Problems Beat Solutions in Lead Generation

Today I saw an “expert” throwing around that old adage about “People don’t buy features. They buy benefits.” Though that is a nice idea, I must politely disagree, because it will kill your lead generation efforts. 

As I tell all my clients “People’s biggest problem is that they don’t know what their biggest problem is.” 

Every potential prospects for your product/service starts out the same way: They realize that something is not going the way they want it to. Something is wrong. They have a “problem.”

At this point they go looking for a “solution.” This is when they engage – online or offline – your lead generation messages. 

This is also when everything gets screwed up!

You see most human beings are incapable of objectively evaluating their situations. So, they SUBJECTIVELY look at their “problem.” Then they SUBJECTIVELY decide what the necessary “solution” is. Then they go out and look for the easiest (read: Cheapest) way to get that solution. 

At this point they engage your lead generation message that says “I sell widgets.” If they have decided that they need a widget, then you go into their list of possible vendors. If they have decided they need something else, then you and your widgets are ignored. 

But….what if they don’t really need a widget? And what if you don’t really sell widgets? 

What if they really need to change the layout of where the widgets go in their machinery? But they don’t know this because they SUBJECTIVELY diagnosed and solved their own issue?

And what if you, as an afterthought service, provide layout advice for widget placement in machines? But you don’t mention that in your lead generation messages because you think the only value you have is the widget? 

Now, what if your lead generation message said: “If you are looking for widgets you’re making a mistake” – How would that grab their attention?

Your prospects, who felt secure in their decision to just go out and buy widgets, have to stop and consider your words. They will have to look at the rest of your message to make sense of what you are saying. 


At this point you can explain that the problem with widgets is not just buying them but, more importantly, how you lay them out in the machinery.

You have helped the prospect get to their real problem. You have built credibility. And you will have a much higher degree of sales of your widgets because of it. 

Lead Generation Versus The Information Age

You have a TON of information you can use in your lead generation. Yet, your “well informed” lead generation is probably costing you a TON of clients. In this video Erik Luhrs explains why information can kill lead generation and he gives you 3 simple changes you can easily apply that will increase your lead generation effectiveness starting now.

Lead Gen Aha: Do You Truly Own the Value of What You Sell?

Erik Luhrs on why your lead generation efforts will fail unless you OWN the true value of what you sell.

To Make Online Lead Generation Work You Need More Doors

How many doors do you have in your home? A front door and a back door? Maybe you have a door that leads to the driveway or out through the garage? So you have about 2 or 3 ways to get into your home. And for a physical home that is logical and functional.

 Now, let’s talk about your business and something virtual. Imagine that you have an online home – your website – for your business. How many doorways do you have into that house? If you’re like most companies I encounter, you have one: The home page.

Only one way in. That’s it. That’s all.

But it gets worse.

Your virtual front door doesn’t have a doorbell. It has 35 of them! And each button has a different place it will take you. Of course, you’d have to know where you’re looking to go before you’d know which button to push! At this point most visitors will leave and find a front door that is more inviting.

Does this sound like what happens at your website?

Now, there a TON of things that create this problem. Obviously, I don’t have space to go into them all here, but I’d like to offer up 3 big issues that I know will help you greatly enhance the amount of people who make it into your virtual house and stay a while…and maybe even buy something!

CONSISTENCY – If you use a blog or article online to capture attention, and then direct readers to your website at the end, you have to maintain consistency.

For example: Let’s say you wrote a great article about why a specific type of IT server is best for use in industrial manufacturing automation systems. And then you have your link at the bottom of the article and it takes folks to your website’s homepage (you know the one with 35 doorbells). You have now blown the consistency piece, because the reader was expecting more material like the article.

So, set up a consistent theme by taking the reader from the article INTO YOUR HOUSE to a particular page, perhaps about the server or to another article about the server’s usefulness in the industrial automation setting.

GUIDANCE – Once someone is in your house he is expecting you to give him the tour. He doesn’t want to see your son’s messy bedroom but, if he is a wine fanatic, then he would love to see the wine cellar.

The same applies to your virtual house. You must guide your visitors to the rooms (pages) they will most likely want to visit based on what brought them into the house.

Put yourself in the shoes of your visitors and create links and lead-ins that will allow them to go around your site in a way that builds the fun and value of their experience so they want to stay longer and learn more.

Building on our IT server example: You can take the reader from one article to another article or to server specs or to testimonials or to a case study. Just make sure each piece builds on the last one.

INVITATION – Now that your guest is familiar with the important parts of the house, you want to sit down and really get to know him. You want to see if he might be interested in eventually moving in and joining the family. 

In your virtual house this means a call to action. After you have used consistency to invite the visitor in, and then used guidance to show the visitor the parts of your home (site) that will matter to him, you now want to actively engage him.

Create a call to action that fits with their experience so far.

Again, using our IT Server example: You can offer an analysis of their current servers or a scalability assessment for their planned production growth and requisite server needs, etc. So long as the call to action aligns with the subject you’ve been discussing they will be far more likely to respond.

After all, there’s no place like home.


If you’d like a complimentary Immediate Improvement Assessment of your current online lead generation process, please contact us at The GURUS Selling System. Call us at (973) 551-9220 or email us at

In Lead Generation Your Niche is for You, Not for Them

Lots of people will say “you have to know your niche” when it comes to lead generation. And it’s true. Without a firm understanding of who you’re going after, you can easily end up wasting time, money and gray-matter attracting folks you shouldn’t be talking to.

However, I see a lot of salespeople simply create a demographic breakdown of who they feel is “qualified” to buy their wares and then run with that. Sadly, they don’t understand the true power behind knowing their niche.

You see, your niche is not there to help your niche know you. It’s for you to know them – first!

In our company we go through a rigorous Q&A to help clients identify the niches they want and should be working with. We start with demographics, then move into Descriptive Dynamics and then finally move into Individual Experience Qualifiers.

Many of our clients say this process causes them to restructure their entire business model, because they realize they’ve been spinning their wheels up to then.

Although there a lot of great outcomes from our processes, there are three big ones that most folks, using only the demographics model, will miss.

REINFORCEMENT – Most folks will answer some basic niche questions, put them on paper and then forget them ten minutes later. Simply, when you’re out in the world, and hungry for sales, everyone looks like a prospect. This is why you can choose a niche and still end up chasing anything with a budget.

Instead, the point of a well formed niche is to reinforce who you desire to work with so that you avoid the distraction of all the “potential prospects” out there and focus solely on the “definite prospects.”

CREATION – When you do niche creation correctly you go beyond a list of qualifications and literally create a friend. You are designing someone you look forward to meeting and vice versa. You create them in your mind in minute detail before they appear in reality.

Once you know and feel the prospect you seek your Reticular Activating System will engage automatically. Basically, your subconscious mind, which is far more efficient and effective than the conscious mind, will take over and you will swiftly “see” more of the people you seek to engage.

COMMUNICATION – As soon as you know who you should really be dealing with you start communicating with them…in your head. You begin to think about all the different things you will discuss and all of the alignments in understanding you will create to help them benefit from what you sell. Conversely , you will also start to perceive more of their issues, so you can adapt what you do, what you offer and how you offer it to better serve them.

This is not about brainstorming ways to overcome objections. It is about preparing the experience you wish to create with the prospect once you’ve found them, so you can engage them like an old friend because, in a way, they already are.


If you’d like to learn more about The GURUS Selling System’s Niche Target Market Creation Process, please call us at (973) 551-9220 or email us at

To Make an Effective Presentation, First Enlist the Buying Decision Team



If your team had some needs, would you bring in solutions without giving them a say in the solution choices? Why not? Probably because you need to understand their change criteria, need to ensure a solution fits with everything else in their daily operations, and need their buy-in – different activities from choosing the solution.

And yet the sales model merely handles the solution choice, ignoring the change management end of the decision path. Here is an example of how it’s possible to do both, and make the sale.

I recently had a coaching call with a SVP at a well-known CRM Management company. He wanted help maximizing an on-site meeting with a prospect, a hardware company with a sales force of 1500, Here is the dialogue we had:

SDM: Who’s going to be in the meeting?

SS: 10 people: the heads of sales and marketing and their teams.

SDM: So you’ve got 2 people.

SS: No! Ten! It took me 2 months and 3 meetings to set up this meeting.

SDM: But only 2 members of the Buying Decision Team will be present. Who else would need to be on the Buying Decision Team?

SS: Well, the head of technology, obviously, but he loves our solution. Besides, he’s only an influencer.

SDM:  So if he doesn’t want a CRM system, the company will ignore him?

SS: No. They wouldn’t buy. I guess that makes him a decision maker. I wonder who else they have to get on their Buying Decision Team.

SDM: Not only do you not know, but they don’t know yet either. Let’s start with users.

SS: There are 6 user groups. I guess we’d need their buy in.

SDM: Yes. And I’m curious about the tech group. Your solution has a complicated implementation process. Does the tech team know they will need to free up folks for the implementation? Or are they going to outsource all of this? Or some combination?

SS: I have no way of knowing that.

SDM: That’s correct. And neither do they. And until they figure that out, they cannot buy your solution. In fact, until they have the entire Buying Decision Team on board, they can’t buy. There are too many people who need to have a voice, too many unknown decisions to make, too many buying and implementation criteria to take into account. And you can’t be directly involved in doing these things for the prospect because you are not an insider. But you can lead them through their decisions so they have a path to follow. Otherwise you can wait until they figure it out themselves.

SS: So tomorrow’s meeting will have too few of the Buying Decision Team members, and giving them a big presentation right now is wasting my time and theirs: they don’t even have all of their buying criteria. This is why my sales take years to close. What do I do tomorrow?

SDM: Let’s help them figure out how to manage all of the issues we just discussed. And, at the end, if they still want a bit of your presentation, it’s fine. So long as you understand that their needs might change once all of the Buying Decision Team members have a say in the outcome. Obviously the tech folks will have different purchasing criteria than the sales folks, and the users won’t want anything new.

Until or unless all of the members of the Buying Decision Team are on board, the buyer can not know their full set of buying criteria – or even the full definition of their need. When sellers go in and first attempt to ‘understand need’ or even ‘know who is on the Buying Decision Team [useless data as an outsider is not an influencer on the Team]‘ or offer solution data, they are wasting a lot of time and delaying the buying decision.

Facilitate buy-in, manage change, and help gather the correct Buying Decision Team members first. Then help them all figure out their buying, buy-in, and change criteria. Use Buying Facilitation® skills to add to your sales skills to manage this first. And THEN you can focus on the need and your solution. And close a lot more sales a whole lot faster.

They Call me Bruce…

bruce lee

Many people have been emailing and calling asking why I haven’t done a blog post in two months.

First, let me apologize. I know that many of you have come to depend on my blogs for everything from a “daily motivational thought” to a “sales meeting starter” to “a tactic that helps close deals” and more. I’m sorry that I disappeared for a while.

Now, why did I disappear? Simple. I was having an identity crisis. And I recommend you have one too!

You see, about a year ago I was explaining The GURUS Selling System to a new client and I compared it with how Bruce Lee created his system of martial arts called Jeet Kune Do. It was that conversation where my client gave me the moniker of “the Bruce Lee of sales.” I thought it was cool and I have used it ever since.

The problem was that I did not think of myself as the Bruce Lee of sales. After all, Bruce was Bruce and I’m just me.

And that is where the problem started. I knew the value of the system I had created with the help of my mentors, all of whom I would put in the realm of “master.” And I have seen the incredible changes GURUS has had on my clients. I just kept giving the credit away…in my mind.

I did not OWN my system!

I did not own MY power!

I did not own that I was the Bruce Lee of sales!

So I was having an internal struggle. I kept thinking that I wasn’t much and that GURUS was everything.

It came to a head this summer. And I finally realized that Source (AKA: God, Allah, Buddha…) had given me GURUS for a reason. It was a gift TO ME but it is also my gift TO YOU.

And just as Bruce Lee was praised for being the greatest martial artist in the world by using Jeet Kune Do, I am praised for being the Bruce Lee of Sales by using The GURUS Selling System. I have now chosen to OWN that title.

I am honored. I am humbled. And I promise to live up to that standard.

Now, why should you have an identity crisis? Because if you are not achieving what you truly desire in your sales life, your professional life and your personal life, then you too are already having an internal struggle, which creates incongruence.

There are 3 major problems with incongruence:

  1. You don’t fully own or believe what you are saying at certain moments in your life, so you do not feel “right” inside.
  2. Other people unconsciously and instinctively feel that incongruence and, when you’re trying to create sales, that feeling of incongruence is a deal killer!
  3. You will feel the feelings of doubt and confusion far too often and that cuts you off from your higher thinking, which is crucial in creating high end sales and simply living confidently and happily.

So, how can you OWN yourself – or shall we say your “persona”? Simple:

  1. Decide who you are! Too many salespeople think they have to be one person in their workdays and another with family and another with their bowling partners, etc. That belief, that you are multiple people, is the surest way to live an incongruent existence.
  2. When in doubt, let it out! Every day we are faced with new people, challenges, lessons, items, etc. Sometimes we have trouble assimilating something new into our world. Don’t be afraid to talk to friends or family to discuss any issues you have assimilating to these new aspects.
  3. Laugh at everything! The life of high end salespeople is nothing if not stressful. And that is because everyone, including you, takes themselves and their “problems” too seriously. However, a problem only exists until someone solves it. Then it’s gone and you feel better. So, just feel better first by laughing more. Who knows…perhaps the more you laugh the less problems will stick around!

One last thing: Try something new! As you can see I have written this blog. This is my FIRST written blog. Up to now I have only done video blogs. But Bruce Lee tried everything and worked with it until either he FELT it worked for him or not. Then he could keep it or let it go, knowing he had given it a fair chance.

So, I’m going to write some blogs, record some audio blogs and do some different types of video blogs and see what feels right to me. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

If this blog has struck a chord with you, great! Be sure to tell us about your identity crisis, or someone else’s, in the comments below!

And remember, you have to be a person before you can be salesperson! Take care!

Avoid the Fate of the Clueless Cross-Marketer

Have you ever had the brilliant idea of joining forces with someone else who serves your target market so can cross-market with them? Did you screw it up? Or are you hesitating because you’re not sure what to do? In this video Erik Luhrs a story about one of his recent experiences with a cross-marketer to show you what to do and what not to do so you can use cross-marketing effectively.

Gandhi’s Guide to High End Sales

When we think of Mahatma Gandhi we think of a small man with a huge heart, and the will of a lion, who lead his nation to freedom. But he was also an incredible salesman! In this video Erik Luhrs will show you how one of Gandhi’s most famous quotes applies to rapport building with clients.

Why the Power of Influence can Backfire on You

Many sales trainers hype the value of being able to influence clients. Yet influence is a double-edge sword and, as many high end salespeople have come to learn, it can cut you before you know it. In this video Erik Luhrs will show you the common mistake salespeople make when using influence, as well as the most effective and elegant way to use it for the best of all concerned.