Lead generation: technique is everything

by Erika Cannon
[email protected]

On a recent trip to Cambridge, England, my husband and I went punting down the Cam.

You may not know what that is; we didn’t either, but we were told it was something we needed to do on a visit to Cambridge. The Cam is the river that flows through town, and punting is the particular type of boat one uses to navigate the shallow, calm river.

Punting looks easy enough, much like the well-known gondoliers of Venice. Passengers sit in the wide boat, and the punter stands on the back, using a 10-foot pole to push the boat along. It’s designed to be a slow, relaxing ride through the scenic city and countryside.


Nothing is ever as easy as it looks.

We found that one push sent us careening into one side of the riverbanks, while a second, correcting push sent us to the other side.  Like a pinball game we struggled down the river, pinging from one side to the next.

Until a polite Englishman (they’re all polite, really) passed by, and instructed Michael how to use the pole as a rudder. As soon as he pushed off, he used the pole to keep us straight, and turn us at the river’s bend.

Once we got the hang of it, and practiced, we were able to enjoy our trip and make more progress.

Lead generation can be like punting on the Cam.

  • If you’ve never had to generate new leads or sell to people you don’t know, you may be pinging around. You’ve been lucky to have survived on known contacts and referrals. But now it’s time to thrive, you need to reach out to unknown companies, and you have no idea how to do it.
  • You have a salesperson, but that person isn’t good at finding new people to talk to. If you just had a way to generate new conversations for him, he could be successful.
  • You’re a sole proprietor, and are responsible for selling and operations. You don’t have time to chase down people to talk with. Once you find someone, though, it’s a great conversation.

Lead generation is a process and a technique, just like punting. If you have the right tools (a prospecting automation platform), the right work process (talking to prospects every day), and the right partner (who can develop prospects and coach you in the prospecting techniques), then you can generate new leads regularly.

Then it’s smooth sailing (or punting) from there.

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Whether sailing, punting, or prospecting, it’s hard work. Don’t forget to take a water bottle.


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