To Generate Leads, Sell Your Free Offer, Not Your Product!
When you’re selling your product via direct mail, e-mail or your website, you’ve got to give prospects a lot of detailed product information.
If prospects are going to part with their money, they’re going to want to know all the benefits, specs and nitty-gritty details. When you’re asking for the sale, you simply have to answer readers’ questions and give them enough compelling reasons to buy.
Lead generation is a completely different animal. The object of your direct mail, web page, e-mail or ad is not to make the sale immediately, but merely to get prospects to raise their hands and identify themselves. Once they make themselves known, they enter the sales cycle, and you can convert them into paying customers down the road.
There are many implications of the distinction between selling “off the page” and developing leads. For example, when you’re doing lead generation, you have to pay a great deal of attention to developing a killer free offer that maximizes response. This means you must decide whether to go with an actual free product trial, an information kit, a white paper, an executive summary, a report, you name it.
Another important point is the need to spotlight your free offer and lighten up on product details. You see, many marketers are so in love with their products’ bells and whistles, that they forget they’re doing lead generation. Sure, they mention the offer, but most of the space in their self-mailer, letter, web page or ad is spent extolling the virtues of their product.
This is a serious mistake, and I urge you not to make it! Your lead generation piece should concentrate on selling the free offer, not on providing reasons for buying your product. Remember, all you want people to do is raise their hands! Let me give you an example. I recently wrote a lead generation letter for Chancery Software, whose information systems help educators manage schools more effectively. The letter was mailed to School Board Presidents and encouraged them to request a free Information Kit. Here’s how I rolled into it: