mechanical way of distributing that. So back to your point, the big picture is authority point of view positioning, it's kind of like a, you know, one thing that needs to happen all together, right? Now, we're publishing. So that's an organic channel. So we may want to draw people in through referral, network syndication, maybe you're writing for ink, or Forbes or something like that. Maybe you're just focused on SEO, ideally, you have an email list, because you listen to Philip and I, and you know, how adamant we are about that. But then, in addition to that, you can look at your market and see, if you're in a well defined market, there should be 500 to 5000 prospects, prospective companies that you could work with. It's not a huge number. So if we cherry pick off, what are those 200 ideal accounts that we want. That's where the mechanical bit comes in. Right? So now we're going to systematically reach out to these people, invite them into conversations, and some percentage of them who are interested are definitely going to go to your website. That's where the content really plays in because that will help them make a decision about whether to talk to you or not.

Philip Morgan
So we're really talking within the context of how content is distributed? Is that kind of how you're thinking about mechanical? Like, certainly verse outreach, I could imagine a sort of content free outreach, which is basically just pitching, which is suitable for those simple commodity services.

Liston Witherill
Yeah, I was gonna say it won't work in an authority based business, though.

Philip Morgan
Okay. So the distribution, the mechanical distribution is really like distribution of your thinking of your ideas.

Liston Witherill
It can be but let me give you an alternative that isn't exactly that. Right. So let's think about how a market is organized. I'm going to use startups as an example because very well organized, right? And so how are startups organized? Essentially, there's the layer of, you know, founders business owner, sort of the executive level of the company. But then they go to incubators, where usually they'll start out and learn enough to get the company off the ground and maybe get some seed funding. There's angel investors, there's venture capitalists, there's private equity firms. There's all these People around the startups that are putting money and advice in right? Either financial capital, human capital, intellectual capital. Yeah. I could easily if I'm trying to market to startups, I could easily go to venture capitalists open up a conversation with them without necessarily making it content based because I wouldn't expect your typical VC to want to go read something I wrote for the next hour, right? They're probably not going to do that. But if I can go to them and say, Hey, seems like we're talking to a lot of the same people. Here's a few people we've helped in the past. love to talk to you let me know if you'd like to chat, right, I think we might be able to help each other. So in that way, that's not content based, but I'm looking for essentially a mechanical way of creating a referral machine. Yeah. Does that make sense? It does. Yeah,

Philip Morgan
I would often use the word engineered for that meaning, you know, you're thinking about how to make something happen. Yeah. In a repeatable way. Yep. Yeah. So

Liston Witherill
the more I think about this, the more I feel like every marketing program, this is if you want to be able to make your marketing more predictable, and to be able to scale your company to a certain point, right. So if you're happy just running a lifestyle business, and keeping it small, and whatever you get with inbound is totally fine. You don't need to pay attention to this. But I think the big advantage of mechanical channels is the degree of predictability is much greater, right. So if I publish, let's say I run an SEO program, the first year or two, I'm not really going to be able to say, if I put in x effort, I'll get y results. Maybe by year three, four or five, I might be able to save that. But it's going to take a really long time to understand what the return would be on an SEO channel. However, with a market with a mechanical channel, and so I just want to now take some time to say what those might be. One could be inviting people for interviews, like through a podcast, right, which is what I teach in podcast pipeline. Another one could be an intentional referral strategy that I talked about where you're trying to cultivate a constellation of partners, who could refer business to you. And you can refer business to so you want to look for people who are serving the same market, but not providing your exact service. Another one could be just regular old prospecting, right, where it's like direct outreach, inviting people directly into conversations through LinkedIn through email, I prefer email. Another one could be paid ads, where and the advantage again, and paid ads is, you know, it's going to take less time for more scale, but you're risking your cash. But the advantage, of course, is you could say, hey, if I did paid ads for three, six, probably more like nine or 12 months, I'll have a pretty firm grasp on if I put in X dollars and hours, I'll get why results. But I do believe and I strongly believe this, if you want to run an authority based business, you can't do it without the other stuff that I talked about, you do have to have a point of view, a position and content that demonstrates it, when you have that and you couple it with this mechanical stuff that I'm talking about mechanical lead gen channels, you'll have more predictability, and you'll be able to reach a level of new revenue acquisition that wouldn't be possible without it. So

Philip Morgan
referencing that dumb ass book, the one thing there's this idea that, like, you know, there's some mythical level of focus where you can go all in on some single most important thing, which is, again, I think it's a dumb ass idea, dramatic oversimplification of the real world. But you know, coming from that perspective, you'd say, well, you got to figure out what's the most effective thing and and then just go all in on it, right. And then there's contrast into that there's sort of thinking in terms of a portfolio where you're, you're distributing across portfolio of activities to, you know, hedge against downside risk on any one of those. And then there's just the sort of, like, try a bunch of shit and see what works. Those are. Those are three explanations I can think of, for where you might be coming from in terms of recommending multiple lead generation activities, which is it really what's the thinking behind investing in multiple different areas. I have a competing model, by the way, that would define these as social means and one or two other things that of course, I'm going to forget right now. Anyway. Why distribute in the way you're recommending? Why diversify?

Liston Witherill
Well, okay, so let's let's pick on the book, the one thing for a second, the one thing that drove me, the one thing that drove me crazy about that book, when I read, it was brilliant.

Liston Witherill
The thing that drove me crazy about that book is they would play with the scale that they were looking at, for the one thing in order to justify what qualified is one thing, this is the thing that I just hated, because it's like, well, to your point, is the one thing a single lead channel, or is the one thing a single strategy that we're going to execute for a year. And in the book, they play at both levels, which makes the book useless in my opinion, I do think it's useless the or sorry, I do think it's useful rather. And this is the main point that the book made is having relentless prioritization and giving your strategies and efforts enough time to really come to fruition that I agree with, right? You know, the reason I don't like picking a single lead channel is, first of all, they have different characteristics. So organic is very good to attract people who've chosen on their own, to engage with you, right, that's great, that you're not going to have that when you use a mechanical channel, it's not going to come with the level of trust that you want, there's no transfer of trust that you would get from a referral, you've interrupted this person's day. And you've reached out to them and say, Hey, I know you're busy. But do this instead, pay attention to me. Right? So that's characteristically different. But I think the big idea here is not everybody is going to be, you know, looking for your stuff, or whatever it is that you do in the way that you're marketing yourself right now. And they may just not be exposed to the same channels that you're hitting. And that doesn't preclude them from being a good candidate, to work with you or for you to help. And so, you know, I think, for me, the big difference is like, this gives us more chance to reach more people in the market who have different ways of engaging with potential providers of the services. So, yeah, I mean, I think it's just an acknowledgement that no matter what strategy we execute, we're not going to reach everybody in the market. And it also acknowledges that some people might want to talk to us, but they're a little bit shy, or they're not sure if they got the right impression about what we do. And really choosing carefully Who are the people we want to reach out to, will allow us to engage in more of those conversations, which is extremely valuable.

Philip Morgan
Okay, so you're saying this isn't, you're really arguing that this is a more effective approach, it just, it gives you greater reach. And that's going to contribute to effectiveness when it's when we're talking about lead generation. So interview requests, referral, just get all out down, I think of paid ads is really just a form of outbound where you don't have to do any emotional labor, exact, much less emotional labor, right. Whereas I think, if you're going to contact someone on LinkedIn, you better fucking care about that transaction. Because not a transaction, it's, you know, it's everybody wants

Liston Witherill
to feel so special. I always think that's so funny.

Philip Morgan
So any, any others that we've missed in terms of mechanical, which I kind of think of as like, they have a sort of deterministic quality of sort of Newtonian, this goes in these things happen, this comes out, it's, it's not totally predictable, but it's more deterministic than than the sort of inbound attracted extraction organic methods.

Liston Witherill
It's not totally predictable. But let's just say for let's use small numbers, right, if, if I were to teach like a classic outbound sales, prospecting course, I'd push everybody to just, you know, send out something like one new contact every day, that's 20 contacts a month. That doesn't sound like a lot, but that's 240 a year. I mean, you're not going to have to hit 240. Before you feel like you have a pretty good idea of how many responses you would get on a monthly basis. So it's not going to be a science, right? And also, the environment, you're doing business in changes, your market changes. Other people start doing things that may have an impact on what you're doing. So there's going to have to be an evolution there, but you'll probably be able to tell, at least directionally You know, if I send X number of pieces of outreach, I'll get why responses right? Or within a range 510 percent? Yeah. It'll be way more predictable than publishing an article on your website.

Philip Morgan
You want to hear some fun numbers? Yeah. This is from my upcoming book, the positioning manual for indie consultants. So you mentioned earlier in this podcast, a market size of 500 to 5000. prospects. Yeah, David Baker has similar guidance. 1000 to 10,000. prospects. Yeah. And maybe that sounds like a big difference between 5010 1000. But because of the not quite logarithmic nature of the size distribution, that's actually not a not a huge difference. You don't have to go that many buckets over in the histogram to get from 5000 to 10,000. I have

Liston Witherill
a number of additional, yeah, okay, go ahead.

Philip Morgan
Oh, I was gonna say I've never looked beyond that level of detail. But if you look at the NA ICS categorization system, there are 20 top level categories. I just think this is interesting stuff. And I'm just going to pad out the rest of our of our episode today, although I want to hear if you have any offerings coming up, I've got a few things I want to tell folks about. So there's 20, top level categories. That's things like, you know, finance, education, government, right. Those are the top level categories, and then 422, bottom level categories. So at its most granular level, there's 422 categories identified by the NA ICS system. The smallest of those sub categories. You ready? What do you what do you what do you guess is the smallest category in the next system?

Liston Witherill
Smallest in terms of the number of businesses in...

Philip Morgan
that category? Yeah. It's so weird. I don't know if you ever gonna guess it. Eight establishments, household laundry equipment manufacturing. I guess that's like Maytag,

Liston Witherill
Right? I know. I was gonna say LG, Kenmore.

Philip Morgan
Yeah. Some of those aren't US based companies. But anyway, the largest sub category is full service restaurants, there's about 250,000 of those a little bit right in that. So I, I'm using David Baker's numbers, you want to target market that's between 1010 1000 prospective clients. And I'm assuming that all the companies in a category are prospects. So 105 of those bottom level categories fit that range? 25% 11% are too large and 64% are too small to fit within that range in terms of the categories. I think that's fascinating. And I just wanted to share.

Liston Witherill
Yeah, that's awesome. So yeah, I mean, I, I think also that, so this is really dependent on on the type of business you're running. But assuming that, you know, one client is worth multiple, five figures to you, ideally, over six figures, then I think you can make an argument for publishing and distributing 100% manually, right, of course, it'd be great if you got some organic traffic too. But, you know, if you're, if your average client is, let me just use nice whole numbers 250,000. And your revenue goal for this year is 5 million. You only need 20 clients. And so it makes sense to not, you know, blanket the market, but rather have a really intentional approach to distributing your ideas and help.

Philip Morgan
Yeah, and you know, our podcast audience here, it's probably more like, four to six clients a year, right? would keep most people super busy. So you don't need to reach all that many prospects if the fit is reasonably good if there's relevance there. Yep. Have a point of view workshop coming up? So if you specialized and want to work on this point of view thing that Liston seems to think is so important, which I also do.

Liston Witherill
I do. I actually think it's fair that ...

Philip Morgan
we both think it's really critical. March 11, that starts it's online. It's two months. We meet on Tuesdays and check it out at indie experts.io.

Liston Witherill
Yeah, and I have my next cohort of the sales sprint is coming up in March. So if you're not already signed up to my email list, just head over to serve don't sell.com you can sign up to the email newsletter and you will be getting an announcement about that. coming up very soon.

Philip Morgan
We didn't talk about mechanical bowls but Liston, thank you for talking about mechanical lead generation methods. I am enlightened. Thank you. Good talking to you, buddy.

Liston Witherill
Bye

Philip Morgan