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.

The 3 Things I Did to Get a Response From a Cold Reach-Out

I was conducting lead generation on behalf of a client and received a response that made me smile. The individual said:

I actually looked at your link because you wrote a very personal and to the point note.

He went on to say that what I was offering wasn’t for him, but the fact that he took the time to respond should speak volumes to you if you’re in sales (and, if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re in sales).

What did I do that was so personal? Three basic things:

1. I read his LinkedIn profile.

Yes, that’s right. I read it. It seems simple and — to some — a waste of time, but it is a few minutes that goes a long way.

As someone who conducts cold reach-outs, when I’m on the receiving end of them, I know exactly why they bother me or why I’m happy to respond:

If you have clearly done your homework (which could mean spending all of three minutes reading my LinkedIn profile) and recognize I’m truly a good fit for what you’re offering, I’m interested … or, at the very least, happy to respond.

If it’s obvious you’ve sent the same message to me that you’re sending to another 100 people, I (shake my head and) move on.

2. I referenced his experiences.

This person had a long career in journalism — it’s clear he’s led an interesting life. When I wrote him a note, I mentioned that. Suddenly, he recognizes I care. He recognizes I took three minutes to read his profile. He recognizes I’m not a bot or an automated system.

I’m seeing him as more than a target.

I’ve read a number of articles lately that talk about solving problems instead of selling services. This is completely true, but let’s take it one step further. We should care about solving those problems. Caring goes a long way, and it can be felt … even through the written word on LinkedIn.

3. I was conversational.

I read a great article today about dealing with objections in sales and agreed with the concept, but the example language used was way too formal and “salesy” for me. My No. 1 tip when it comes to reach-outs: just talk.

Yes, it’s important to be grammatically correct. It’s important to spell things properly. It’s important to sound intelligent. But it’s also important to talk to people as though they’re human beings instead of a statistic.

You can tailor the language to the industry — a doctor will probably respond better to more formal conversation than a life coach — but don’t sound like you copied the text out of a Sales 101 textbook.

In closing …

I truly believe 10 personal reach-outs beat 100 stock reach-outs any day of the week. Yes, there are other factors to being sales savvy, but being personal is No. 1 in my book.

Spend that three minutes reading someone’s LinkedIn profile. Trust me, it’ll pay off.

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.

How to Effectively Reach Out to Leads on LinkedIn

I engaged heavily in direct sales for the better part of a year in 2015. I was successful, building a good income through product sales. Recruiting, however, wasn’t my forte.

Here’s why:

I couldn’t bring myself to try to sell to someone who didn’t want what I was selling.

Products were a different beast — I generated interest through Facebook posts or one-on-one conversations and responded to inquiries. With recruiting, I felt pressure to reach out to as many people as I could and pitch that the business could generate massive amounts of revenue.

The problem, though, was that I knew the truth: the only way it would generate “massive amounts of revenue” was if the person was good at sales. I saw an opportunity to use standard business marketing practices to bring in warm leads, but I saw a much greater advantage to focusing on my own business rather than someone else’s.

My suspicions were confirmed when my LinkedIn consultancy took off and I left direct sales in the dust.

Whose Needs Matter More?

My point here is that I’m not the person who will try to talk anyone into something they don’t need. That’s not my style and it shouldn’t be yours.

Instead, I look for people who want what I’m selling. When I sense even the slightest bit of interest, I’m as good as you’re going to get.

So, you may ask, how do you determine whether a person has interest?

This is where I think a lot of people miss the mark. Instead of putting time into determining whether a lead has a desire for the product or service they’re selling, they jump right into the ask.

This is both off-putting and ineffective, even for those who do have a genuine interest.

Here’s the thing:

When you jump right into asking someone to buy from you without getting to know them first, you’re essentially telling them that it’s your needs that matter, not theirs.

To gauge whether a person has interest in what you’re selling, you must first engage in a mutually-beneficial relationship. The person you’re engaging with must believe that you have his or her best interest at heart, or you will fall as flat as a pancake.

The Mutual Benefit

Needing to establish a mutually-beneficial relationship doesn’t mean the cold reach-out is dead — quite the opposite, in fact. You’re reading the words of someone who loves cold reach-outs (you can learn all about how I conduct them here).

What is important to remember is that a cold reach-out is rarely done to actually make a sale. Typically it’s done to spark interest.

The key is to be patient — desperate isn’t a good look and your prospect will be able to sniff it out a mile away. Be willing to build relationships and let them flourish. If someone is interested, they’ll be interested … give it time.

What does it look like to kick off a budding online relationship? It can look different with each prospect. Take a look at these three scenarios, each of which has a different objective:

  1. Connecting on LinkedIn
  2. Scheduling a call
  3. Making the ask

Scenario 1: Connecting on LinkedIn

You develop the personal brands of current and former professional athletes. You are engaging on LinkedIn and find John, a former professional football player who now has his own consulting agency. You would love to work with John, but have never spoken to him and don’t want to put him off.

To kick off the relationship (no pun intended), you send a connection request that includes a (very) simple note:

  • “Hey John. I work with professional athletes on their personal brands. Seeing as you’re a former NFL player, I would love to connect with you here on LinkedIn!”

John accepts your connection request and you add him to your list of leads on Sales Navigator. Then you continue pushing out original content geared toward professional athletes, sometimes sending John your articles via private message and asking him to share to his network.

One of two things will happen from here: either John will reach out to learn more about your business or you will eventually reach out to gauge interest and schedule a call.

Scenario 2: Scheduling A Call

You’ve seen Sally, the owner of project management company, on LinkedIn. You aren’t connected, but are in a LinkedIn group together. Your hope is that she needs someone to manage her social media.

A cold reach-out may read like this:

  • “Hey Sally, I saw we’re in the same social media group together. I’d love to connect here on LinkedIn and maybe schedule a call to learn more about one another’s businesses. Are you available this week?”

If Sally is interested in a call, you chat about one another’s businesses. If she truly is in the market for social media help, you mentioning that you manage social media for small businesses is likely to spark her interest.

If it doesn’t, you can mention that you would love any referrals she can give, and then you feel good that you’ve added someone to your growing network.

Scenario 3: The Ask

Yes, sometimes you make the ask right away. In this scenario, you specialize in working with business coaches who are also public speakers. You produce original content on their behalf, manage their social media, and generate leads for speaking gigs.

You’re perusing LinkedIn and come across Laura’s profile. Laura is a business coach and public speaker who hasn’t published an original article in six months. She has, however, shared videos of herself speaking at a few live business events and she’s good at what she does.

A cold reach-out might read like this:

  • “Hi Laura! I am a marketing specialist who works specifically with business coaches and public speakers. I came across your profile and am really impressed by what you do — you have a lot of great information and are a fantastic public speaker. I would love the opportunity to speak with you over the phone about what I might be able to do for you. I help my clients with original content as well as lead generation for speaking events. If you’re interested, I’d love it if we could connect here on LinkedIn and then schedule a call for this week!”

This reach-out makes the ask right away, but it’s personal and mutually-beneficial. By asking in this way, you are acknowledging a specific need Laura might have. If she doesn’t have that need, she’ll say so (and you should respectfully end the conversation and not badger her). If she does, she’ll be pretty darn excited you reached out.

Enjoying the Chase

I’m a self-professed lover of lead generation. The art of scouting out potential leads, learning all I can about them, and reaching out as I deem appropriate is something I enjoy doing for myself and my clients.

If you are interested in lead generation for high-end offers, connect with me via LinkedIn or email chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

What’s the Best Way to Conduct a Cold Reach-Out?

Look, I get it. You need clients. We’ve all been there. But I’m constantly shaking my head at the cold reach-outs I receive that miss the mark.

Cold reach-outs are — how do you say it? — my jam. I love online networking, especially on LinkedIn. There is a certain rush that comes with forging a new professional connection, and it doesn’t hurt when that connection turns into a new client.

How do I do it? What are my secrets? Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Get Personal

Seriously, guys … enough with batch-emailing a sales pitch. It really is true that when you’re attempting to speak to everyone, you’re really speaking to no one.

I genuinely shake my head when I get a cold pitch about website services, business coaching, or marketing help. It’s clear the person who sent it sent the identical message to 99 other people, which is a huge turn-off. I suppose that works for some people (does it, really?) but it’s not a method I employ.

Instead, take a look at who you’re pitching and speak to that person when you send a message. I recently spoke about this on Natalie Eckdahl‘s BizChix podcast:

Whenever I cold reach out to people the No. 1 thing is that it needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship. Not everybody’s going to respond, but the big thing that I do is talk about the person; they can tell that I’ve read their profile, they can tell that I see a true benefit in connecting.

2. Truly Get Excited

When I sat back to think about why cold reach-outs work for me, this was a huge one. I have a very specific profile of my ideal client in mind, so when I find someone who fits that profile, I get really excited.

For real.

I have two specific “avatars” I work with: professional athletes and passionate, business-to-business entrepreneurs. The two avatars have a lot in common: both have small businesses (ideally 1-5 people), personal brands, and are passionate about helping others through their businesses.

When I find someone who fits that profile, my energy rises, which translates into whatever action I take: sending a personal message, a connection request, or simply tagging that person as a lead.

Know your ideal client (get really specific) and get excited when you find someone who fits that mold!

3. Use Your Gut

This may come easier to some, but it’s important to really think about the best plan of action when conducting a cold reach-out. Ask yourself whether reaching out would come across as intrusive or disingenuous. If it would, simply take note of the person and comment on his or her posts for awhile (“lurk,” as they say).

If you notice that you have a lot in common with a potential lead that truly justifies a personal note right away, go for it. The point is to hold back when it’s important to hold back and lean in when it’s important to lean in.

Don’t be scared to reach out, but don’t be sloppy with your reach outs, either. You only have one chance to make a good first impression.

4. Don’t (Always) Go for the Sale

There are exceptions to this rule, but it’s typically best to wait to ask for a sale.

Think about it this way: what do you think of people who corner you on the street with a flyer, asking you to purchase something on the spot? I’m guessing you either mumble a “no thank you” or give in out of guilt.

Individuals have to know, like, and trust you in order to purchase. That happens over time. A cold reach-out is the initial point of contact. You have to be patient when it comes to converting a sale … this is a long-term play!

Start with a relationship. Ideally, that person will turn into a client. If not, maybe you can get a referral. “Worst” case, you expand your network and that person thinks of you when a friend or colleague is looking for someone who does what you do.

You really can’t lose.

5. Have Fun

Yes, that’s right … enjoy it! There is nothing quite like networking and lead generation. I love “the hunt” — seeking out other professionals to collaborate with is one of my favorite things about being an entrepreneur.

What do you think about cold reach-outs? Do you engage in them or do you shy away? Do they work for you or are you struggling?

Leave your comments below!

What to Do on LinkedIn When You Have Little Time for LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an untapped resource for many entrepreneurs … how do you know if you’re leaving something on the table? It’s a question I’m asked time and time again. Let’s get started by gauging the value the platform has to offer you and your business.

Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Are you business-to-business or business-to-consumer? If you are business-to-business, LinkedIn is a must. If you are business-to-consumer, you can still leverage the platform to network, generate media coverage, or – in some cases – generate business.
  2. Is your industry active on LinkedIn? Individuals in some industries use LinkedIn as a critical business tool. Those in other industries have a profile, but rarely use it. If you are in an industry that regularly uses the platform, you should engage on LinkedIn in some capacity.

Businesses should map out a plan before engaging on any social media platform, especially LinkedIn. I’ve heard too many entrepreneurs say things like,

“I’m on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram because I thought I was supposed to be …”

Many of those same entrepreneurs are so strapped for time, the last thing they think about doing each day is engaging on social media. I’ve learned this is especially true of LinkedIn.

Have you found yourself uttering any of these statements?

“I have a profile, but have no idea what to do with it.”

“I plugged in my resume to LinkedIn … is that right?”

“I get a ton of requests, but don’t do anything with them because I don’t want to get a bunch of solicitations.”

“I want to learn more about LinkedIn, but have no time.”

If any of these are you, today is your lucky day! I am going to spell out the three things you should do if you:

  • have no idea what to do on LinkedIn
  • have no time to even think about LinkedIn, let alone the time to log in and engage with someone on LinkedIn

Alright, let’s get started!

1. Determine your LinkedIn purpose

Before you do anything, you need to pinpoint what LinkedIn can do for you and your business. If you conclude the benefit of LinkedIn isn’t worth your time, you can move on to something else. On the other hand, you may realize LinkedIn is a huge untapped resource.

Ask yourself these two questions:

1. What is the best thing that can happen as a result of using LinkedIn?

Think pie-in-the-sky. Perhaps you want to …

  • be featured on a major news outlet
  • get a big-time freelance writing gig
  • connect with one of the biggest influencers in your industry and schedule a networking call
  • land your dream client

2. How do you achieve that “best thing?”

Let’s say your purpose is to land your dream client. What steps would or could lead up to that? Do you reach out cold? Comment on his or her posts or articles? Offer a free trial for your product or service?

If you’re looking to be featured on a major news outlet, you probably start by writing or producing your own original content and then reaching out to media.

No matter your goal, lay out the exact step-by-step process that will result in achieving your LinkedIn purpose.

2. Optimize your headline and current experience

Once you’ve determined your LinkedIn goal, you can gear your profile toward it. The most important sections of your profile are your headline and current experience. You want both to reflect your purpose or strength and include keywords.

Think about the people you want to notice you. What do you want them to know? Put that in your headline.

If it’s possible someone would search for your services, what would they search? Make sure those words or phrases are included in your current experience section. The tone of what you say will be dependent on your personality and industry, but the overall goal is to sell yourself through your profile.

3. Execute or hire based on the potential benefit

This is where the time factor comes in.

If you go through steps one and two and recognize a benefit to using LinkedIn, you’ll want to make sure you invest some time or hire someone to invest time on your behalf.

What does “investing time” in LinkedIn look like?

Engage in the following steps, starting with the first item and adding subsequent steps as you can:

  1. Make relevant connections. LinkedIn is a Rolodex of business value — don’t let it fall by the wayside! At the very least, connect with relevant people and build a quality network.
  2. Like or comment on posts. The more you like or comment on posts, the more users see your headline and, hopefully, click on your profile.
  3. Share relevant content. One step further than liking or commenting on other people’s posts or content is to post yourself. Share content helpful to your target audience that accurately represents you as a professional.
  4. Go premium. If there is money to be had through LinkedIn, you probably want to invest in a premium account. There are five different types of premium accounts: Premium Career, Sales Navigator, Recruiter Lite, Premium Business, and LinkedIn Learning. Each provides a unique set of benefits – you can “see who’s viewed your profile,” InMail individuals who aren’t connections, and do some serious prospecting through Sales Navigator.

If you see a significant benefit to using LinkedIn but don’t have time to do it yourself, you can always hire someone to do it for you. Helping clients engage and convert leads on LinkedIn is one of my favorite things to do!

There are plenty of options to get started with me, including a strategy session to learn more about how you can leverage your brand, LinkedIn profile optimization, or a strategy audit to receive specific steps to grow your online presence.

I’m looking forward to your comments below and emails to chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com!

LinkedIn is the Best Networking Party You’ll Ever Attend

I was recently told by one of my entrepreneurial friends that my engagement on LinkedIn had inspired her to dig even deeper into networking within the platform. I was posting success after success connecting with influencers and potential leads and it led to her reaching out to people she’d never considered reaching out to.

I find that success, quite simply, by looking at LinkedIn as the best networking party I could ever attend … and you can replicate my actions!

Here’s how:

1. Showcase Your Credentials

You can’t be afraid to showcase what you’ve done. I’ve worked for an NFL team, many athletes across a number of sports, and been an entrepreneur for more than three years. It’s important that I say that clearly and directly within my profile.

LinkedIn Networking Party Analogy: How would you introduce yourself to someone at an in-person gathering? What are the most relevant things about your professional background? Make sure those are highlighted within your profile and let me know if you need help.

2. Strike Up A Conversation

Be a real person! Reach out to individuals in your network just to learn more about their businesses. Tell them you think they’re impressive or that you love reading their content on the platform. Send connection requests to individuals you don’t know with a note that compliments them or inquires about their work.

LinkedIn Networking Party Analogy: Don’t be that person at the party who keeps to him or herself or only talks to the one you drove with. Put yourself out there and learn about other people — you never know where you’ll find common ground or who you’ll end up collaborating with. The best leads are often disguised as irrelevant connections!

3. Take An Online World Offline

Let LinkedIn be a conduit to connecting with people over the phone or in person. I love scheduling calls with others in my industry just to talk for 15-20 minutes about who they are, what they do within their business, and their longterm goals. Sometimes that turns into a pitch for services, other times it’s just a conversation that helps me get better acquainted with someone.

LinkedIn Networking Party Analogy: One of the great things about networking parties is they allow you to inform others of what you do and who you target. You may meet someone who knows someone who is looking for someone just like you. That same phenomenon occurs through LinkedIn by connecting offline! Schedule an informational call and you may just hear, “Let me connect you with …”

Noteworthy: The Athlete Advantage

If you’ve played sports in college or within a professional league, I have one piece of advice regarding LinkedIn: exploit the heck out that experience.

I don’t care what sport it was, whether you’re male or female, or whether you won a championship … playing sports at either of those levels is a point of conversation and something people want to be associated with.

As someone who worked in digital media for an NFL team for nearly 10 years, I can attest that this applies beyond those who play on the field or court. I accrued so many LinkedIn connections over that decade that are paying huge dividends now.

Okay, you may be thinking, that sounds great. How do I do that? I don’t want to come across as self-absorbed.

Fantastic question! Here is how you maximize that experience:

  1. Optimize your LinkedIn profile. Make sure your headline references your background in sports and that your experience is complete. There will be plenty of curious eyes on your profile — make it good!
  2. Show your depth. Athletes — especially those who aren’t headliners — are competitive, disciplined, and have plenty of stories to share. Remember that LinkedIn is a networking party — provide anecdotes as they pertain to your business objectives. Life and business lessons are always embedded in sports stories.
  3. Connect with relevant people. This includes other athletes, influencers, business professionals, and media. The key is to connect with them before you need something, but after you are well on your way with profile optimization and sharing content. Form the relationships now so you can ask for what you need later.

The moral of the story? Treat LinkedIn like the online networking party it is and build your business in the process!

How to Get Responses on Sales Navigator

Have you invested in Sales Navigator but can’t seem to generate any results?

If so, ask yourself this question: Am I just going through the motions?

Sales Navigator is an awesome tool for any business or entrepreneur looking to generate leads, but it’s important to put in the time and effort it takes to produce results.

Here are five steps you can take to start generating results:

1. Articulate Your Purpose

I’d wager many of us skip this step without even realizing it. You have a business with a clear focus and, therefore, can just dive into searching for potential leads … right?

Wrong.

Make sure you get organized before you set up your searches by asking yourself questions to narrow down your target:

  • Am I targeting businesses or individuals?
  • If I am targeting businesses, who are the decision-makers within those businesses relevant to my services?
  • What is my ultimate goal in connecting with my target? (e.g. schedule a demo, schedule a discovery call, sign up for a service)
  • What are the key fields within search that will produce ideal results? Do I work best with businesses of a certain size or within a certain industry?
  • Am I looking for cold traffic (non-connections) or warm traffic (1st- or 2nd-Degree connections)?

2. Fill Your Funnel

Once you’ve narrowed down who you’re looking for, it’s time to conduct searches to fill your funnel. Use Lead Builder to put together one or two searches for your ideal clients. You may be someone who prefers to focus on one core group at a time (e.g. 2nd level connections within your target) or you may enjoy the rapid fire approach of filling your funnel using 3-4 different searches.

Here are two examples of searches for my business, which focuses on working with athletes, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs:

  • My search around athletes is simple: I input the keywords “NFL” (I have a decade’s worth of experience within that industry) and “Athlete.” Then I specify the Health, Wellness, & Fitness industry. Since most professional athletes are on LinkedIn because they have a foundation or business, those filters get me the results I need.
  • My search around entrepreneurs is slightly more complex. My niche is working with passionate entrepreneurs, ideally within the Health, Wellness, & Fitness industry. I have found that leveraging the search term, “Public Speaker” pulls in the type of entrepreneur I’m looking for: someone with a growing business who is also within the public eye. In addition to those two filters, I use the “Entrepreneurship” function and the business size of “1-10.”

Once you have your searches in place, you can start filling your funnel with leads, but beware! This is where it’s easy to veer off course.

