3 LinkedIn Profile Tips for Sales Professionals You Haven’t Heard Before

The Web can be an unreliable place to get sales tips. Most advice we “Google” doesn’t work. LinkedIn profile tips are no exception. Most advice focuses on superficial face-lifts. Want to get more appointments, faster, using a LinkedIn profile? Follow these three tips:

The Web can be an unreliable place to get sales tips. Most advice we “Google” doesn’t work. LinkedIn profile tips are no exception. Most advice focuses on superficial face-lifts. Want to get more appointments, faster, using a LinkedIn profile? Follow these three tips:

Make your profile:

  • earn attention
  • spark curiosity
  • earn a response

Here’s how to get it done in three simple steps.

No. 1: Convince Prospects to Read Your Summary
The job of your professional headline is to create curiosity about your Summary section. Use the headline to:

  • get found by prospects searching for you
  • connect with buyers forcefully, clearly
  • present an irresistible reason to read the Summary section

Avoid listing your professional title in this space. Be sure to use words or phrases that your target buyer would use. For example, if you sell copywriting services to natural health marketers say so, like David Tomen of Swift Current Marketing does on his professional headline.

Also, appeal to the deepest desire of your buyer. Help buyers become curious about your ability to put out a fire, scratch a bothersome itch, solve a problem or help them fast-track a goal. As David Tomen says, “I help natural health marketers get as many customers as you can handle.” 

It’s no wonder a natural health marketer would want to read more about David’s qualifications! He sparks curiosity with this approach. You can learn more about how David improved his profile in this LinkedIn profile tutorial.

No. 2: Chunk Your Summary Section
Nothing sells you better than simplicity and brevity. This creates distinction. In a world filled with people positioning themselves with adverbs and adjectives you’ll stand out. Also, create easily-scanned “chunks” or sections for your prospect to scan.

Write these sections with headlines. Make each headline appeal to what your prospect really wants to know in most cases.

Check out how Blake Henegan helps learning and development managers quickly scan his profile’s Summary section.

  • What he does.
  • How he’s different.
  • How he can help.
  • How he gets paid.
  • Training he sources for clients.
  • His contact information.

You cannot get lost in Blake’s Profile summary. It’s a wonderfully structured bit of copywriting. It’s easy to scan with the eyes and speaks to what clients want to hear about most.

No. 3: Get Back to Basics—Less Is More
Your success depends on getting good at one thing: Copywriting. Borrow from the classic, time-tested, proven techniques of B-to-B copywriters. Speak in simple terms. Be pithy. Leave out all the descriptors.

For example, don’t have exceptional skills. Have skills. Stop trying to position, sell or convince. Just say it. Plain talk is refreshing, creates distinction and helps people want to learn more about you.

Being brief, blunt and basic sparks interest in humans. It’s a fact.

Also, make sure your summary is not a recital of your experience. This is not optimal for sellers. Yes, you may wish to have an “Experience” section but don’t make your experience the focal-point.

Here is how to take action on this idea:

Make sure the Summary section of your LinkedIn profile communicates:

  • What you do;
  • who you do it for;
  • how you do it (why customers choose you) and
  • how potential buyers can act on their curiosity.

Use David and Blake’s profile summaries as guides. Borrow from them. When you’re done drafting, go back and try to remove the “I’s” and adjectives/adverbs. This focuses your writing on what the prospect wants to hear.

Once you’ve executed the first three steps above, it’s time to get your prospect off your profile and on the phone or in your email inbox. Make clear calls-to-action and, yes, include shortened Web links. While not clickable buyers will cut-and-paste or right-click (in Chrome) to visit your landing page.

Be sure to land prospects at places where the call-to-action promise is fulfilled in exchange for a bit of information about the prospect (a lead).

Remember: Give your prospects what they want. They don’t want to know about you—they want to know what you can do for them. Good luck!

The 1 Simple Way to Sell via Your Webinar

Want to sell with your webinar? Actually go for the close at the end or generate an appointment for your reps to follow-up immediately? Stop wasting the audience’s time with blather about your speaker.

Want to sell with your webinar? Actually go for the close at the end or generate an appointment for your reps to follow-up immediately? Stop wasting the audience’s time with blather about your speaker.

Ok, it will take more I admit. The rest can be done by getting to the point fast and helping your buyer become attracted to the idea of talking more about the itch your speaker just scratched. Here’s a three-step process to getting that done.

You Have the Email but not a Lead
The word webinar itself has a negative connotation. At best it is something your prospects attend while they check email and put out any number of fires. You might argue, “Sure, Molander, but I have the prospects’ email.”

True. But you don’t have them on the way to becoming a lead. You blew it. How? By wasting every single moment from “go.”

It’s time for tough love about your Webinar and the lousy leads it’s sending to sales. Of course, I’ll also offer three simple steps to help produce Webinars that spark customers’ curiosity in what your solution can do for them.

No. 1: Avoid all Introductions Like the Plague
“I find the need to hear the presenters personal story for 10-20 minutes a huge turn off,” says sales coach, Iain Swanson of UK-based Kolzers. “In most cases I have literally switched off and missed the content of the call.”

Enough said. And let’s face it. You’ve probably done the same. Or perhaps you make it habit to join the webinar late in an effort to avoid the irrelevant blather.

This time-wasting tradition needs to stop. Right now. How? NO introductions.

Your potential buyer isn’t attending the webinar to hear about the backgrounds or experiences of the presenter. Nor what the sponsor does, for whom or how well.

