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!

Destination Marketers: Turn Facebook Fans to Paying Customers

Destination marketers like hotels, resorts, tour operators or even airlines and travel-related businesses can convert Facebook fans to paying customers right now—and have fun doing it. After a year of interviewing the best social media sellers in the world I discovered a secret: giving customers a reason to offer more than a “like” creates leads and sales.

Destination marketers like hotels, resorts, tour operators or even airlines and travel-related businesses can convert Facebook fans to paying customers right now—and have fun doing it. After a year of interviewing the best social media sellers in the world I discovered a secret: giving customers a reason to offer more than a “like” creates leads and sales.

You can do this too if you start using Facebook to generate questions that your destination, service or venue gives answers to. Just start focusing your everyday efforts on solving problems for event planners and/or travelers. It’s that simple.

As it turns out what you already know works (before social media arrived) is the key to success.

The Gurus Were Wrong
Social media gurus claim that posting a certain number of times, on certain subjects, on certain days is the key that unlocks leads and sales on Facebook. Yes, tactical skills are essential to have but earning a customer’s business (whether it’s an event planner or vacation traveler) demands focus on their specific needs—not technical wizardry.

The true secret is getting back to basics and that means solving customers’ problems.

Forget about destination marketing for a moment. Harris-Teeter, a grocery store and pharmacy, pays customers to ask its dietician health-related questions on Facebook. Why would a grocer—or your organization—do that? Because helping customers put out a fire, right on the spot, is powerful. Answering burning questions opens the door to make a suggestion. It can be a friendly tip or useful trick or, if appropriate, outline benefits of selecting your venue or taking a FAM trip.

Solving problems for customers is not a new idea. It’s what your business likely does each day “offline” and that’s powerful.

Hand Out Candy to Create Response
Getting back to basics on Facebook, blogs, YouTube and other social media works but only if you provoke responses from your target market. Everything you put “out there” on social media—your updates, posts, tweets—must be designed to generate a behavioral response from your buyer. That means planning a bit before you for instance publish your next blog post or Facebook update.

Think of it this way: Want to generate more inbound inquiries or FAM tours? If so, your job is to provoke responses from your buyers. The key here is sharing useful, original (previously unknown) knowledge with buyers in exchange for understanding where they are in the buying process. In other words, entice them with something ridiculously valuable about your destination or property and generate a lead.

Ask yourself:

  1. What do most buyers not know about our destination/property that is honestly opportunistic given their specific need?
  2. How can we help event planners avoid unnecessary risks? Can we help them avoid risks they don’t even know they have yet?

The idea is to start showing customers opportunities they’ve never seen before or providing solutions to problems they don’t yet know they have. That’s the candy. That’s how you can become truly provocative and earn leads. The trick is showing customers ways to capitalize on opportunities and solve problems that ultimately connect to your venue.

Think of it like making everything you do on Facebook, YouTube or a blog scratch meeting planners’ or travelers’ itches.

That’s when the fun begins. Once you’ve identified the candy you’ll hand out think of a way you can highlight the value your location adds (to your buyers’ life) in ways that scratch that itch for the buyer using a blog, Facebook or YouTube.

Give Customers a Reason to Move Toward Transacting
So just remember to make everything you do on social media help event planners or travelers’ solve problems or aid them in getting something important done.

Here are tips on getting started:

• Change it up: Resist asking, “What should we be doing with Facebook?” Rather, ask “How can Facebook make what we already do for event planners better?”

Talk to me: Give your buyers a reason why they need to think about something important to them in powerful new way that gives them a reason to talk to you … so they can more clearly understand what you just provoked.

Make it easy: Use contests, calls to action, bold statements—do what it takes to prompt a reaction and make it easy for buyers to qualify themselves as leads.

Re-purpose content: Are you already helping buyers put out fires or do more with less? How? Where? Collect and organize this information using simple, accessible tools like a blog. Consider ways to prompt event planners within Facebook to visit your blog, induce a response and capture a lead.

Good luck!