customer-magnet-1019871_640And…  The NEXT chapter in my lead generation book, for your enjoyment!

Up until this point, we’ve been talking about the system.  All the moving parts and pieces you want to put in place to develop an automated approach to lead generation.  As well as the benefits to your business of putting that system in place.

We’ve spent very little time, however, digging into the specific elements of the system.

And there’s one element in particular that deserves a lot of attention.  Because if you get it right — both in what it is, and your execution — it will do a TON of the selling job for you.

— It will attract the attention of the right leads and prospects, and get them to raise their hand.

— It will establish you as an expert, authority, or even celebrity within your market, making your business naturally attractive to great customers.

— And it will do a large part of the prospect education and selling job for you and your sales team, short-cutting the time and effort involved in one-on-one selling.

Since this one element — this one sales tool — can play such an important role in your automated lead generation and selling system, we’re going to spend the next few chapters digging deep and getting it right.

Information and education: the most powerful selling weapons…

Every selling job — in person or through media — requires education.  At the very least, nearly every product’s packaging has some level of content on it that teaches you what it is, what it will do for you, and why you should purchase it.

Take that up a notch, and most salespeople spend most of their selling job trying to match their product or service to the customer’s needs.  For this, they speak with the customer trying to understand their needs and priorities.  Then they inform and educate the prospect regarding how buying their product or service fills those needs and priorities.

Via marketing, it’s the same game.  My clients who sell exclusively through direct marketing with no sales force will use hour-long videos, 30+-page sales letters, 28-page or more direct mail pieces, and other similarly-long selling tools.

Folks regularly ask, “But who reads all that?”  The most simple answer is: “Buyers.”

A fundamental premise of this book and my approach to selling is that today’s consumers want to buy — even if they don’t want to be sold.  They want to make sure they’re making an educated, informed decision about what it is they’re investing their money into.

The better you are at informing and educating your customer, the easier it will be when it comes time to close the sale.

And that makes information and education a perfect part of any selling process — even more so when you’re able to automate it into a system that does most of the work for you.

In that regard, one of the world’s best marketing copywriters, Gary Bencivenga, taught me that your marketing should look, feel, and actually be valuable in order to get the attention and readership of your target market.  He specialized in direct mail, for the world’s biggest direct mail marketers.  One of his biggest successes, for PREVENTION Magazine Health Books, was a little booklet titled “The Doctor’s Vest-Pocket Sampler of Natural Remedies” that mailed over 100-million pieces (earning him a multi-million dollar royalty).  It looked and felt valuable, and incorporated information and education with selling, all in one go.  It was a huge winner.

Your goal is to accomplish much the same thing, but as one step in your lead generation and selling system.

To do this, you’re looking for one piece that accomplishes two goals.

The first and obvious goal, from what we’ve been discussing here, is that it needs to inform and educate the prospect toward making a purchase decision.

The second and less-obvious goal is that it needs to be compelling enough in itself that your ideal prospect will raise their hand and request it from you.  That way, when you’re doing lead generation advertising, you can promise this informational and educational selling tool as a solution to their pressing problem.  And as Gary Bencivenga taught me, it should look, feel, and actually be valuable to play this role.  That’s how it will get you the very best results.

There are many tools for doing this today.  I mentioned white papers and free reports, which have waned in perceived value, in most markets.  Webinars, videos, teleseminars, and other online multimedia can fill this role as well.

And books.  While many other tools can be quick to produce and adequate for meeting the two big goals I just mentioned, nothing beats a book.

What makes a book such a powerful selling tool?

Think about this for a moment.  If someone’s a published author on a subject, don’t you automatically assume they have some expert status?  Logically, this isn’t necessarily the case.  But when it comes to the type of gut-level reaction that drives marketing and sales response, a book (especially paper-and-ink) equals expertise.

Not only that, having written a book can make you a bit of a celebrity in your market.  Because you become known as the person who “wrote the book on…” you are talked about, garner more media attention, and generally get placed on a higher podium than “lesser mortals.”

This isn’t necessarily based on accurate perceptions or what is right, but it has been proven true, over and over and over again.

Writing the book on a topic relevant to your target market (and relevant to the products and services you sell) is a shortcut way to attain expert or even celebrity-expert status.

This status will make your entire market more interested in what it is you have to say and sell.  It instills you and your business with credibility that’s unmatched from almost no other tool.  And it makes the eventual job of selling far, far easier than it is without.

And good news: it’s also a lot easier to get a book written and published than you might assume (even if you’ve tried and failed at writing one before), so you shouldn’t be scared of that part.

And yet, it’s one thing to have written a book.  It’s another thing altogether to actually turn it into an effective selling tool.

Here’s how to use your book as an effective selling tool, a way to get your best leads to raise their hand…

As long as you use it in any capacity, you’re better of having written a book for your target market than not having written one.

And yet, when you incorporate it into a lead generation and selling system, that’s when it can work real magic in your business.

As I mentioned, you want a book that addresses a core and common problem of your target market.  It’s smart to develop the book around a problem-solution narrative.  The book speaks to the problem the prospect faces, and shows them how to solve it.

This makes it the kind of informational resource your prospect will want.

If an ideal prospect suddenly sees an ad that speaks to the problem they have and promises a solution in the form of a book, they are highly likely to respond.  I’ll go into more detail on this in coming chapters, but this is that critical point where they actually raise their hand and self-identify as a lead.

This probably means they’re not going to Amazon or their local bookstore to buy the book.  Instead, they’re getting the book directly from you.  And they’re giving you their contact information (and sometimes money), so you can send it to them.

This moves them from an anonymous member of your target market to a lead for your business.  A lead who has requested information and given you an opportunity to follow up with them.

In that book, you fulfill on the promise of solving their problem.  At least, as much as you can in book form.

Most likely, your products or services will go well beyond what you can do in a book in solving that particular problem.  And so your book says as much.  After pointing the reader toward the solution to their problem, it provides the same kind of information and education that a salesperson would when speaking to the prospect.

It can compare options available to the prospect, for creating a lasting solution to their problem.  It can and should establish buying criteria, to help the prospect really understand how to choose between the options available to them (these, of course, should point toward your product as the superior solution for your ideal prospect).  And it can tell success stories of others who’ve had their problem solved before.

There are other important elements as well, which we’ll get into.  But the gist of it is, the book should both offer compelling enough content for the prospect to want to get it and dig in, and it should do a lot of the informing and educating required to close the sale.

Before we move on to the next chapter, where we’ll cover strategies for actually getting the book written, I’ll answer one question that commonly comes up when we talk about these two goals for your book.

Most books you buy off Amazon or at a local bookstore are designed only as content.  For those authors (and many of their readers), the idea that you’ll start selling in your book is atrocious.  For this reason, it’s common to ask:

Who is going to read a book that sells as much as it educates?

The answer to that mirrors the question of who watches a 60-minute sales video, or reads a 30+-page sales letter…  Buyers. 

And when you’re building your book for lead generation and selling, that’s exactly who you want to be reading it.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr