The Truth About LinkedIn and Lead Generation

John Morgan, my mentor and business coach, has a great line: “You don’t ask somebody to marry you the first time you meet him or her.”

So why do we do it when trying to sell someone we’ve just met on LinkedIn a product or service?

It’s the single biggest mistake I used to make on LinkedIn, and I still see far too many professionals doing the same thing day after day.

Why is this happening?

I think it happens for a few different reasons:

  • We fail to see prospects as people. People who, like anyone else, need to Know, Like and Trust us before they give us their time and attention, let alone open their wallet.
  • We get desperate. We need to make a sale, hit a quota or simply find some income to pay bills every month. So we resort to desperate tactics, like the “spray and pray” method of just blasting anyone within earshot our sales pitches, in hopes we land something – anything – to help stop the bleeding.
  • We get lazy. We see others claiming to have success using over-the-top, pushy sales methods, so we try it, too. We add new connections to our email lists without asking their permission or inviting them to opt-in on their own. We blast out blatant sales pitches or copy-and-paste the same message to hundreds of people with no context, trust or previous connection in place.

I’ll admit it – I’ve been guilty of everything I just mentioned. And, I can report without hesitation, those methods don’t work.

Sure, you might snag a quick sale or two, but you aren’t building any type of meaningful connection or value with your new customer.

The New Reality: Stop Selling. Start Helping.

Here’s what I’ve learned to do instead:

  • I see prospects as people. I get to know them. I listen to them. I ask questions about non-work stuff. I answer their questions without asking for anything in return. I joke around and taunt them about being fans of sports teams I can’t stand. (They return the favor by making fun of MY favorite teams, which are usually their bitter rivals.) We have fun. We build a relationship. I send them valuable information – tips and strategies that they can use to get immediate, quick wins here on LinkedIn – without asking for anything in return.
  • I get confident. If I’m willing to slash my prices or make exceptions just to land one sale, that person immediately knows I’m not the real deal. They know I don’t value my training or time as much as I say I do. Instead of being desperate, I make it clear – my time is worth this much per hour. My training program is priced at this amount, and I believe it’s going to deliver 10x the value if you go through it and apply what you learn. And I can be confident in that because I have social proof and success stories to back it up. Even though my product is digital, and what I’m selling is knowledge, that doesn’t mean I should devalue it just to make a quick sale.
  • I get serious and do the work. I don’t ask for someone’s time or attention. I earn it. The way it works online is simple – I have to provide you value first, and then my “ask” of you has to be in direct proportion to the value I’ve provided. For example, maybe you enjoyed a blog post of mine that featured a great LinkedIn tip. A proportionate “ask” can be suggesting you join my email list to get more of the same sent your way. Or maybe jump on a free webinar for more training. Or grab a free eBook on the topic.

I love what I do, so I don’t mind working hard to discover the best strategies, tips and techniques that I think people will find valuable when it comes to generating more sales leads, clients and revenue with LinkedIn.

Key for truth

I focus on their goals, and I present my information in a way that helps my ideal prospect or customer see how this particular piece of content can help them achieve one of their goals or solve one of their problems.

I love telling stories, I love inspiring people, and I love knowing in my heart I can bring more value to people’s lives by teaching them how to use LinkedIn to get more business.

Here’s why: I know that if people get more business from LinkedIn because of what I’m showing them, it’s going to help them make more money in less time, and that in turn will give them more time to do what they love and have a better life – travel more, get more family time … whatever that might be.

See that? I came back around to helping others. I don’t see my products or services as transactional. I see them as transformational.

You need to as well.

Figure out what problem your product or service solves AND how it can improve someone’s life as a result. (Even if it’s in a small or seemingly insignificant way.)

Get excited about that! Let it permeate every interaction you have with people on LinkedIn and elsewhere.

People respond to passion and enthusiasm.

After all, if you’re not excited about what you’re selling, why should I be?

Most important, take the time to put in real work and earn the right to pitch people. Create valuable free trainings, content, talks, how-to videos, presentations … anything that will help your ideal customer achieve his or her goals.

Also, do it in a way that is engaging and entertaining – I call it “info-tainment.” We’re all human, and we all enjoy being entertained while we learn. I use 1980s pop culture references and even invoke Vanilla Ice to convey key points during my LinkedIn trainings.

Stop taking yourself so seriously and do the same thing. Not only will people enjoy your presentation more – they’ll remember you.

It’s not easy, but it’s effective.

What do you say? Are you with me?