Michigan basketball

This is Why Winning Isn’t Everything

I remember getting the call. I was confused. My husband was supposed to be in the air with the Michigan Basketball team on the way to Washington D.C. for the Big Ten Tournament.

I picked up the phone.

The wind howled in the background. He was emotional. He told me their plane nearly crashed, stopped just short of a ravine. He and the team had to exit the plane through the emergency exits, but everyone was alright. He had to go, but he loved me so much.

Complete and total shock.

My husband came home for the night, leaving first thing in the morning on a new plane with new luggage (his was trapped under the plane with the rest of the team equipment). Families wouldn’t be taking the new flight, so all of us watched from home as the team took the floor in their practice jerseys.

I said to myself, they are either going to be one-and-done, or they’re going to win it all.

They played like they were going to win it all.

As soon as I saw that win, I knew we had to get to Washington D.C. I called around and learned there would be a bus departing with staff families who wanted to go. I made sure my family was on that bus.

We took a 13-hour, overnight bus trip to Washington D.C. My kids were 6, 4, and 2. The trip was amazing. We made memories as we caught cabs, went to museums, and watched the Wolverines win three more games. They won the tournament, becoming the lowest seed in tournament history to win it all.

Fast forward a year. The Big Ten Tournament was being held in New York City. Remembering the amazing run of a year before, I wanted to take my kids, but it wasn’t in the cards for our family. Instead, my husband and I decided that – if we made the championship – I would fly out on my own.

We made the championship and I woke up at 5 a.m. on Sunday morning to take the only flight available to New York City that would get me to the game in time. We won and I had the pleasure of being there to watch the team cut down the nets.

Next was the NCAA tournament.

I was on a yoga retreat for the first two rounds without a television in my room, so I watched the games on my iPad. I casually watched the first game and the majority of the second, readying myself to accept defeat as time wound down against Houston.

Then Jordan Poole hit that magical shot as the buzzer sounded, taking laps around the court. Michigan was in the Sweet 16.

I watched the next two games from home, my husband in LA with the team. The strong showing against Texas A&M in the Sweet 16 meant one game stood between Michigan and the Final Four.

I couldn’t believe it.

The 2013 Run

The last time the Wolverines were in the Final Four, it was a magical year. Future NBA draft picks Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Nick Stauskas, and Mitch McGary were all part of the team. My kids were 2 and 10 months old. I made the trip to Atlanta while my aunt stayed home with my kids.

Michigan dominated the first half, led by bench player Spike Albrecht, who scored 17. I thought we had it. Then Louisville stormed back in the second half and ended up taking the win.

It hurt.

Bad.

The start of the 2013-14 season was actually tough for me. We raised the Final Four banner at Crisler Center and it brought back the disappointing ending of the previous year.

I have since talked many times about that night as being the most difficult sports loss I’d ever experienced. That’s why, after Michigan beat Florida State to earn its second Final Four appearance in six seasons, I was nervous.

“The one thing I don’t want,” I told people, “is to make it to the championship game and lose again.”

Another Fairy Tale

Michigan basketball

My family before the Michigan vs. Villanova NCAA Championship game.

I took all three of my kids to San Antonio for the Final Four. We swam in the hotel pool, went on a riverboat tour with the Michigan Basketball family, and visited Fanfest.

Winning the first game was amazing. My kids – now 7, 5, and 3 – were into it. It felt right. It felt different.

This was going to be it. I thought. We are going to win it all.

Michigan head coach John Beilein deserved this win, after all. Voted “the cleanest coach” in the NCAA, Coach Beilein is an amazing teacher, coach, and human being.

Special to me has been he and his wife, Kathleen’s, support of The ChadTough Foundation, an organization I work with. He helped us to a back-to-back $100,000 donations and invaluable awareness for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and pediatric brain cancer research through the Infiniti Coaches Challenge.

This was going to be his moment. I knew it.

Then it wasn’t.

Michigan got off to a strong start, but Villanova took over midway through the first half and swiftly won. The loss hurt. I wanted to win so badly. For my husband, for Coach Beilein, and for the Michigan Basketball family.

I thought about how tough it must be for Coach to get so close – again – and not come away with the title.

Then I read this quote:

“Don’t worry about me,” he said. “I would love to win a national championship for those guys and for the University of Michigan. All those great students and all our alums and everyone. But for me, this is why I coach. To be in that locker room right now with these kids.

“And to have the opportunity to tell them: ‘This is life. You have highlights and then, all of a sudden, your season’s over and there’s sadness.’ But in the long run, there’s a lot of joy with what we just went through.”

The Journey

I never imagined I would learn a critical life lesson following that loss, but – somehow – Coach Beilein drove it home. It’s not about the win or the loss, it’s about the journey.

That message can, and should, be translated into every single area of life. Coach is right – this is life. Whether it’s personal or business, the trials and tribulations are what refine and grow us.

I’ve experienced it in the four years since I set out on my own to start a business. The process has been scary at times, because I didn’t want to fail my clients or myself. Little did I know, those failures were necessary.

I can talk to a client with confidence and knowledge I didn’t have two years ago because I’ve gone through those failures. I’ve seen what doesn’t work. I’ve relied on myself and doubted myself and learned that I can – and should – trust my gut.

Coach Beilein is an amazing coach because he sees beyond the game. He recognizes that preparing young people to weather life’s storms is a far bigger victory than personal accolades.

And because of that, these players had the opportunity to learn something during this NCAA tournament run that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.

I know I certainly will.

ABOUT CHRISSIE WYWROT

Chrissie Wywrot is a B2B lead generator and personal brand strategist who works with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her at chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

4 Years After I Quit My Job, This is My Reality

This Facebook memory popped up today.

Not only did I quit my job, I quit a job sought after by many young sports enthusiasts. I loved my job, but — after 10 years — it was time to move on. I gave my two weeks’ notice and dreaded the act of leaving. Packing up my office was like moving out of my childhood home. I had been with the Lions since I was 22 years old and — in many ways — I grew up there. It was scary stuff.

What I know now …

I could say I wish I hadn’t experienced trials these last four years, but I would be lying. Without all of the twists and turns, I wouldn’t be standing on the firm foundation I’m on right now. I’ve built a business that supports my family, helped buy us a house, and provides immense fulfillment.

But that isn’t the entire story. The entire story is a lot messier and includes things I’d much rather leave out of the “fairy tale” depiction of building and sustaining a business. The mess, though, is what makes it real and what has taught me how to be successful.

Maybe your mess looks a lot like mine.

1. I was terrified.

When all you’ve known for 10 years is the structure of being told where to be, what to do, and how to perform, the sudden free-fall of owning your own business is a major shock to the system. I needed things to do and there was no one there to tell me what to do. The initial shift into this new world was a big one.

It took me awhile to figure out how to own my newfound freedom. I bought a lot of office supplies and drank a lot of coffee.

2. My first try failed.

When I left the Lions, I had a plan. One year later, that plan had completely dissolved and I was back to square one, trying to figure out what I wanted to do. If you’ve never owned your own business, here’s something you should know: it is a vulnerable, soul-searching process.

You find yourself knowing what you’re good at, but not knowing how to articulate it. It’s really humbling to price your professional worth and then ask people to pay you. Trust me, it’s not the same as asking for a raise or interviewing for a 9-5. You feel like you’re “playing job” when you first start.

Someone asks you how much your services cost and you tell them … while praying and cringing all at the same time. Then, after you’ve inevitably priced yourself way too low, you’re cursing the fact that you didn’t set your bar higher.

3. There is guilt.

As I looked to reinvent my business, I felt so much (self-inflicted) pressure and guilt. I tried to continue with what I thought I wanted to do with my business, but — though I didn’t know it then — I had to hit a professional bottom. I got to a point of feeling so guilty for draining my family’s funds that I began applying for full-time jobs.

I was awarded interview after interview, but never landed anything. It may have been because it wasn’t meant to be or because I didn’t want a full-time job … or a combination of both. But the end result was my husband looking at me and saying, “No, I think you’d be great at owning your own business!”

My guilt had blinded me to my incredible support system (and I recognize not everyone has that). After that moment — nearly two years in — I decided there was no turning back. I resolved that I would never work another 9-5.

4. Feedback is essential.

I have pivoted so many times it’s hysterical. Between being deep in my own business and hearing constant feedback from experts about what I “should” be doing, I lost my own vision in the noise.

Epiphanies happened for me when I allowed others I trusted (see one of my very close friends Danielle Liss in the picture) to reflect back to me what they saw in me. And when I say epiphanies, I mean angels were singing.

I would not be where I am today without the love and support of people I didn’t even know when I started this journey (Tara Humphrey, I’m also looking at you).

5. Success is pretty damn awesome.

I don’t think I even recognized “success” until recently. It’s definitely in the eye of the beholder but — for me — success has been the ability to support my family while being fulfilled in my work.

I am someone who has to love my job. I want to make a difference with my work, whether that’s through a nonprofit or by helping other passionate entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.

It’s why — four years later, when I really look back — I can see the success. I’ve made a difference along the way and I’ve loved what I’m doing. I can also see how far I have to go, but I know it’s the journey that will shape me even further.

Entrepreneurs, see the truth below.

Embrace it, or you’ll never make it.

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is a B2B lead generator and personal brand strategist who works with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her at chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

Do You Want to Leverage LinkedIn for Your B2B?

I am asked a lot whether LinkedIn is the “right” tool for a B2B. My answer is almost always “it depends.” One thing that separates me from many other professionals is that I want the best for your business first, regardless of whether you choose to work with me. If LinkedIn isn’t the best option for you, I don’t want you to use it.

So, is LinkedIn the right option for you? The best way to determine that is to jump on a call with me, but here are a few cheats to try to figure it out for yourself:

Ask Yourself: “Is my audience on LinkedIn?”

It’s simple, but it’s critical. If you are targeting a group of people who don’t like LinkedIn, you may struggle with results. That’s not to say your target has to spend a lot of time on LinkedIn. I have clients who have had great success reaching out to individuals who spend little time at a computer.

The key is to look at the connections of the people you are targeting. If your ideal client has fewer than 100 connections, no headshot, and next to nothing in his or her profile, you may want to avoid LinkedIn. Again, this isn’t a dealbreaker, but it’s one thing to consider.

Ask Yourself: “Can I easily identify my target audience?”

This is a big one.

The first thing someone is going to do when you reach out is qualify whether you have a legitimate reason for reaching out. You have a split second to catch his or her attention before being written off as a spammer.

This is why people who target a specific geographic location can often have more success than those who target behaviors or industries. If you start by saying, “Hi, I’m reaching out to local businesses to ask …” you are instantly relevant. Yes, some people will still be annoyed, but it’s a far cry from reaching out with something along the lines of, “Do you need a new website?!”

If you provide bookkeeping services for influencers who have little time to focus on anything other than influencing, you have that same relevance. “Hello, I see you are a big-time influencer in your space and I would love to chat with you about the bookkeeping services I offer.”

On the other hand, if you are target people who are dissatisfied with their websites, you can’t know that without asking. That drastically increases the time and energy you will have to expend before you uncover your ideal target and it makes for a tough ask. Think about it: by approaching them, you have to assume they hate their website. And what if they are the ones that designed it?

Ask yourself: “Are those within my target audience disgruntled?”

I once worked with someone whose target audience was angry. Every fifth person I looked up had “don’t contact me or I will publicly shame you” written within their profiles. It was so stressful!

If the people you are contacting have a chip on their shoulder when it comes to cold reach-outs, there’s a good chance you’re going to fail miserably at your LinkedIn sales endeavor. You’re probably best to settle in with a nice, safe inbound marketing or SEO campaign and call it a quarter.

Ask Yourself: “Will my leads make me enough money?”

Personalized reach-outs take time, which means money. This is true whether you’re conducting them yourself or hiring me to do it — time equates to money regardless.

It’s important that what you’re selling will make you enough money to make the reach-outs worth it. This can happen in volume or value. Convert many lower-tier services a month to cover the cost of outreach or convert one high-end service a month to cover the cost – either way works.

Okay, you say. If time is money, is it better to just go with ads?

If you are selling on LinkedIn, I see one reason to leverage ads instead of personalized reach-outs and that is if your ask will insult your audience. As mentioned above, if the only way you can approach your audience is by asking whether they’re dissatisfied with their current way of doing things, ads may be a better approach.

So, what do you think? Are LinkedIn reach-outs the way to go for you? Do you have any questions? Ask them in the comments below!

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is a B2B lead generator and personal brand strategist who works with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her at chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

This Kind of Lead Generation Advice Drives Me Crazy

I love lead generation. To me, it’s like a code to be cracked. I work with all types of businesses with many different goals to determine what marketing strategy and lead generation tactic will work best.

That’s why it drives me crazy when anyone touts that one type of lead generation strategy will work across the board.

I recently came across a professional on LinkedIn who made a bold statement about nurturing leads. She posted a pitch someone made and — I’ll be honest — it was a bad pitch. In response, she posted about the importance of nurturing people into becoming leads.

I agree that is a good tactic, but I don’t necessarily think it is a good tactic all the time.

Here’s why.

Let’s say you are trying to sell to Person A and Person B. Person A hates being pitched. She feels uncomfortable and irritated when anyone tries to sell to her. Person B considers her time valuable and prefers that people get to the point. If she is being sold to, she’d prefer to be asked point-blank whether she wants the product or service.

Clearly, attempting to sell the same way to both people is a bad idea. Person A needs to be nurtured. The pitch has to be disguised. Person B wants the opposite. Just cut to the chase.

Great, you say, but I can’t read people’s minds. How does this help me?

Here’s the thing: you can predict which type of person you will be pitching based on your service and target audience. If you are a vendor for hotel chains, for example, nurturing your potential leads probably isn’t necessary. You can reach out to the decision-maker or gatekeeper at the hotel with a direct, customized ask.

Research the chain and mention important business details. Maybe you recently stayed at one of their hotels and loved the service. Once you’ve written your personal note, you can simply ask, “Do you need [what I’m selling]? If you do, let’s set up a call. If not, it was great to connect!”

On the other hand, you may be an accountant for entrepreneurs. That type of relationship tends to require more nurturing. Instead of reaching out and asking someone to sign up for services, you may say, “Hey, Person B, I see you have your own business. Fantastic! I work with business owners as a CPA and would love to connect with you in the event you need help in the future. Thank you!” Then you work your inbound marketing strategy with blog posts, interviews, and other tactics.

The key here is personalization to both the business and individual. The service you are providing makes a difference and so do the people you are reaching out to.

The point is that it’s all relative, which is why I dislike professionals saying one way is the only way. It’s all about uncovering the right code and executing.

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is a B2B lead generator and personal brand strategist who works with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her atchrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

The “Extra” Worry That Comes With Being an Athlete in Business

Becoming an entrepreneur is a vulnerable experience. We put ourselves out there as the product or service, putting a price tag on what we’re worth. It can be intimidating, especially for a professional athlete who has only done one thing for his or her entire life: focus on sports.

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

Beyond that, though, is another reality that many of us don’t experience: dealing with the court of public opinion. I suppose some of us may grow our businesses to the point that we are spoken about publicly, but it isn’t the norm.

Professional athletes have to keep in mind that their business will be seen through the filter of having once being in the public eye. This can be a blessing and a curse. The blessing? I wrote in early November that athletes must capitalize on their status as playing in the pros or in college.

The curse is being under a microscope. So many fans believe athletes are entitled millionaires because the cliche guy throwing around money is typically the one covered in the media. Sensationalism sells.

So, what do you do if you’re a professional athlete-turned-entrepreneur to keep your name and your business out of the mud?

1. Hire Well

First, it is important to know that there will always be naysayers. Some people enjoy blasting others on social media — that’s how they get their kicks and pro athletes are a great target.

I know it’s frustrating to see the ignorance in the face of trying to make an honest living. It’s frustrating for me to see people I know, like, and respect spoken about as though they are selfish and wrong for wanting to build a business.

Make sure you invest in quality public relations or marketing professional who can screen your social media and guide you in how you present yourself to the public. You always want to be one step ahead.

2. Recognize Your Differences

Even if you didn’t finish your pro career as a millionaire, you must recognize that the public sees you as one. That might mean you have to showcase the nonprofits you support, give away “scholarships” to the coaching program you run, or simply be ready to ignore criticism.

Some industries are easier to navigate than others. Real estate, for example, won’t be met with a great deal of criticism. If you plan to work a lot with the public, however, you may run into some. It’s completely unfair, but the public doesn’t see you as a “real” person — to them, you are a caricature.

Take that into account as you’re putting together your marketing plan.

3. Be Transparent When Necessary

Are you just starting on your business journey? Let your fans and followers know you are figuring out your workload as you go and, therefore, won’t be able to accommodate everyone just yet.

If you’re offering coaching for youth sports, for example, be transparent about the number of kids you can take at any given time. Begin with a “soft launch” so you can determine how many clients are realistic and how you should price your services.

You don’t want to present yourself as a bumbling newbie, but you can talk about wanting to do things right and, therefore, beginning slow.

Customize Your Plan

I am speaking in very general terms — customizing a plan is essential in this space. If you are just starting your business or need help re-branding or putting together a marketing strategy, reach out to schedule a free consulting call.

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is a B2B lead generator and personal brand strategist who works with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her atchrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

marketing strategy

What Is the Best Way to Market Your Business?

There are countless tools at your fingertips when it comes to promoting your business online. From email marketing to social media, you could literally come up with dozens of ways to market your product or service.

The million dollar question is: which do you choose?

In my experience, I see business owners go with what is familiar. Maybe they have heard of Facebook ads and, therefore, believe that is the way to go. They think they “should” be on Twitter or “should” build an email list.

While those options may end up being the best course to take, that approach is backwards. Uncovering an ideal marketing plan is done in a series of steps starting, most importantly, with business goals.

What are you trying to accomplish?

It’s amazing how easy it is to overlook this question, but it is the most important to answer. Articulate for yourself what you are trying to achieve and remember that you may have more than one goal.

Outline the what and the who.

Example of professional with a single goal:

  • I want to sell my services as a virtual assistant to solo entrepreneurs making at least $100,000 per year.

Example of a professional with multiple goals:

  • I want individuals who want to be public speakers to purchase coaching packages from me.
  • I want to establish myself as an influencer in the area of public speaking.

Why will others want what you are selling?

Dig into the motivation of others to purchase your product or service. If your ideal client or customer needs a lot of convincing, your strategy will include more touchpoints.

Another factor is trust. If you are selling coaching services, for example, your client will need to know you before purchasing. Your marketing strategy will be heavy from a content standpoint: blog posts, podcast interviews, videos, etc.

If, on the other hand, you are selling a service with a black-and-white need — lawn service, for example — trust isn’t as big of a factor. You can simply identify the best way to reach individuals or businesses that need your services and get in front of them with your call to action.

Will your ideal client or customer be looking for you?

This will greatly impact your marketing strategy. If clients or customers are actively searching for what you’re selling, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical for your website and other platforms like LinkedIn or YouTube.

If they aren’t, you may want to look into lead generation or paid advertising and your marketing strategy will have to nurture your audience from cold to customer.

How can you best showcase the benefit of working with you?

Your value is critical to conversion. If you are selling a service, look to promote your expertise in a way that puts you in the best light.

Do you light up when you talk about what you do? Make videos or pitch yourself as an on-camera or podcast interview. Are you a strong writer? Write blog posts.

Think about how your audience will want to learn more about you. Are you targeting people who are rarely in front of a computer? Try direct reach-outs and ask for a phone call.

Is your ideal client a mom who is always checking Facebook? Put together Facebook ads or do live videos.

Need additional help?

This is just a start to putting together your marketing strategy. There are many other factors involved to determine the best plan of action.

If you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of putting your own marketing plan together, reach out to me for help. We will go over all of these questions and more. Then I will provide you with a detailed marketing plan you can execute yourself or hire someone to execute.

Email chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com or visit my marketing strategy page!

You May Not Think It’s a Big Deal, But It Is

I don’t care if you rode the bench for three years at Nowheresville College. If you are (or were) a college or professional athlete, you can leverage it in business. This is something I am deeply passionate about.

I make my living digging into businesses to uncover what makes them special and then I turn that into successful marketing. My favorite businesses (or entrepreneurs) to work with are those who are killing it at what they’re doing but don’t have the slightest clue how to market themselves.

Many athletes fall into this category, but have an even greater advantage than the successful businesses. They can actually launch a successful business (or at least get off to a great start) around being an athlete.

Again, I don’t care where you played or whether you played. Our culture loves athletes. Simply carrying that label will open doors.

If you are currently an athlete, network NOW

Make your current experience section within LinkedIn your status as an athlete and search for anyone and everyone relevant to what you want to do (or think you want to do) in business.

There are three kinds of connections you can make:

  • Fellow athletes. You have street cred simply by playing college or professional sports. Look for athletes with successful businesses and connect. Ask for advice. There are waters they’ve already navigated and they can provide invaluable insight.
  • Business pros. Do your research and find business professionals you respect. If you are a higher profile athlete, you have many people bugging you for attention. They want you to start a business with them. They want you to work with them. Make sure you find the business professionals you want to work with.
  • Influencers. Depending on the type of athlete you are, this may include media, performers, speakers, or authors. You will capture attention simply by being an athlete. Use that to your advantage.

If you are a former athlete, leverage your past

Whether you have a business or you’re working for someone else, your past as an athlete will open up conversations. Maybe you’re in sales and being a former athlete is a point of connection with potential clients or customers.

Perhaps you’re starting your own business and bringing up your playing career will open doors for sponsorships or partnerships. There is a way to leverage your past — regardless of what you do for a living — if you do it the right way.

The key is to look at what you do and strategically work it in. This may be in the public eye or behind the scenes, but there will be a way you can benefit from playing college or pro sports.

If you don’t believe me, I am living proof and I didn’t even play professional (or college) sports. I managed a website for an NFL team and my husband works in media relations for a college program. Mentioning what we do (and who we know) opens doors.

The same will happen for you.

It’s never too late to start

Even if you’re 10 years beyond your playing career, it’s never too late to start. Optimize your LinkedIn profile to include your playing career and start connecting. Add custom notes to your connection requests mentioning your past as an athlete.

Connect with big-time influencers who went to your college or university or businesses associated with the pro team you played for. Reach out to other former players and athletes. Take the same determination you used to compete and leverage it in business!

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is a B2B lead generator and personal brand strategist who works with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her atchrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

Should You Leverage LinkedIn Cold Reach-Outs for Your B2B?

Are you considering cold reach-outs on LinkedIn for your B2B?

In some instances, leveraging Sales Navigator to conduct cold reach-outs is better than using targeted ads: they are more personal and direct.

My process is as follows:

  1. Search for your target audience on LinkedIn
  2. Filter those results to see who is most active on the platform
  3. Send unique InMail messages or connection requests to individuals who fit your ideal client
  4. Engage those who respond to set up a discovery call

Simple right? For the most part, yes, but there are factors that can impact the effectiveness of the process. One I speak about in today’s video, and it is: how many reach-outs do those within your target audience receive each day?

The truth is that I have worked with clients who receive an insane number of InMail messages each day from individuals trying to work with them or sell them something. It’s overwhelming.

That means that it will be much harder to get that person’s attention, so you either need to leverage a different sales tactic or get creative.

Connection Requests

One way to test the effectiveness of LinkedIn reach-outs for your business is to use connection requests. I find that connection requests get through to professionals with a lot of LinkedIn noise better than InMail messages.

Here’s why:

1. InMail is “salesy.”

Especially for those who receive a lot of solicitations, InMail messages may be something they now ignore.

2. Connection requests are still personal.

You have fewer characters to work with when you send someone a connection request, but you can — and should — still add a personal note. For my clients, I start with an introduction and then touch briefly on what I’d like to speak about.

3. There is an inbound marketing benefit.

There is residual benefit from a connection request beyond the reach-out. If the person accepts, he or she is now in your network. So, even if they don’t respond to your initial reach-out attempt, they will be nurtured through your sales process as you publish content and remain active on LinkedIn.

4. You have future access.

Once someone connects with you, the message you sent as part of your connection request becomes active in their messages. Even if they choose not to respond to that, you are now connected with them and can message them in the future.

Think it Through

It is possible that your target audience is too bombarded with solicitations for your reach-out to be worthwhile. Test out the theory by working with connection requests and see if you gain any traction. At the very least, you will learn invaluable information about your target audience to apply to future tactics!

If you would like help with this process, don’t hesitate to reach out via LinkedIn or chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com!

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is a B2B lead generator and personal brand strategist who works with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her atchrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

4 Ways LinkedIn Lead Generation is Just Like Dating

The more advice I give as part of my B2B LinkedIn Lead Generation business, the more I recognize my advice could double for someone looking for a date.

Let’s face it: both areas find us putting our best selves forward, scrutinizing every aspect of a person’s profile, and getting really excited when we see new inbox alerts.

Take a look at the following tips to improve your LinkedIn reach-outs … or to come across as more appealing on your first date:

Tip 1: Don’t Talk About How Great You Are

Just as the person sitting across the dinner table doesn’t want to hear your life story, it’s not appealing to dive right into how great you are when reaching out to a business prospect. The goal for a LinkedIn reach-out is to articulate the mutual benefit.

It’s why businesses that can easily identify someone in need of their product or service have the highest likelihood of success. Think about it: when you can send someone a message and say, “I see you are in Year 2 of your business and our service is specifically designed for businesses in Year 2,” you are going to generate responses.

On the flip side, if you send someone a message and say, “I see you are a startup. We have a lot of success with startups, helping them grow exponentially over their second year …” you are going to generate a lot of deletes.

Tip 2: Make An Effort to Say Something Nice

As you would if you were going on a first date, it’s nice to do your research before the first meeting. Look over the person’s profile before you reach out and make note of anything nice to mention. Maybe someone makes great jokes you can reference. Perhaps they speak of a love of fly fishing.

When you take the time to notice and mention these things, you will at the very least gain a few extra seconds from the person. That may be the difference between a response and a delete. I’ve had multiple occasions where people replied mentioning the reference and appreciating that it was made.

NOTE: Looking over someone’s profile can also save you time. I’ve read summaries of individuals who threaten public scrutiny if they are solicited. Yikes.

Tip 3: Don’t Be Desperate

Desperate is never a good look, whether you’re dating or prospecting. I’ve been in the middle of sending reach-outs when someone I’ve reached out to accepted my connection request. I hold off sending a follow-up so I don’t look like I’m sitting there waiting for a response (… even though I kind of am).

This is the most relevant parallel between dating and lead generation — no one likes a desperate person or business. It’s why we attract all the business when we have a full plate and struggle to attract anything when we could use more clients.

Let’s face it: we are most attractive when we are popular.

Tip 4: Muster Up Genuine Excitement

Genuine excitement when meeting someone for the first time is always a plus. From a lead generation standpoint, the same is true.

When I’m working with a new client, I try to get as specific as possible with who they’re targeting. I do this for a number of reasons, but one is so I get really excited when I find the right person or business. That excitement translates into the message I write and creates a connection that wouldn’t otherwise be there.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say my client told me he was selling to women in the technology industry. I’m not going to get overly excited since they are a dime a dozen. Additionally, my reach-outs will be as generic as the target (“So, I see you’re a woman … in the technology industry …”)

If he told me instead that he was looking for women in the technology industry who attended Brown University in the past 10 years, I’m going to get way more excited when I find those women. My reach-outs will also be more specific and engaging (“Hi there! I see you are a Brown alumna, which is exactly who I’m looking for …”).

Even though I could pretend to get excited about the women in the technology industry, it’s going to be genuine when I have a more specific target.

So … are you ready to get out there?

Now you know — prepare for your LinkedIn reach-outs the same way you would for a first date! You’ll end up being the biggest man or woman on campus. If you think this sounds great but have no desire to enter the “dating” scene yourself, you can also reach out for a discovery call and we can talk about me playing the field on your behalf.

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is a B2B lead generator and personal brand strategist who works with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her at chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

Can Your Prospects Hear You Through All the Noise?

As you look to generate leads for your business-to-business through LinkedIn, it’s important to take a step back and recognize the atmosphere in which you’re trying to reach people. There can be a lot of noise to get through when trying to capture someone’s attention, which may require an adjustment in strategy.

Take a look at your target audience and gauge whether they are likely to receive a lot of solicitations. If you are reaching out to C-level individuals, human resources, or business owners, for example, you’re going to have to be really good.

Determine whether an adjustment in strategy is needed by asking yourself these questions:

1. Is my LinkedIn profile telling the right story?

This is critical for everyone, but especially for those reaching out to highly sought-after individuals. Even if you successfully capture the attention of a prospect, they will only skim (yes, skim) your LinkedIn profile to see what you’re about. If it doesn’t paint the right picture, you’ve lost them.

Your LinkedIn profile is like your personal landing page — you have one opportunity to capture new business and you better deliver.

2. Are you generating appropriate content?

Generating LinkedIn content has a slightly different objective than content on your website. LinkedIn content is part of your profile and acts as supporting material when a prospect is trying to learn more about you.

Your three most recent articles will be prominent, so make sure you:

  • Use highly enticing headlines. I use CoSchedule’s headline analyzer.
  • Provide value. You can’t give away too much expertise as a B2B. The more you showcase what you know, the more businesses will want you to personalize your approach for them.
  • Make sure you are targeting the right audience. This isn’t all about you. Don’t write to convey what you know, write to showcase the skills that provide help to those you service.

3. Do you have the right ask?

I addressed this a little bit in a recent article, Be Confident, Not Cocky, When Pitching Your Services. While the way you pitch is important, so is what you’re pitching, and this is especially critical when you’re reaching out to individuals who are frequently solicited.

If Business Owner Joe receives 10-plus reach-outs per day and you send a message asking him to invest five figures in your service, he’s probably going to snicker and move on. You will blend in with the noise.

If, on the other hand, you simply ask Business Owner Joe to connect, engage in a conversation about something relevant, and then move on without asking for anything, you’ve planted a seed. This is not nearly as exciting as getting a quick win, but it’s realistic and, ultimately, effective.

4. Do you have the right expectations?

A continuation of making sure you have the right ask is having appropriate expectations. Generating immediate business from your reach-outs may not be realistic considering the people and services you’re pitching.

Your reach-outs may act primarily as a connection point to begin a longer sales cycle that will require inbound marketing — high quality content, engaging on the platform — in order to convert. What’s more, using the approach that you will get a sale from one reach-out may actually be hurting you.

For someone who is constantly bombarded with solicitations, reaching out with an expectation of receiving business may be a put-off. On the flip side, simply looking to connect and make conversation could be refreshing and start you off on the right foot with potential business down the line.

Get the Right Strategy

You may be struggling to recognize the right approach for your B2B, which is completely understandable. We are so immersed in our own businesses that it is difficult to remain objective.

Reach out via InMail or at chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com if you’re looking for a lead generation strategy and we can talk next steps!

In the meantime, take a look at your LinkedIn profile to make sure you’re conveying the appropriate message to the right people!

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is a B2B lead generator and personal brand strategist who works with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her at chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.