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The Most Effective Formula For Lead Generation

Frustrated PersonProblem. Agitate. Solve.

The above is the oldest and still one of the most effective formulas for lead generation. More specifically, identify a highly irritating problem, anxiety, worry or frustration your clients have. Next, AGITATE it. Make them FEEL even more annoyed, frustrated and worried about it – and THEN offer the solution to the problem.

As I’ve long taught, effective marketing copy is about “bringing latent dissatisfaction to a boil.” But to do that, you have to know how your prospect thinks and feels. You also must know the specific problems they are dealing with on a day-to-day basis AND be able to articulate those problems to such a degree that they feel you’ve been following them around all day, reading their mind.

Only then can you be effective at writing a marketing communication that gets and holds their attention, triggering a “That’s right” response.

After you’ve effectively stirred up the emotional beehive and whipped them into a lather, you need to move them to action – but selling the solution outright is not the right idea. What WE want to do, particularly in selling advice and services, is to generate a lead.

More specifically, to get a call or scheduled appointment with the prospect. To that end, you DON’T want to reveal too much of what the end solution truly is or you’ll risk them hastily dismissing your solution, thinking they either don’t LIKE the solution or triggering a knee-jerk response of “I tried that before and it didn’t work,” or “That solution is too expensive/not a right fit for us/etc.”

On a recent Q&A call, one of our members was inquiring about what campaign would be most effective to sell an application for financial consolidation reporting. The target market is the CFO or senior VP of finance of a manufacturing firm. All marketing up until now has been word of mouth, which, while terrific, makes one lazy on how to hunt (and, for the record, I’m not suggesting THEY are “lazy,” but they are inexperienced on how to go gin up a customer from scratch).

That’s the problem with any company that relies on word of mouth: you’re akin to a baby bird getting worms dropped in your mouth. Unless you get pushed out, you’ll never develop the strength or skills to leave the nest.

So what campaign would work and how should they go about this?

For starters, they must FIRST determine the emotional drivers that will get a prospect’s attention and get them to MOVE. If they cannot do that, NO marketing will work, or work to the level it could. Not e-mails, websites, direct mail, trade show booths, etc. If your MESSAGE is weak or off target, no media delivery system can make up for its shortcomings.

So if we look at the five-step buying process outlined below, the question is: “What problems, frustrations and angst are going on right now in your prospect’s mind that your solution solves?” Essentially, what is the “awareness” that will trigger them to respond?

  1. Awareness of a need
  2. Picking the solution to the problem (category)
  3. Picking the source of the solution (vendor)
  4. Accepting the terms and pricing
  5. Finding a reason to buy now

For example, a senior VP of finance delivers a report to the CEO that is either incorrect or he suspects is inaccurate, not because he’s incapable of providing an accurate report, but simply because he doesn’t have the correct, up-to-date data he needs AND he’s handcuffed with inadequate tools. That makes him HIGHLY anxious and gives him feelings of embarrassment when he’s incorrect, frustration over the fact he cannot GET accurate data, and anxiety about his job. That being the case, an appropriate headline to test would be:

Attention CFOs Of Manufacturing Firms: There’s FINALLY An Easy, Surefire Way To QUICKLY Get Accurate Financial Information And Reports With Just A Few Clicks


CFOs: Are You Beyond Frustrated Using Time- Intensive, Highly Inaccurate Spreadsheets To Compile Financial Reports For Your Manufacturing Firm?

He might even realize his efforts are being undermined because he’s forced to use tools that are far too simplistic for the job. Another piece of “copy” I’d include in the lead generation ad could be “Do you know you’re simply unable to do your best work and deliver accurate reports because you’re forced to use out-of-date tools like Excel spreadsheets to do the work required by more sophisticated applications?”

I might also throw in “If you want to stop pouring HOURS of work into creating financial reports that you know have a high chance of being inaccurate due to your inability to get accurate data in a timely manner, then read on…” You get the idea.

From there, I might offer a free report on “How To Break Free From The X Biggest Growth Bottlenecks Manufacturing Firms Face That Keep Them Small, Struggling And Unprofitable.” What I would NOT do is start talking about the specific software, for two reasons.

One, they may not have heard of it, and it could trigger them to call their current IT company or guy to inquire about it, rather than calling YOU. Two, it could create the “I don’t want THAT solution” knee-jerk response. I would ONLY reveal the “solution” during the consultation or in a carefully constructed “free” piece of content, like a report or webinar.

But remember, generating the initial shy response is no more than a spark – it’s not on fire yet. So your content and sales process needs to continue to move them through the process of picking the solution (why the software is hands down the BEST solution for them), why they need to buy from YOU over other vendors doing the same thing, or using their internal IT department to take a crack at it.

Then building the value to make price a non-issue, getting them “sold” on the process (particularly if it’s a painful, slow process to get it installed and working) and then building the want big enough to get them to buy NOW. Much of this can be assisted with marketing, but it truly is the job of a SALESperson.

Whether you need help with your marketing, sales or both, we have you covered. The Technology Marketing Toolkit is full of PROVEN, highly-effective IT services marketing plans, lead generation tools and sales training like the strategy above. Learn more and get our proprietary marketing roadmap customized for your business on a FREE one-on-one consultation. Schedule yours today at

MSP Sales: What To Do With The First “No”

Shouting MessageThe first real sales training I ever received was when I was working for Tony Robbins as a rep selling his Personal Power and Power To Influence courses. It was a great experience, to say the least. Tony taught his reps to ignore the first “no,” saying that some prospects throw out an objection or a “no” just as a means of conversing. He’s right to a point.

Time and experience have taught me there’s other more important reasons to “ignore” the first objection you get.

To be clear, you don’t “ignore” it in the sense that you don’t hear them out or you brush it off – but what you DON’T want to do is immediately jump on it, defending your point of view.

Such actions are rookie mistakes. Instead, hear them out and ask questions to explain it. They say, “The price is too high.” You could mirror them, repeating back the objection with a curious, questioning tone: “The price is too high?” Or say, “Compared to…?” and then wait for them to fill in the blank.

Or get them to explain it by asking for specifics: “What do you feel is too high – the project or the monthly fee?” Or, “Okay, is that your only concern?” Read full article and comment →

How To PROFITABLY Show A Little Love To Break-Fix Clients

Show Some LoveIt’s the month of love! Every month I answer a couple of questions from new members in our monthly newsletter and was reflecting on one about what almost every MSP and IT services owner tries to avoid – the “cheap” break-fix client.  This client had gotten enough requests to begin questioning if he was overlooking an opportunity. Read on for my reply…

First, I don’t know of a SINGLE industry or client type that all MSPs would say have abundant and open pocketbooks for spending on IT. ALL would say their clients are “cheap” and unwilling to spend money on what it is they sell.

The simple truth is that YOU have to MAKE them want to buy what you sell.

Are you presenting price properly? Building value in the sales process? ARE you TRULY the most expensive? If yes, are you presenting solid, logical arguments as to why they should spend MORE money with you over anyone else? Are you properly screening out those who truly ARE too cheap, too broke? Read full article and comment →

How To Stand Out In A World Of Fake “Experts”

UntrustworthyThe other day a marketing publication featured an article titled “What To Do If Your E-mail’s Been Hacked.” These “experts” said that if your day was “disrupted” when you discovered you had infected all of your clients and friends with a virus due to them receiving an e-mail from you, you should “be proactive and send another e-mail to apologize to anyone who might have received a bogus message from you.”

They went on to say that “big-dog providers like Google and Yahoo know about it and will get rid of it on their end.” I can sense your underwear tightening up.

Another very well-known and in demand cyber security “expert” with a New York Times best-selling book, a TED Talk speaker with additional keynote engagements lined up at $50,000 a pop, with corporate clients paying BIG bucks for his advice, actually recommended that people turn off their computers at night to cut down on the chance of getting a virus by 50%. He DIDN’T advise them to install a firewall, spam filter, backup, etc., etc. Just turn it off. At night. When the bad guys come out. Read full article and comment →

The Quality You Need To Look For In Any Person You Hire

Looking for Employees

When MSP and IT services business owners open their business, it’s usually because of their love of the tech work. The aspects of running the business, including marketing and managing staff often come later…and at a price.

So this week, I wanted to share a good question about employees that comes with a direct answer. Hiring the wrong people is stressful and expensive, this advice can save you time and money.

Q: In what ways do you motivate employees to be like owners?

A: You don’t. They’re not the owner – you are. If an employee had “ownership” mentality, they wouldn’t work for you; they’d start their own business.

A better question: How do you get employees to “own” their job so they deliver excellent performance and results? Read full article and comment →

4 Questions You MUST Answer With Your Marketing

Mind BlownEvery once in a while I’ll receive marketing material that is so awful, I can’t believe it was produced. It’s always a good reminder that even some marketing “professionals” don’t know what they’re doing, so if they could use a refresher, the folks who don’t do it daily for a living probably could too.

Which leads me to this week’s post. There are four tough, good questions to ask whenever you prepare an ad, e-mail, letter, brochure, website, etc.

  1. Why should anyone READ it (or watch, listen, go to your booth, etc.)?
  2. Why should anyone care about what you’re saying?
  3. Why should they believe YOU or listen to you?
  4. Why should anyone respond IMMEDIATELY?

As stated, TOUGH questions. The marketplace is saturated right now with CHOICES. No one is desperately in need of anything you sell, and it’s best you start with THAT premise rather than believing people are hankering for what you sell and interested in what you do. Desire and interest must be manufactured. Read full article and comment →

Use This Strategy To Grow Your Business In 2020

PartnershipAs you read this, resolutions are being broken all around you. Maybe you’ve broken a few yourself already. I’ve already shared that I think we should set goals and make plans to work toward them year-round, but if you’re feeling that new year motivation and want to channel it towards a strategy that will grow your business, you’re in the right place!

So here it is: JVs, or joint ventures – also known as strategic partnerships, promotional partners and affiliate marketing. Fair warning, the strategy comes with assembly required (a.k.a. hard work). Like EVERYTHING, it is not an easy button that solves all your woes; however, it IS by far my favorite way of acquiring customers for many, many reasons.

Clients acquired by JVs are akin to referrals on steroids. To that end, they are in a far better frame of mind when meeting with you, which means they close much easier, are less price-sensitive and tend to be better clients overall. The cost of acquisition is also far lower than traditional lead generation to a cold list; in many cases, the cost is $0. Read full article and comment →

Bill Gates And Warren Buffett’s Single Most Important Factor To Success

Celebrate SuccessThe new year has started and we’re back in full force around here. I have and will again share ideas with you to kick off the new year for your business. But this week, I wanted to speak directly to you, the person, about the one factor that can drive success in any initiative you have planned for the year.

A quick story: When Bill Gates first met Warren Buffett at a dinner party, their host, Gates’s mother, asked everyone around the table to identify what they believed was the single most important factor in their success through life and write it on a card. The story goes that both Buffett and Gates gave the same one-word answer, without collaboration or discussion of what it should be. And both provided the same answer: “Focus.”

The BIGGER question: what are you CONSTANTLY focusing ON?

I don’t mean “focus” this time as a time-management strategy, although it certainly is. I’m suggesting you consider “focus” as a lens through which you are filtering all experiences, a way of “seeing” situations, people and YOURSELF. Read full article and comment →