by Jeff Molander
Time to read: 4 minutes. I’ve been using LinkedIn for sales leads with great success. The trick to getting more leads is applying a process that ultimately gets prospects off of LinkedIn and onto a lead nurturing process you own. Step 1: create content (ie. a blog article) that solves a problem for your prospect and provokes them to opt-in to a lead nurturing routine giving more answers. Step 2: locate discussions in Linkedin Groups where your content can help someone. Step 3: Lure prospects inside the Group to more deeply explore your ability to solve their problem, answer their question on your blog.
The key to success is actually founded in creative thinking about what you already know gets prospects’ attention—and getting your target market off of LinkedIn. Here’s proof… in the form of my experience and how you can do the same.
Here’s a snapshot of the process:
- Create a blog post or a video that solves a problem and provokes a RESPONSE from prospects when read/viewed. Start by publishing the answer to a common problem. For example, answer a common question your prospects ask in a way that makes the reader crave more answers about related questions.
Have a clear call-to-action on your blog that shows a way to get more answers in exchange for the prospects’ email address.
- Locate discussions (going on in LinkedIn Groups) where your blog or video content can help someone, create an insight or scratch a bothersome itch.
- Tease prospects into opting in to your lead nurturing process. Inside the LinkedIn Group, invite a prospect to fully explore the answer they’re seeking. Give prospects a reason to take action by teasing them with your very best insight. Prove to them that you can help solve their problem but hold back the full details until they get to your blog.
Step 1: Create Content That Provokes
I recently decided to go after a niche market: Small to mid-sized home improvement businesses who need help using LinkedIn for sales at their dealership or local business. My goal was to create sales leads for my book and training products—relationships that I could nurture into sales. My strategy was to get people already engaged in discussions relevant to the pain I can cure to actually leave LinkedIn and visit my site.
First, I created content that I knew would scratch the itch of my target market. I baited my hook. I interviewed a kitchen cabinet industry expert who had something truly different to say about how successful kitchen cabinet dealers are using social media and using LinkedIn for sales leads.
What my expert had to say was contrarian, valuable, provocative and actionable to my target prospect. This part was key. This was the barb in the hook.
To learn more about this step and access my free training on getting started, check out this article on the best content for blogs.
Step 2: Locate Qualified Discussions
Next, I published a handful of stories and audio interviews on my site featuring my guest, Jim, discussing how successful home improvement businesses are using social media to create leads and sales. He didn’t talk about how they should be using Twitter, Facebook, blogs and such. Instead, he spoke on how they are and gave readers/listeners the chance to learn how they can do the same. He told them how to take action.
I then carefully joined related LinkedIn Groups, taking care to make sure I was clear about my intent to join. I had something honestly valuable to share—actionable insights on a topic that is of current interest to group members.
I joined and waited. Within a few days I spotted a discussion on a Kitchen Cabinet industry Group where I could answer a question in a way that “brought to life” the specific valuable answers my guest expert was offering… but not in the usual way.
Step 3: Tease Prospects Into Action
The biggest mistake most of us are making when promoting content within a LinkedIn Group is sharing a link back to what we’ve published. You see, the minute I started sharing links less and started saying less the MORE action I got—the more people did what I wanted them to do (visit my site and become a lead).
Although most social media gurus don’t tell you this (do they even kno?) you ultimately want to get prospects off of social media (and onto a lead-nurturing system). And what I’ve learned is how you go about doing that is critical (so as not to waste your time!) when using Linkedin for sales.
Lately, the more I’m baiting people… teasing them… the more I’m getting emailed directly through LinkedIn from hungry customers who want to connect, become a lead or buy a product on-the-spot.
Yes, I have a Website that is quite good at selling products and capturing leads so that part doesn’t go away. What’s key here is how I am teasing my target audience into taking action on something I know they already want to act on. No, “less is more” is not a new concept but it sure does work.
Here’s how I did it. I took 2 of my best quotes from the hour long interview and chummed the water with them. If you want to catch fish you’ve got to attract the jumbos. Here’s one of them:
“What social media does is allows access to buyers. (But) then the strategy is to take them off of the social media. Next you put them into a process. This is where we get into emotional-driven, direct response marketing routines… where they find you through relevant content via social media and you put them into a campaign. Dealers can leverage marketing automation technology to deliver more content that nurtures them along toward a sale.”
The other quote, in essence, told my target audience what they really want to hear. Success is about getting back to basics, that design (a value-added service that is being commoditized lately) still matters and how social media can be used to become known, liked and trusted in very practical ways if you focus on a simple, easy-to-do process.
Most importantly I provided no link to the content!
A Simple, Provocative System to Get Sales
Basically I provoked my target market into contacting me. I already knew this approach works. I figure why not leverage LinkedIn Groups in a way that tempts group members to email me for more details… or click over to my profile and then onward to my blog to acquire the knowledge?
Indeed, why can’t you execute this same idea? Sure, you’ve got to trust that this will work but give it a shot. For me, the results rolled in: A dozen or so industry-specific leads and a handful of immediate sales. I love using LinkedIn for business leads because it’s so simple and time effective.
Worth noting, I followed a simple, practical system:
- I created valuable content (answers to my target market’s burning questions) and tied a lead capture to it
- Monitored for people demonstrating need for it (in LinkedIn Groups)
- Revealed answers in ways that created cravings for more of what I have to share (provoked interaction)
I didn’t merely “tell a story” or “provide valuable content” or educate my target market. That’s social media guru blather. I ethically bribed my customers into taking action on something that they wanted to take action on to begin with. I then gave them full satisfaction–useful, actionable answers to burning questions and insights they had not heard before.
How many of you are doing the same? Surely there are more success stories out there. Let’s hear some!
Photo credit: cab234
About the Author
Jeff Molander+ is the authority on making social media sell. He's a sought-after corporate trainer to small businesses and global corporations like Brazil's Petrobras. He's an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded the Google Affiliate Network. Jeff also serves as adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s school of business. His new book, Off The Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You, is first to offer businesses a clear, practical way to create leads and sales with technology platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs.