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Lead Generation Sins – 7 Of Them!

By Daniel Levis
Posted Friday, January 21, 2005

I really just don’t get it.

How can so many businesses be missing the lead generation boat by such a long country mile?

Billions of dollars in profits, flushed away!

Just because of 7 innocent, yet deadly, tactical lead generation errors. Its nuts!

Now before I continue, let me just say that some of you who read this might find it upsetting.

I’m going to reveal some controversial ideas here. And yes, some of them are likely to fly in the face of many of the things that you’ve probably read & heard about lead generation, and come to believe.

But I urge you to keep an open mind.

At the very least, weigh this article without prejudice. When you’re finished reading, I give you full permission to thumb your nose, and go back to doing lead generation the way you’ve always done it.

“The 7 Sins”

Sales & Marketing on Separate Floors

This, my friend, is the cardinal sin.

Marketing guys sitting in an ivory tower, pontificating about company image & branding, and coming up with a bunch of award winning creative mambo that amounts to nothing more than pompous chest beating.

And everyone waxes poetic about how good the company looks, and finds an excuse for justifying the money pit with the orders that some dialing for dollars sales guys brought in against the latest “marketing promotion”.

Nobody seems to notice that the marketing “campaign” is lame & useless, and that it’s the sales force that is driving sales against the “promotion”. And sales stay flat, because the promotion is really nothing more than another way of packaging a discount.

Meanwhile, in another part of the building, the sales force is struggling to meet their numbers, and spending 80% of their time generating leads by leaving voice messages, and battling to finesse their way by gatekeepers, and showing up in lobbies unannounced because they happened to be in the area. Why? Isn’t that 6 or 7 figure marketing campaign supposed to put them in front of pre-qualified prospects, with a genuine need for what their selling, so they can help them to solve problems, and close business?

FACT, a real marketing program can actually do this.

Effective lead generation is just “Salesmanship in Print”. Its primary goal should be to automate nothing less than the top two thirds of the sales funnel. Full Stop.

Salespeople are expensive. They should be spending their time interacting with prospects that are already pre-qualified, and pre disposed to doing business with you.

How much more profitable would your company be, if your salespeople were up to 5 times more productive?

“Content” Websites

Maybe you’ve head the expression “content is king”, when it comes to web sites. Allow me to debunk this popular myth for you once & for all.

Do you want to win awards with your web site, or generate leads with your web site? Do you want to make your web site a really cool place for your prospects to hang out & push buttons, or do you want them to respond to your sales message in a meaningful way that advances the sales cycle?

Forget about cluttered web pages that offer too many choices. If you want to rock your prospects world, give them one clear & compelling message at a time; one that they can focus on without distraction. Ask them to do one or two things per visit. Simple.

In my humble opinion, the best way to format the page is in the form of a letter that addresses the title of the person you’re most likely to be selling to. And it should have a bold heading that clearly trumpets the benefits of reading it.

If you must have a content page, fine, but don’t drive traffic to it. When generating traffic, advertise a benefit, not your company, and direct traffic to a page that deals with just that. If someone wants to come back and visit you later, they can then visit your content rich home page, and browse for what they want.

Giving Away Intellectual Capital

Many businesses seem to realize at some level, that customers do value their expertise. So they publish whitepapers & ROI calculators, and reports, and make them freely available on their web site, off in the corner somewhere. They’re just one more distraction on a content page that leaves the visitor wondering what they’re supposed to do next. How about the back button?

All that a prospect has to do to obtain the report or the tool, or whatever it is, is to click on a link. Good Golly, Miss Molly, what a huge mistake!

I hope you’re not making it.

Isn’t a dose of your expertise at least worth having the customer tell you who they are?

And while they’re at it, why not make it easy for them to subscribe to your newsletter, or a specialized course that you can deliver via email. Whatever you do, don’t let them leave your website without introducing themselves. Good grief.

Sometimes it takes several exposures to your print persuasion before the prospect becomes comfortable enough to come forward and make personal contact. But when they do, you’ve got a live one!

And make no mistake. A prospect that convinces themselves that they need to talk to you by reading your problem solving story, is more than twice as likely to buy, versus one that you’ve cold called. Savvy?

Boring & Hard To Read Copy

Some people will tell you not to use a lot words in your promotional materials. Poppycock.

Prospects that are actively looking for what you’re selling will read & read & read until they’re red hot & ready to talk to you. But you have to know how to actively engage them.

If you bore them with product features, or vain puffery about your company, or just plain poorly written bafflegab loaded with techno-speak drivel, forget it.

If you want effective lead generation, grab them with a benefit riddled headline, jab to the solar plexus with a trance inducing opening, and bam, down they go, straight to the meaty emotional appeals & logic of your argument.

Black type on a white background, large text that’s easy to read, and plenty of white space between ideas works best. Now you’re cooking.

The more you tell, the more you sell, but only if you keep them awake.

No “Soft” Follow Up

Hi, it’s Sally Sales, are you ready to buy yet? Is this your idea of follow up?

Don’t you just love to hate this annoying little voice on the other end of the phone?

Just as with the initiation of the sales cycle, it remains critical to your odds of closing that you get the prospect to continue to be the one who initiates the lion’s share of the communication.

It’s a huge psychological advantage! You’ll only achieve it by nurturing & caring for your prospect base with effective direct response follow up mechanisms. Things like newsletters, courseware, special reports, offers, tutorials, and the like.

When you continually spoon feed your prospects information that is genuinely useful to them, and that helps them to better understand the implications of the problem that you can help them to solve, they’ll call you when they’re ready.

Selling “Product” Too Early

If you want to really stand out from the crowd, and turn your lead generation hopper into the horn of plenty, don’t sell your product too soon.

To catch infinitely more fish, drive potential prospects to your web site, and pitch problem solving information, in return for your prospects contact information, and permission to follow up.

More than ever, your prospect is interested in your experience & expertise, as well as your product. What better way to demonstrate it, than with a well-written whitepaper?

It’s dead easy to write a whitepaper that automatically qualifies prospects, and graduates them effortlessly to the next milestone in your sales process. If you need a little help getting started, try this.

What your prospects are really looking for are results, not products. It’s the “How To” that they crave.

Lame Publicity

Few businesses take advantage of good lead generation publicity.

There are people out there right now searching trade magazines & publications for ideas about solving their problems. They should be reading your articles. They should be reading case studies about how your customer’s reached their goals with your help. They should be exposed to your press releases, announcing the availability of your problem solving whitepapers.

Just don’t make the all too common mistake of doing these things without a carefully planned out system for harvesting prospect contact info & permissions.

Smart & highly choreographed publicity is stealth marketing. It slips right under the prospects sales resistance radar.

Since childhood, society conditions us to trust & believe things that we read in the media, and to distrust paid advertisements.

So publicity is a far more effective lead generation tool than traditional advertising!

But rare is the marketer that appreciates this, or knows how to do it.

About the Author
Daniel Levis is a top marketing consultant & direct response copywriter based in Toronto Canada. Recently, Daniel & world-renowned publicist & copywriter Joe Vitale teamed up to co author “Million Dollar Online Advertising Strategies – From The Greatest Letter Writer Of The 20th Century!”, a tribute to the late, great Robert Collier.

Let the legendary Robert Collier show you how to write words that sell...Visit the below site & get 3 FREE Chapters! (


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