They’re there for one reason: To take from you. They want as much as they can get, for free, as possible. Why? They’re human.

Let them take. Let them gorge.

Just structure the way you release the information. Copywrite it. Yes, copywrite it. Scripted? Yes but only for the pros. If you come off as canned you can kiss the leads goodbye.

Start by canning your introduction. Shock your audience by immediately getting to the point. They’ve already qualified the speaker. They’re there, after all.

Brighten their day. Surprise them. Make them think, “WOW, he/she just skipped the boring introduction stuff!”

This is how to sell using Webinars. Trust me, it works.

No. 2: Promise Viewers Something They Don’t Already Know—Then Deliver It Fast, Clearly
Start your webinar by telling prospects, “You’re about to hear information that you probably don’t already know.” Then, follow the Golden Rule of communication. What if prospects already know most of what you’re about to tell them?

You’ve designed the webinar to fail. Just like a whitepaper that looks sharp but is worthless, your Webinar must contain useful information and new know-how, tips or knowledge. If it does not contain enough new information you will not hold the audience.

Build in useful, actionable and fresh information and present it according to the Golden Rule:

  • Tell them what you’re about to tell them (the main insight, short-cut, better way or remedy)
  • Tell them the “better way” (at a high level, yet specific)
  • Tell them what you just told them (come back and remind of the main point)

This approach serves the most essential goal: Getting customers clear on your message. Without clarity your webinar will fail.

Remember the last time you were clear—really clear—on something? Remember how you felt?

Remember the sense of confidence that came with your “ah-ha moment?” You might also recall a feeling of wanting to know more—wanting to have more clarity, more confidence. That’s what we’re after.

That’s your webinar’s job: get buyers crystal clear, confident in themselves and trusting you.

No. 3: Help Them to Want to Know More
When is the last time you attended a Webinar and learned something new? Think about a time when the presenter gave you everything they promised they would at the beginning of the presentation—and more. Did you want more from them? Were you ready to act on that impulse?

Give your best insights, tips or warnings away. Give away all of your best knowledge. All of it.

“But, Jeff, giving prospects my best advice for FREE will help them to do it without me!”

Doubtful. Be careful to not confuse customers qualifying you with what you perceive as their purchase intent.

The act of looking for answers does not always translate to customers’ wanting to do what you charge money for themselves. Even when it does “signal” a customer’s desire to do it themselves, what customers want can change.

You want to be there when it changes.

Most importantly you need to create a craving, deep inside your prospects. A desire to know more details about your big claim, better way, short-cut or system.

The only way to get prospects hungry for more of you is to attract them to the idea of talking to you. Attraction takes a reliable, effective system.

The idea is to structure (copywrite) the content you release in a way that makes asking more questions irresistible to your attendees. Yes, questions can be answered in Q&A. That’s fine. This builds trust and creates more intense curiosity in you—a hunger for more of what you can offer.

But only if you are careful about how you answer those questions.

To get started, present the answers or solutions clearly but in ways that provokes prospects’ curiosity. Answer questions always creates more questions about the details (relating to what you sell).

To create this hunger:

  • Make your words specific, filled with integrity, true and useful
  • Be action-oriented (make your answer clear and easily acted on)
  • But be incomplete (make a credible answer yet leave out most of the details)

Tee-Up Your Call to Action
The idea is to create hunger for a short-cut at the end of your webinar. In other words, the goal of this three-step process is to get prospects hungry for a faster, easier way to get all the details you just spent 40 minutes talking about.

This faster, easier way can be:

  • a lead generation offer
  • your product/service.

The idea is to present content that helps customers begin to desire your lead generation offer. Or at least be primed for the idea of taking action on it.

Making the pitch for viewers to buy at the end of your webinar? Help viewers see buying your product/service as a logical next step in the journey you just started with them.

Using this three-step process transforms what you sell from “something I need to think about buying some day” into “the obvious next step I should take right now.”

Your fee or price tag becomes a logical investment that “feels right, right now.”

Good luck!

3 Steps to an Effective LinkedIn Profile for Sales Reps

Tired of getting so few leads from your LinkedIn profile, investing in LinkedIn Sales Navigator or needing to generate leads with email faster? You’ll need more than a pretty photo on your profile. You need a summary section that creates urges in prospects—provoking them to connect, email or call.

Tired of getting so few leads from your LinkedIn profile, investing in LinkedIn Sales Navigator or needing to generate leads with email faster? You’ll need more than a pretty photo on your profile. You need a summary section that creates urges in prospects—provoking them to connect, email or call.

Make sure prospects viewing your LinkedIn profile take an action and are producing leads for you. But first, ne sure your or your team’s profile is structured to:

  1. Create an urge for what customers’ want most in the Headline space;
  2. Spark buyers’ curiosity about what you can do for them in the Summary;
  3. Direct that curiosity—give them an irresistible reason to act.

These steps are the low-hanging fruit. Don’t just know them, do them. Every word, video, Powerpoint, PDF whitepaper and link on your profile can help buyers develop an irresistible urge to solve their problems or reach a goal—through you. But only if you take a minute to design it to. The best place to start is your Professional Headline.

Fire up your browser. Compare your profile against the checklist below. Check off each one as you implement these proven, effective steps.

STEP 1: Create an Urge to Read via Your Headline
Like it or not, headlines control our world. If you’re not getting to the point and sparking curiosity in a matter of seconds you’re not going anywhere. Just like an effective cold call or elevator pitch.

Use your profile’s Professional Headline space to display information that creates an urge to discover whatever is most important to them. Don’t list your title or job position. Make sure your professional headline presents:

  • what you do,
  • who you do it for and, if possible, and
  • elude to how you do it that creates distinction.

If possible, hint at why buyers should choose you. Make your why clear but not totally complete. Leave off the details. This creates an urge to scroll down to the next section: Your profile’s Summary.

For example, turnaround and acquisition expert, Carter Pennington, says he “maximizes shareholder value of troubled companies.” Mando Villareal names his target market and says he helps them “reduce cost increase efficiency & automate deliverables.”

In both cases, structuring words this way helps prospects wonder, “I wonder how he does that?” It creates an urge to scroll down and learn more about the seller.

Wondering where to start yourself? Use what you already know is most important to your prospective buyer. Don’t be clever. Instead, push your prospects’ buttons.

Trent Smith is a “Trusted advisor to attorneys who want to grow their practice.” He knows there isn’t an attorney on the planet who doesn’t want to grow their practice. In a moment, I’ll show you how Trent exploits this urge in various sections of his profile.

Remember: Use your Professional Headline space to create an urge to discover more about what makes you someone worth paying attention to. Be bold. Grab your prospect, fast.

STEP 2: Ditch the Resume, Go for a Reaction
Your LinkedIn profile is a tool to get prospects curious about what you can do for (not sell) them. Because once they’re curious, they’re more likely to react—to act. Since your Summary section is often “above the fold” (is seen before anything else) it’s the best place to start sparking reactions.

The idea is to quickly make statements that cause customers to become excited, unsure, eager or even a bit scared. This is different than reciting information about yourself, resume style. Showing customers, “I have a better way,” telling them you have short-cuts they desire or making a bold claim helps you:

  • prove to be worth listening to (grabs the prospect) and
  • position yourself to make a big claim.

Every B-to-B seller has a big claim that plays on the desire of buyers—no matter what you’re selling. It’s believable, credible and needed. So use it. Your LinkedIn profile is a great place to

  • set up the claim
  • make it and
  • create an urge to act on the reaction your claim creates.

For example, Gerry Blaum makes the claim he’ll save Fortune 1000 clients $500,000 in health care over-spending and connect them with better service providers. If he cannot he’ll give clients his fee back. He says, “we only get paid when we save money for our clients.”

Gerry makes his claim in dramatic form. To keep it believable and credible, he reveals how he gets paid. This encourages HR executives at some of the world’s largest companies to wonder, “how, exactly, does Gerry accomplish this?”

Be careful to balance. You don’t want to make a claim that is unbelievable. Or a promise that gives away too much, too fast. Only make claims that sound believable and help buyers develop hunger for all the details. You’re going for a reaction, or an irritation—not total satisfaction.

The idea is to scratch the buyers’ itch-stopping short of offering full relief.

To more fully relieve their itch (or help them reach a goal) they need to take an action. This is just one way to effectively spark connections, email conversations or phone calls with prospects. Shoot me an email or comment below and I’ll share more examples.

STEP 3: Make a Direct or Subtle Call to Action
Give ’em what they want. Whether you’re a job-seeker, marketer or sales rep, your LinkedIn profile should contain “exit points.” Spots where a call to action should be placed—driving prospects away from your profile, toward your landing page, telephone or email inbox.

Toward shortcuts, tips, advice, pain relief, clarity on a fuzzy (yet important) issue or confirmation of nagging fears—whatever they want most.

Make sure you use calls to action to the fullest. Here are quick tips on how to make effective LinkedIn profile calls to action.

You cannot use HTML or links in the Summary section. But you can place calls to action inside it. Creating clearly identifiable sub-sections and headlines gives you the chance to make calls to action.

Look at how Gerry Blaum executes it. It’s easy to scan with the eye, grabbing the essence of each “chunk” of copy.

Stick to the basics. In a few words, use sub-sections inside the Summary to describe:

  • What you do & who you do it for
  • Why the prospect should care (how you do it differently than everyone else)
  • How & WHY customers should contact you (email, Facebook, Twitter, phone, Web site, etc.)

Give ’em what they want. Prove to them, quickly, you’ve got what they want.

Use trigger words to encourage action. Use phrases like:

  • Get all the details
  • Call me, email me
  • Discover fresh tips
  • See examples here
  • Start here (this one is very powerful believe it or not!)

Although you cannot use HTML here, readers will take advantage of links your provide.

Your target audience will visit your Web URL by cutting & pasting or right-clicking. In some Web browsers (like Chrome) users can jump to your Web site by highlighting the URL, right-clicking and immediately visiting your site.

Trent Smith uses his Contact and Summary sections to speak directly to prospects:

If you want visitors to say, “Wow! I’ve got to talk to this attorney right now!” then get website strategies for attracting clients at: http://www.JangoStudios.com

Of course, there are subtle, indirect approaches that are also effective. Choosing the specific approach often depends on your target market, type of decision-maker(s), sales cycles, complexity of what you’re selling etc. For example, Challenger sellers will need to take a much different, educational approach.

If you’re interested in taking first steps on everything I’ve presented today this free video training will get you started in just 12 minutes. Otherwise let’s chat in comments below!

5 LinkedIn Best Practices That Don’t Work

Prediction: 95 percent of sales reps and distributors will invest time in LinkedIn best practices that fail to generate leads in 2015. Be sure you’re not one of them.

Prediction: 95 percent of sales reps and distributors will invest time in LinkedIn best practices that fail to generate leads in 2015. Be sure you’re not one of them.

