How to Convince Trade Show Contacts to Engage and Buy on LinkedIn

You’re attending conferences, coming back to the office and requesting prospects connect with you via LinkedIn. You’re getting connections, but are you getting any action? Are you generating leads and nurturing them to transact? You will, and more often, if you follow this simple template:

You’re attending conferences, coming back to the office and requesting prospects connect with you via LinkedIn. You’re getting connections, but are you getting any action? Are you generating leads and nurturing them to transact? You will, and more often, if you follow this simple template:

  1. Remove all focus on you—dramatically.
  2. State a benefit to connecting they cannot resist.
  3. Nurture the lead to fruition using provocative tips.

For example, one of my students used this message to approach prospects … and failed.

Hi, Juile,

Nice meeting you at _______ [conference]. If it’s ok, I’d like to invite you to become a member of my professional network of prospective buyers on LinkedInmade up of high-level executives worldwide. Check them out. I don’t sell to them, but they do buy from me. It’s up to you.

Sincerely,
Charles

Let’s examine the mistakes made and an approach that increased his connection ratio and sparked discussions about what he sells.

Remove All Focus on You
It sounds obvious. But are you doing it—and doing it dramatically? If you’re like most sellers using LinkedIn, you’re letting what you need (leads) get in the way of what your prospect needs to act on (a problem or goal).

The solution is to put what your buyers want to hear up front in the first sentence. Clobber them with it. Tell them how you can remedy their pains or increase their success rates.

“Nice meeting you at the conference,” is an effective way to set context. However, asking someone to become a member of your professional network:

  • is not distinct—it sounds like one of countless other requests
  • is not clearly beneficial to the recipient

Using descriptors like “high-level” and “worldwide” is noise. It’s not important to the prospect. Period. The general rule is to remove all descriptors (adjectives and adverbs). If you do, you’ll sound bold and create an attraction.

Keep the focus on the other side.

State the Benefit in Dramatic Terms
Set the bar high. You don’t want a connection or discussion. You want the prospect to act—to see you as relevant to a pain or goal and irresistible. You want them to act, now.

Specifically, let’s get your prospect to take action—connect and, in near or far term, identify as a warm lead. However, be careful: don’t let your need cloud your ability to focus on the prospects’ point of view.

In my example with Charles, he uses an occasional newsletter to nurture leads. He aims it at his LinkedIn contacts tagged as “long-term leads.” These are buyers who are qualified to buy, but have not yet identified themselves as needy.

Charles’ newsletter is sparking discussions—helping him nurture and identify buyers. People are reading the newsletter and hitting reply, reacting to what he says. With this valuable tool in mind, we can improve Charles’ success rate when approaching conference leads to join his list.

For example:

Hi, Julie. Nice meeting you at _______ (conference). Connecting on LinkedIn will benefit both of us. For example, I send out a newsletter to a privileged group of colleagues on occasion. It provides useful tips to my most valuable relationships … in a way that often sparks reactions. This keeps us in touch … so we increase chances of helping each other whenever possible. What do you think? Thanks for considering.

Charles

Notice how confident and useful Charles sounds, right up-front. He sounds certain: this is a good idea. Plus he states why by focusing on what the other side wants—useful tips that creates benefits.

Also notice the use of the word privileged and how it implies exclusive benefit to the prospect.

Bottom line: If Charles has an asset (a newsletter that sparks reactions with potential buyers) he should leverage it. Also, instead of positioning his LinkedIn network as being valuable (sounding like 98% of LinkedIn users) he positions what his prospects want as what he has for them.

All his future buyer need do is act.

Your Turn
Can what you sell solve a problem? Can it give customers a life-altering experience or bring them closer to reaching a goal?

Let them know you’ve got a sample of it waiting for them.

All they need to do is respond.

Politely tease them a little. Dangle a carrot. When you’re writing the goal is to help them think, “I wonder what, exactly, he/she means by that?”

In the end, it’s easy to end up feeling like a zombie—dumping contacts into LinkedIn, hoping prospects will connect. After that? This is where the strategy tends to fall apart. Don’t let it happen to you.

Remember to avoid:

  • losing focus on benefits you bring to the other side (state them up-front!)
  • asking prospects to do what they likely don’t want to do or have time to do … or see immediate benefit in (explore your LinkedIn connections / network)
  • using descriptors like “high level executives worldwide” (don’t try to convince prospects of something they may already understand—your value!)

Good luck and let me know how this works for you!

Convince Prospects You Can Change Their Success Rates

Is generating leads with LinkedIn proving frustrating and difficult? Probably because you’re failing at tempting prospects to click more deeply and explore what you’re all about … in ways that help capture a lead. Here’s how to provoke response—get people to dive deeper into your blog post, explore your LinkedIn profile, register for a webinar or whitepaper download, email or call you.

Is generating leads with LinkedIn proving frustrating and difficult? Probably because you’re failing at tempting prospects to click more deeply and explore what you’re all about … in ways that help capture a lead.

Here’s how to provoke response—get people to dive deeper into your blog post, explore your LinkedIn profile, register for a webinar or whitepaper download, email or call you.

Success depends on your ability to prove to customers that you can change their success rates (before they purchase and in ways that earn you a lead).

The One Thing That Determines Success
Generating leads with LinkedIn depends on creating intense levels of curiosity in prospects. You’ve got to get them hungry for more information about solutions to their most urgent situations. But not the solutions you sell.

Your first meaningful interaction with prospects cannot be one they pay for. You’ve got to give customers a “taste of success” in advance of their purchase. This gets them confident in their own abilities and trusting you.

Here’s What to Say (to Get Response)
“What do I say to prospects when they don’t want to talk about what I sell yet?”

Whatever matters to them.

The best way to start generating leads with LinkedIn is to ask yourself, “What’s keeping my typical customer up at night?”

It sounds obvious, but are you doing it?

When interacting on LinkedIn, talk about answers to your prospects’ problems, methods to avoid risks or ways to achieve goals, but in ways that don’t immediately connect to what you sell.

Whether in a LinkedIn group or private email, present yourself in a way that leaves the prospect wanting more. This part will make or break your success.

Being provocative takes practice, but it’s the only way to earn a lead when using LinkedIn.

Promise to Change Your Customers’ Success Rate
No matter what you’re selling, you’ve got to give people a reason to start a focused conversation with you. Changing their success rate is that reason.

There are three “places” to converse with prospects:

  • LinkedIn groups
  • Email
  • Your blog

In all cases your challenge is the same: Be relevant and provocative enough to earn prospects’ clicks (to your blog).

Here’s how to begin:

1. Be clear, helpful, yet not 100 percent thorough. Lay out knowledge, tips and actionable information in ways that encourage more questions. Be specific but not so complete that readers become fully satisfied. Find ways to share actionable information in ways that make readers crave more examples.

2. Bust a myth. Few things attract and engage customers more than telling them “Let’s face it. What you’re doing is popular yet not effective. Here’s the secret on what actually works. I’ll prove it to you and show you how to get more of what you want.” By using this provocative technique you’ll create more response and a distinct voice for yourself. You’ll start generating leads with LinkedIn.

3. Make a clear call-to-action. You’re not selling. Instead, saying, “I have a cure for that” or “I’ve experienced that pain, suffered and here’s my three-step system to fix it.” Then make the pathway (to get that system, knowledge or quick fix) clear. Give content away free in return for a lead. Invite contact via LinkedIn’s email system or presenting a link to your website (if allowed in the group).

The opportunity standing before you is terrific. Giving prospects a way to better understand their problem or gain confidence over it can help what you sell become the obvious next step. In this way your product isn’t something to consider buying; instead it is a logical next step in a journey prospects find themselves on. Good luck!