By Alan Sharpe
Looking to attract even hotter prospects? Direct marketing and copywriting guru Alan Sharpe talks about ways you can attract hotter targets in direct mail B2B sales lead generation. 
In B2B direct mail lead generation, as your volume of leads goes up, your quality goes down, and vice versa. The people in marketing prefer volume. They want the most leads for their dollar. The people in sales – the folks who must follow up on the leads that marketing supplies – want quality. They have no time to waste this quarter chasing down tire kickers and brochure collectors.
One way to keep sales and marketing happy is to write lead generation packages that improve the quality of leads generated. Packages that attract the hottest prospects. Here are some ways to do that with your next campaign.
1. Discuss price. The best prospects are the ones who don’t faint when you talk price. They have the budget to buy what you’re selling. So attract them, and scare away the time-wasters, by mentioning your price.
2. Say “A salesman will call.” This should chop your response rate in half by my reckoning. But the prospects you’ll attract will be the hottest prospects, the ones who don’t mind talking to a salesperson, and actually want to (these people do actually
3. Ask their age. Just kidding. Maybe. Asking qualifying questions on your reply device or website landing page helps you weed out the people who are not ready to do business with you right now. This can involve asking them their age (if you’re selling life insurance, for example), but it normally involves soliciting the kind of information that tells you how serious a prospect you have. 
Think BANT: Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe. Asking qualifying questions in your lead generation piece helps you attract prospects who can afford your offering, have the authority to buy, need what you are selling and are ready to act within your timeframe.
4. Charge for information. Putting a price, even a token amount, on an information booklet, white paper or demo will soon separate the cream from the milk.
5. Ask for a stamp. Don’t use a postage-paid business reply card or envelope. Make the prospect buy and affix the stamp. The replies you get will be qualified inquiries.
— Alan Sharpe is president of Sharpe Copy, Inc. ( ) a B2B direct mail copywriting agency.