Most LinkedIn best practices for sales reps are not, in fact, best practices. They’re time-wasters. This is one of the most important insights I gleaned in 2014. That’s why I’m offering you five commonly recommended LinkedIn best practices to avoid in 2015.

The 5 Worst LinkedIn Best Practices

  1. Using “Who’s viewed my profile” to drive profile views.
  2. Requesting connections from new prospects.
  3. Sending InMails that ask for appointments and referrals.
  4. Sharing valuable content with your connections.
  5. Adding value in LinkedIn Groups by giving away your best advice.

Instead, follow these five steps to avoid falling down the LinkedIn “best practices” rabbit hole that truly don’t work for sales:

1. Beware of ‘Who’s Viewed Your Profile’
We all like candy and LinkedIn is handing it out. The experience is becoming increasingly Facebookesque. Case-in-point: The “who’s viewed my profile” feature. Beware: for most of us it’s a trap.

I’m not suggesting this feature isn’t handy. It’s just not what we (as sellers) want it to be. It can be a time-suck.

Our instincts to find buyers can overpower rational thought—especially when we’re pressed for time. Mix in some “online candy” and it’s a productivity risk.

Is it good to know who’s viewing your profile? Yes. Can you tell why someone outside of your immediate network is viewing your profile? Not with certainty. You cannot qualify a lead based on them looking at your profile.

A lot of experts claim you can. You cannot. Deep down, you know you cannot. Using software or other techniques to increase your views is not a smart strategy, especially when:

  • LinkedIn encourages random, casual viewing of “people you may know”
  • Many views aren’t views at all (they are momentary, fleeting arrivals at your profile)

LinkedIn wants you to know who’s looking at your profile. I’m cool with that. But when you believe people are viewing your profile for reasons you’re creating from thin air? You’re in trouble.

Spend time making sure arrivals at your profile spark curiosity in you. Invest less time in hope. And please don’t ask visitors you do not know (who view your profile) to connect with you!

2. Don’t Ask for Connections as a First Step
The most deadly—and common—mistake sales reps make on LinkedIn is asking prospects they don’t know to connect.

Be warned: It is against LinkedIn’s terms and conditions to send connection requests to prospects you don’t know. I know, I know. The “experts” all offer invitation personalization tips to earn connections from strangers. Ignore them!

Being banned by LinkedIn for inviting too many people who don’t know you is common. If your connection requests are not accepted often enough, LinkedIn will remove your ability to make requests.

Please don’t try to make first contact with prospects on LinkedIn—unless you use InMail or Groups messages. You may get connections accepted sometimes, but:

  1. You’ll rarely spark conversations after the connection is accepted;
  2. you’re taking a risk you don’t need to take; and
  3. the risk isn’t worth it; being connected is better for nurturing (not creating) leads.

3. Don’t Ask for Appointments in InMails, Attract Them
We all want appointments. But trying to get an appointment from “go” is a failing tactic. You will be rejected by 90 percent to 97 percent of perfectly good prospects according to Sharon Drew Morgen. She would know. She invented the Buying Facilitation method, and she has 20 years of experience to back up the statement.

Here’s why: A majority of buyers don’t know what they need when you email them. Or they are aware of their need, but aren’t ready to buy yet.

Use the first InMail or email like a good cold call: Earn permission for a discussion that can lead to an eventual meeting. Don’t jump the gun. Once you have permission, execute the email conversation in a way that sparks an urge in the prospect to ask you for the appointment.

Get the prospect so curious about what you have to say they cannot resist acting—asking you for a call.

Just like on a hot date, would you rather ask the other person out—or be asked? Don’t say too much too fast. Attract your prospect. This is one of my most mind-bending (yet effective) LinkedIn InMail tips. It also works on regular email messages.

4. Stop Sharing Valuable Content, Start Provoking Behavior
Sharing valuable content in groups and via LinkedIn updates rarely creates leads for most sellers; mostly because of “expert” tips that don’t work. There is way too little focus placed on how and when to share knowledge in groups.

Most “expert” tips focus on:

  1. gathering (curating) content quickly,
  2. defining what is valuable to buyers and
  3. deciding how often to post.

Instead, focus on how you post. Focus on structure. The design of words. Copywriting.

Defining what’s valuable to your target buyer is vital to know. But it’s worthless unless you know how to provoke customers to call or email you. (Not just comment on your update or share it with others.)

Likewise, knowing how to gather content quickly is important. But if what you share does not intersect with a lead capture system, you’ve squandered the engagement.

We’ve been told “share and they will come.” But the top 5 percent of LinkedIn sellers know an important fact. Sharing valuable content on LinkedIn won’t help you find clients. It takes solid social media copywriting.

Instead, start shockingly truthful discussions in LinkedIn Groups. Post updates on issues that competitors don’t dare go near. Tell the truths your competitors don’t want told. Then connect what you say to an action your prospect can take (begin the lead nurturing journey).

5. Adding Value in Groups Is Often a Win-Lose
Giving away your best advice in Groups can be a win-lose. The prospects win, you lose. Success depends on your prospects’ curiosity in you. And that depends on how and when you give away specifics. Just like effective InMail/email message writing and sequencing.

You’ll experience more success (requests for appointments, calls, emails) by giving away “just enough” information to be credible … yet not quite complete. The idea is to create an urge and the curiosity to know more.