3. Study Potential Leads

This is a critical step. It isn’t enough to just hoard potential leads within Sales Navigator and “like” their posts every day. You need to take a look at what these individuals or businesses stand for before adding them and then read what they post. This will give you an idea of who your leads are and whether they will be a good fit to work with you.

Why is this such a big deal? If you take the time to get to know your potential leads and uncover the mutual benefit of working together, it will show when you reach out. Suddenly, you aren’t just looking for business for you … you are looking for a relationship between you and this business or individual.

That genuine approach makes all the difference in the world.

4. Reach Out … Without A Catch

Don’t reach out to a potential lead with an immediate ask for business. Yes, there are certain situations that warrant this (i.e. invitations to an event), but — for the most part — it’s critical to reach out without asking for a purchase or contract.

Let me illustrate why this is important.

I am an entrepreneur with a service-based business. I receive direct reach-outs from business coaches asking me to become a client. This floors me every single time. A business coach/entrepreneur relationship is personal and isn’t something I’m going to dive into after a blind reach out.

I actually have a business coach (shoutout to Natalie Eckdahl) and it’s no coincidence that that relationship formed organically. I was a longtime listener of her Biz Chix podcast and she was offering a price break on her Strategy Sessions. I had just decided to take a step forward with my business strategy and took her up on that offer.

Unbeknownst to her that I was waiting in the wings, she was nurturing me as a lead with her content. The stars then aligned with her offer and I took her up on it. Our relationship has since progressed to me becoming a coaching client and then a part of her ProfitChix Mastermind.

Use this type of engagement within Sales Navigator. Reach out to a lead you know will be a good fit and simply connect to start the ball rolling. If you’ve done your homework and your reach out is genuine, you’ll more than likely receive a response.

5. Nurture Your Leads

How do you nurture your leads? Do what you do best. Post informative content, share relevant articles, like and engage posts. Maybe you send a private message to a potential lead with a link to an article you think is helpful.

The key is to keep plugging away. This can be difficult because you have no idea how you are impacting those you are communicating with, but trust me when I say that you are. If you have a quality service and you know what you’re talking about, you are making a difference with the leads you are speaking to. The illustration to the right is one of my favorites regarding this principle!

To recap, you can generate responses on LinkedIn Sales Navigator by:

  1. Articulating your purpose
  2. Filling your funnel
  3. Studying potential leads
  4. Reaching out … without a catch
  5. Nurturing your leads

Get started and share your results!

I Have to Have a ‘Why?’ … Why?

As an entrepreneur, it is critical to have a ‘why.’ What does that mean?

Your ‘why’ is the reason you are doing business in the first place. It’s what fuels your fire and gets you up in the morning excited to start your day. Businesses with a ‘why’ do better than those that don’t because it connects the consumer with your product or service.

I saw a great example of this on The Partner, the CNBC reality show starring serial entrepreneur, Marcus Lemonis. In one of the episodes, he gave the contestants the challenge of selling products at a mall kiosk.

If you’ve ever walked by a mall kiosk, I’m assuming you’ve also executed the head-down-if-I-don’t-look-at-them-they-won’t-ask-me-to-try-a-sample method. Point being: these entrepreneurs had their work cut out for them, even if they did have cameras following them to add intrigue.

Marcus told the contestants they could research a number of different products and then choose the products they wanted to sell at their kiosk. The group that generated the highest sales total would win.

The contestants chose products they thought would be most appealing to the consumers that also had the best sales margin: candy, popcorn, designer bags, etc. They overlooked Flex watches, a product that donates 10-percent of sales to charity (each watch represents a different charity). Their mindset was that it would take too long to explain the backstory and, therefore, wouldn’t be worth trying to sell at a mall kiosk.

In the show, Marcus steps in after the groups are mostly unsuccessful and has a mall employee (or extra?) pitch the watches to passing customers. She sells seven (or something like that) in 30 minutes because she catches the attention of passers-by when she tells them that each purchase benefits a charity.

Now, I recognize this is reality TV that must have a plot to hold the attention of viewers (so we can question whether some of this was staged), but the overarching message rings true: people stop and pay attention when there is a purpose behind a sale.

Think about it: we are inundated with countless pitches on a daily basis with an ever-decreasing attention span. What is going to set one business apart from another? Tapping into emotions. Even when we are talking about products — cleaning products, for example — there are internal and philosophical reasons we purchase.

Network marketing is another great example. There are countless consultants selling the exact same products to friends and family. The difference-maker is the ‘why.’ Someone is selling products to start a college fund, pay medical bills, or go on vacation. The more touching the purpose behind the sales, the more sales the individual will receive.

If you are a business coach, it is critical to set yourself apart from others within your space. Having a well-developed ‘why’ — e.g. you want to empower female business owners or help driven start-ups — will connect you with your potential clients.

It’s all about the ‘why.’

So, do you have a ‘why?’ What is it?

GENERATING LINKEDIN LEADS

Generating LinkedIn Leads: Paid Ads vs. Content and Engagement

After optimizing your LinkedIn personal profile for inbound marketing, where do you go from there? Regardless of the option you choose, it’s important to know there will always be an associated cost.

If you choose paid advertising, you’ll be paying LinkedIn directly. If you go the organic route, you’ll either be paying a consultant to engage on your behalf, or you’ll be investing your own time.

The moral of the story: you get out of lead generation what you put into it!

Paid LinkedIn Advertising

While this seems like the easiest — most direct — plan of action, leveraging paid advertising on LinkedIn can result in a great deal of frustration if you aren’t sure what you’re doing.

LinkedIn offers a few paid advertising options, but I’m only going to focus on two: Sponsored Content and Sponsored InMail. Other options — text, dynamic, and display ads — are all located on the right rail and aren’t ideal for service-based businesses to generate engagement, in my opinion.

Sponsored Content:

With this option, you are paying for a spot in the LinkedIn news feed. You can pay to have one of your existing posts sponsored or you can create a post from scratch.

  • PROS: You are gaining exposure to your specific target audience through the news feed. This is especially helpful if you target individuals based on their title, business type, or location.
  • CONS: Compared to Facebook, which provides substantial results as low as $5 per day ($0.30 – $0.50 per click, ideally), LinkedIn clicks tend to run $5 each. To run a CPM ad (cost per impression) means you’re paying for every single view, which can also get pricey if you aren’t generating results.

Sponsored InMail:

With this option, you are gaining access to inboxes of your target audience, creating an email message that LinkedIn distributes.

  • PROS: You can personally invite individuals within your target audience to an online or in-person event, to download promotional content, or to engage in a demo.
  • CONS: You are invading the personal space of people you don’t know. I am an advocate of nurturing online relationships instead of slapping people across the face with an ask, which is why I am not a fan of this type of promotion. There are those who make it work, however!

My advice: if you are going to go the paid advertising route on LinkedIn, go in with a very specific objective, such as promoting a downloadable item in exchange for contact information. If you don’t, you will probably end up with a big bill and a lot of frustration.

Content and Engagement

My method of choice on LinkedIn is content and engagement. Write articles or post videos to showcase expertise and draw attention to your brand. You can also engage with others to increase visibility.

As I mentioned before, the cost associated with this is the consultant you pay or the time you invest. Premium consultants should be able to do all of this with little input from you. Those who charge less will more than likely need a greater investment of your time to ensure what you’re publishing is truly “you.”

A step-by-step process in engagement:

  1. Get your LinkedIn profile ready to be seen. Create a great headline, optimize for keywords, add multimedia, and make sure it’s readable. Dig deeper into this here.
  2. Like, comment, and share content of relevant individuals. The hope is that your headline and profile catches the attention of those individuals and they may reach out to learn more about what you provide.
  3. Strike up conversations. Search for individuals within your target audience and reach out to connect. Add a personal note mentioning why you’d like to talk further. If they accept, thank them, and don’t pitch! Take note of their name to follow up or mark them as a lead in Sales Navigator, a great tool ($79.99 per month).
  4. Generate quality content. Write blogs, post videos, or share relevant articles. You want everything to appeal to your target audience while showcasing that you are a great source of information and that you have great expertise.

No matter the option you choose, you will truly get out of lead generation what you put into it. Conduct research around what will work best for you — paid advertising, hiring a consultant, or engaging on your own — and then focus on it to the best of your ability!