For example, do you give answers and advice away in ways that create more questions in the mind of your reader? Do you give away just enough to create more curiosity about you that can be connected to what you sell? If not, you’re struggling.

You’re probably giving away too much too fast—smothering the prospect.

Are your posts grabbing customers? Are potential buyers responding—hungry to talk with you about issues, short-cuts or better ways you know about?

If not you’re probably over-focusing on what you are saying. Instead, focus on how you structure words and when you release key bits of information. Are you saying too much too fast?

Again, think of it like a great date. The most attraction occurs when you get “just enough” information about the other person that you become curious. Too much information overwhelms—leaves nothing to the imagination and is often flat out boring.

Once again, relevant content is elementary. The difference between wasting time with LinkedIn prospecting—and generating leads—is sparking buyers’ curiosity in what you can do for them.

Getting them to respond.

Remember, most LinkedIn best practices we read about online are not. They’re time-wasters. They’re edicts written by people who know about LinkedIn but who don’t know enough about sales prospecting. What do you think about my five commonly recommended LinkedIn best practices to avoid in 2015? Are you having any success with these? I’m open to hearing your rebuttals!

Google Authorship Image Not Showing? Here’s What to Do Next.

Are your Google Authorship images not showing in search results? Are you seeing a drop in site visitor traffic or leads? Google recently pulled the plug. The results are in: Lower traffic for some social sellers, while others aren’t much affected. So what should you do?

Are your Google Authorship images not showing in search results? Are you seeing a drop in site visitor traffic or leads? Google recently pulled the plug. The results are in: Lower traffic for some social sellers, while others aren’t much affected. So what should you do?

Why Your Google Authorship Images Are Not Showing
Well, because Google says so. It decided not to anymore! It was just an experiment.

“In the early days of Google Authorship, almost anyone could get the coveted face photo in search by correctly setting up Authorship markup on their content and linking to that content from their Google+ profile,” says Google+ expert, Mark Traphagen in a recent SEOmoz blog.

“As time went on, Google became pickier about showing the rich snippet, and some sort of quality criteria seemed to come into play.”

In October 2013, Google announced a reduction in the number of photo images it displayed. In late June 2014 it pulled the plug completely on photo images in search results. Poof!

Says Traphagen, “It appears that the net result is no overall change in the amount of Authorship (appearing) in search, just an elimination of a ‘first class’ status for some authors.”

Author Images Actually Did Not Drive More Traffic
Everyone knows Authorship links with photos drove more traffic and leads to Web pages of authors, right? Eh, maybe.

“We never really knew for sure, and we never knew how much. Most importantly, there was never any proof that any CTR boost was universal,” says Traphagen, who’s done the research.

Many “studies” were conducted supporting the theory of Authorship links grabbing more eyes—and holding more perceived authority—than a “text only” link. But none of them hold much water.

Myself, I am running a handful of blogs for lead generation. After my author images were removed, I am apparently experiencing a drop in traffic and leads. But it’s not huge by any means. Why?

I’ve copywritten my Web page titles, blog post headlines, lead sentences and posts.

What You Should Do Next
Learn to copywrite. Already know how? Practice more. Most importantly, be sure you have the ability to have FULL control over Web or blog page titles.

To draw maximum attention from Google and prospective buyers make sure your Web page titles are balanced. Make sure they:

  1. are written to display a keyword phrase you’re targeting and
  2. create curiosity in the reader using copywriting.

Warning: Your blog platform may not allow you to control the Web page title freely. It’s common for blog software to take your blog (article) headline (that readers see) and place it in your Web page title (that Google and readers see in search engine results).

This is not optimal. You’ll have more ability to copywrite freely by having control over URL structure and Web page title.

For example, the structure of my blog post here is focused on the keyword phrase “Google authorship image not showing.” However, I do not have control over my URL structure or Web page title. The blog software takes my article headline and places it in the URL structure and Web page title.

It’s not optimal but I don’t cry much about it to the good folks at Target Marketing!

It would be better to have the option of editing the URL to “google-authorship-image-not-showing” and separately copywrite my Web page title to create curiosity in the reader.

Don’t Give Up (I’m Not)
“I’m done! Trying to please Google a waste of time. I’m going back to cold calling!”

I understand those who feel this way. Especially after discovering all your Google authorship images not showing. Whether you’re just starting to use B-to-B content marketing or have been investing for years Google can frustrate us.

But that’s precisely the point. It doesn’t need to be this way.

As someone who continues to generate leads online I can tell you definitively: You don’t want to depend on Google for lead generation. However, you do need to be online—capturing leads your competition will otherwise capture.

So what can you do today? The best starting point is to elevate social media copywriting as a priority. For example, what are posts to Google+, YouTube video or blog posts structured to provoke curiosity in buyers?

Creating curiosity that lures customers seems obvious. But are you doing it?

Manhandle Google With Good Copywriting
There is no silver bullet for generating B-to-B leads online. However, there is one habit that consistently brings my students, clients and by business more leads.

Giving customers a reason (in writing!) to click and take action—resolve or improve something important to them. It starts with Google and your Web page titles.

Once you take this simple idea and turn it into a habit you will continue to generate leads no matter what Google does next! You’ll forget about your Google Authorship image not showing. Won’t that feel good?

Let me know how you feel in comments.

LinkedIn Premium Is Worth It IF …

Is LinkedIn Premium worth it for sales pros? Yes, but only if you have an effective, repeatable way to get conversations going once connected. Getting buyers talking about their pains and your solution is tough. So here is a three-step process to make sure LinkedIn’s Premium or Sales Navigator is worth the cost.

Is LinkedIn Premium worth it for sales pros? Yes, but only if you have an effective, repeatable way to get conversations going once connected. Getting buyers talking about their pains and your solution is tough. So here is a three-step process to make sure LinkedIn’s Premium or Sales Navigator is worth the cost.

Make sure you/your sellers systematically:

  1. Spark prospects’ curiosity;
  2. provoke buyers to act (become a lead);
  3. connect that curiosity to what you sell.

Why Most LinkedIn Premium Investments Don’t Pay Off
We forget to give the other side a distinct, compelling reason to connect beyond, “my network.” Fact is, 95 percent of sellers asking for connections are promising access to their network.

But nobody cares about your network unless you give them a reason to.

Increase your connections and conversations by stating a specific reason the other side will benefit. What is the:

  • Pain you’ll remedy?
  • Hurdle you’ll help them clear?
  • Risk you’ll help them avoid?
  • Short-cut to more success you’ll give the prospect?

How to Spark a Sales-Focused Conversation
Want to start discussion with a potential buyer? State a reason in your connection request or shortly afterward. But remember, it must be mutually beneficial, worthwhile and crystal clear.

What you “put into” LinkedIn Premium, InMail or the Sales Navigator makes the difference.

Also, state the reason and set expectation for the other side. Promise access to a specific benefit. Tell the buyer how and when they’ll benefit. Make your promise something worthwhile.

Distinct. Unusually useful. Credible. Then, follow through on your promise.

How to Connect: An Example Template
Here’s how you can get started right away with this concept, even if you don’t know your prospects’ pain.

The following connection request example can be used as a template. It was written for a student of mine in the sales training business.

Greetings, [First name]. I’d like to decide if connecting on LinkedIn will benefit both of us. Are you seeking effective ways to boost sales managers’ productivity? This is my specialty. Based on what I’m reading on your profile, connecting may open the door to mutual opportunity. Would you like to quickly explore? Thanks for considering, [First name].

All the best,
Sam Smith, Sales Manager Productivity Coach

Of course, you may not want to reveal a specific benefit (to connecting) up front. Or you may not (yet) know their pain. Thus, you might not know what benefit to promise.

So you’ll hold back a bit and provoke the prospect to tell you their pain.

Why and How Provocation Works
Let’s quickly dissect why the above approach is so effective at earning connections and conversations about what you’re selling. It’s all about creating curiosity in the prospect—fast.

Line 1 gets right to the point: Let’s decide if there’s benefit here or not.

Line 2 gets to the point of pain/goals.

Line 3 signals, “This is why I’m relevant to you” and “I’m bold.”

Line 4 says, “I did my homework” and “This is why you are now considering talking to me” plus it creates curiosity (“What does he/she see?”).

Line 5 says, “I’m looking for an answer and you have the power to give it to me” as well as “I’m not out to waste your time.”

Line 6 says, “Again, I know this is your decision … and I also know your name. You are not part of a mass emailing.” (You become distinct)

The Post-Connection Email
Once connected to the prospect, your next email (thanking them for the Connection) must:

  1. Provoke the buyer to tell you his/her near or far-term goal or pain.
  2. Tempt the buyer to talk on the phone or in a short, but more detailed, email conversation

Thus, be sure to communicate:

  • “If you need a better, faster way to increase success—now or in the future—we should talk more.
  • If not, no worries.
  • But if so, I’m the person for you because ________ (insert your point of distinction).”

Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions.

My Best Tips for Writing Response-Generating Emails

When writing sales emails don’t forget to get readers curious—create questions in their minds. It’s the best way to get more response. Today, I’ll show you a simple, effective way to write email that gets customers asking you questions. Philippe Le Baron, a sales productivity coach, has cracked the nut. He figured out how to make customers respond to him in sales emails. He writes to make customers curious about him—in a way they cannot resist acting on. The result: Prospects respond to him more often. Customers reply to get clarity on thoughts his emails provoke.

When writing sales emails don’t forget to get readers curious—create questions in their minds. It’s the best way to get more response. Today, I’ll show you a simple, effective way to write email that gets customers asking you questions.

A Quick B-to-B Example
Philippe Le Baron, a sales productivity coach, has cracked the nut. He figured out how to make customers respond to him in sales emails. He writes to make customers curious about him—in a way they cannot resist acting on. The result: Prospects respond to him more often. Customers reply to get clarity on thoughts his emails provoke.

In LinkedIn InMail or regular email always remember: Plant seeds in your prospects’ minds. Then, create an urge to find out more details using what customers really want as bait.

Get them asking more questions that lead them toward what you sell.

Where to Start
Let’s say you have a LinkedIn Group or e-newsletter where sales prospects subscribe and receive your updates.

You’re probably presenting tips, tricks, answers and shortcuts. But are you writing in ways that create more questions in the minds of buyers? This is the part most sellers forget. They rely too much on formal call to action.

Make sure you create an urge in readers. Speak to them in ways that provoke them … get them to hit reply and ask for details about the thought you just sparked.

Quick example: Philippe Le Baron has a LinkedIn group called Sales Productivity 2.0. His group is filled with prospects who receive occasional updates from him via LinkedIn email. Recently, Le Baron sent an email to prospects.

Follow his simple template by:

  • Making an offer specific to buyers’ seasonal needs.
  • Being useful by giving simple “next steps” to act on the need.
  • Creating curiosity by being action-oriented yet incomplete.

Step 1: Make a Sympathetic Offer
Philippe is making offers specific to seasonal objectives of his prospects. His email starts with, “Here are 3 easy ways to measure your sales management efforts better in 2014.”

Philippe then explains why most of his customers tend to fail. He makes it clear quickly. In essence he communicates, “I understand what you are struggling with.”

He continues with “Improving the impact of your effectiveness as a sales manager can be very tricky, that’s why most sales managers …” Here, Philippe bullet-points his buyers’ pain. He takes special care to include how it feels to fail. This opens the door to talk about his cure … a prescription for improvement.

Step 2: Tell Them ‘You CAN,’ Then Show Them How
Next, Philippe quickly gives prospective buyers what they want: Three simple steps that sound easy to act on. He gives this advice following the Golden Rule of copywriting: Help your customers believe they can; get them confident in themselves.

Tell them they can do it, then immediately arm them with weapons to succeed. Show them how. In his email, Philippe writes:

“Improving the effectiveness of sales managers is actually much simpler than most people think: you only need to focus on 3 very specific things…

  1. the duration of your weekly 4cast meeting
  2. the specific sales management productivity metrics you measure
  3. the coaching questions you ask once you’ve adopted the right ‘Lion Tamer’ mindset”

Philippe’s use of the phrases “much simpler than most people think” and “3 very specific things” help create curiosity.

Other words and phrases that create curiosity include:

  • Unusual
  • Odd
  • Simple technique
  • Different
  • One small thing
  • Surprising

Step 3: Get Them Intensely Curious
Philippe plants seeds. He creates a call to action without actually making the call. He creates intense, irresistible curiosity about himself.

Philippe’s three tips create more questions in customers’ minds. Questions that he knows buyers will have a deep, burning urge to get answered.

These include:

  • What is a 4cast meeting? Is that like a forecast meeting?
  • What are the best productivity metrics? Am I measuring the right ones?
  • What do you mean “Lion Tamer” mindset? That sounds like something I should know about if I want to succeed.

These questions pop into the heads of readers by design. Philippe is getting customers to respond more often because he is prompting them to ask these questions—questions that ultimately relate to what he sells.

Yet the prospect isn’t being “sold to” at all. That’s the beauty of these social media copywriting tips. Prospects are conversing with Philippe. They’re warming up as leads.

All based on the structure of his email message—the words he uses and the timing of those words.

Try This 3-Step Process
Customers want email messages, blog posts, YouTube videos and social media updates that help them:

  1. believe there is a better way
  2. realize they just found it (through you!) and
  3. ACT on that realization—to get what they want (giving you a lead)

That’s why Philippe uses the technique across all digital media to drive more leads his way (not just email).

Philippe writes in a way that customers cannot resist. They become curious and cannot help but reach out and contact him. Why? To get clarity on the thoughts his messages are provoking in their minds.

Good luck applying these tips for writing effective emails in your business!

A Weird, But Effective Shortcut to Generate Sales Leads on LinkedIn

See what I just did? You chose to read this article—probably because the headline provoked curiosity. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, the basis of effective copywriting. True, there is no silver bullet for generating sales leads on LinkedIn. However, there is one habit that consistently brings my students and me more success generating leads online: Giving customers a reason to click and take action—relieve that nagging pain or take a step toward an exciting goal.

See what I just did? You chose to read this article—probably because the headline provoked curiosity. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, the basis of effective copywriting. True, there is no silver bullet for generating sales leads on LinkedIn. However, there is one habit that consistently brings my students and me more success generating leads online: Giving customers a reason to click and take action—relieve that nagging pain or take a step toward an exciting goal.

Yes, creating curiosity that lures customers to act seems like an obvious strategy. So, are you and your team doing it?

Engagement Is NOT the Goal: It’s the Entry Fee
At the simplest level these are our goals:

  • Grab attention, hold it long enough to…
  • provoke engagement in ways that…
  • earns response (generates a lead).

Will you agree with me? If you don’t get response to content placed on LinkedIn, you’re wasting precious time.

Will you also agree engagement is not the goal on LinkedIn? I know we’ve been told it is. It feels strange saying it’s not. But engagement is the beginning of a courtship process.

Whether it happens on your profile or inside LinkedIn groups, engagement is the entry fee. It’s your chance to create irresistible curiosity—or let your customer click away.

LinkedIn can be a big time-saver. It can scale your ability to generate leads. But only if you adopt a successful paradigm, one where engagement is the beginning, not the end. I’m talking about a world where it’s easy to get response—using a system to get customers curious.

3 Steps to Generating Leads on LinkedIn
Here are my best tips on structuring what to say and when—so you create hunger for more details in potential buyers. Remember, intense curiosity is the goal.

The idea is to give prospects temporary satisfaction. When you post updates, engage in LinkedIn groups or dress up your profile, answer customers’ questions in ways that satisfy. However, make sure your answers cause more questions to pop into their heads. That’s when you’ll hit ’em with a call to action that begins the lead generation journey.

Here’s where to start—either on your profile or in a LinkedIn group where prospects can be found: Answer a question your target market needs answered in a way that focuses on a nagging pain or fear. The idea is to directly or indirectly signal, “this discussion will help you overcome _____” (insert fear or pain).

If responding to an existing question make your comment suggest, “I’m here with a new point-of-view” or “I’m here with a fresh, new remedy to that pain.”

When you communicate follow these guidelines:

  1. Get right to-the-point. When you start or contribute to a LinkedIn group discussion be like a laser. Don’t make readers wait for the solution. Hit ’em with it. However start by…
  2. Revealing slowly. When it comes to all the juicy details of your remedy take it slow. Slow enough to encourage more questions—to create curiosity in the total solution. When you do this, make sure you are…
  3. Provoking response by leveraging customers’ curiosity.

Yes, be action-oriented and specific. But avoid being so complete that readers become totally satisfied with your words.

Make Your Answers Generate More Questions
Think of this like a successful dating encounter. Masters of the courtship process have always known the secret to creating intense curiosity: Being a little mysterious. Suggesting “I’ve got something you might want.” Holding a little information back. Strategically timing the sharing of information.

We’re trying to get the other person to be curious about us. So the best way to spark curiosity is to answer questions in direct ways that satisfy—but only for the moment. Answers should generate more questions … spark more curiosity in what we are all about.

Of course, we need to be credible. We cannot risk playing games with the other side. Yet being a little mysterious is fair play. It encourages more questions. This is how to generate leads on LinkedIn.

In business it works the same. Your ability to start generating sales leads on LinkedIn will be determined by an ability to answer questions in ways that provoke more questions from the buyer. Good luck!

How Less Frequent Blogging Is Creating More Leads for B-to-B Bloggers

Showing your human side, proving there’s a face behind the cold, maniacal business you represent, frequent blogging and telling stories about our businesses—it’s a shame these simple ideas aren’t generating leads and sales often enough. Yet, there is a better way to start generating leads with blogs. Winning new business in this anemic economy means creating “dramatic distinction” and irresistible curiosity with social media—giving prospects a reason to get a focused conversation started with you. Sometimes that means blogging less often.

Showing your human side, proving there’s a face behind the cold, maniacal business you represent, frequent blogging and telling stories about our businesses—it’s a shame these simple ideas aren’t generating leads and sales often enough. Yet, there is a better way to start generating leads with blogs.

Winning new business in this anemic economy means creating “dramatic distinction” and irresistible curiosity with social media—giving prospects a reason to get a focused conversation started with you. Sometimes that means blogging less often.

Content Marketing’s Biggest Myth
Want to stand out in social media? Do you have something honestly new to say? Well until you do, say less. Why? Because it works. You’ll become known for publishing less on your blog and, when doing so, releasing remarkably useful content more.

Tom Webster (one of the few wise voices willing to occasionally dissent) says the surest way to fail at blogging for sales leads is to write to a schedule, “and not in the service of ideas.”

“The tyranny of the content calendar is responsible for a lot of weak content on the Web,” says Webster.

He says, “keeping up that pace out of deference to some kind of received wisdom about publishing frequency” may not lead you to intellectual dishonesty, but it often does. At best, Webster says, it places dangerous stress on the system.

How to Stand Out—Fast
The key to success is giving prospects a compelling, irresistible reason to discover something new—a way to solve a problem that is contrary to popular wisdom. In other words, mythbusting.

Shutting-up until you have something honestly meaningful to say flies in the face of most content marketing experts. Sadly, many gurus over-emphasize the role of frequent blog posts, video uploads, etc., and point to keeping search engines busy crawling your site.

But having something new and useful to say works better and is the key to successfully using LinkedIn for sales leads, for instance.

Here is the mythbusting system in a nutshell:

  1. Make the myth clear up front: You’re dismantling popular wisdom to prove it wrong (just like I did in this blog post!)
  2. Offer proof of better way—again, up front
  3. Create a pathway for prospects to get more details (to create leads!)

The Role of Original Thought
No, no, no say the experts. Google demands a constant stream of content. Indeed, it does, but what those same experts avoid confessing is powerful:

  1. The role of original thought is becoming increasingly influential in search engines given how ranking algorithms factor in the spreading of thought-leading ideas by humans (prospects).
  2. Netting more and better leads means creating “dramatic distinction” and irresistible curiosity on your blow.

Ironically, infrequency of blogging and reaching beyond curating content is the it’s the key to getting found and making social media sell for you.

Follow These Steps: Take Action Now
Popular belief is powerful stuff. It’s what cements our habits … keeps them in place. Yet the status quo represents a big opportunity and always has. Social media gives B-to-B bloggers the chance to exploit the essence of truth-telling at the expense of every business’s enemy: mediocrity.

Mythbusting also works because it’s the story everyone wants to hear: “what you’re doing is popular yet not effective… here’s the secret on what actually works.”

This creates distinction in what you’re offering.

To generate a lead start blogging in a way that creates:

  • Confidence: Shine a light on the success your unique perspective brings; do it in a way that gives prospects clarity; help the customer feel like they can experience success too.
  • Curiosity: Explain your remedy in a way that creates clarity AND curiosity.
  • A Way: Give prospects a way to immediately act on the thought you just provoked; help them choose a pathway to make the needed change a habit in their everyday lives.

My clients and I are having a lot of success by focusing messages away from very popular (yet unproductive) beliefs that stymie our clients’ success.

For instance, I am currently mythbusting this false yet popular, positive-energy-filled belief that prevents success: “Storytelling and having a unique business personality/culture is what motivates prospects into engaging and doing business with you via social media.”

By calling into question what the elements of a good content marketing plan are on my blog (and amplifying it on other social media) I’m creating intense curiosity (about a more complete “way to get what customers want”) and presenting a clear way for customers to act on it (see the call-to-action half-way down the page).

Challenge yourself to go beyond messages and create tangible distinction by busting myths that stymie your customers’ success. Start today!