Greg Cooper
October 2, 2016

8 Reasons Why You Are Not Getting Business from LinkedIn

"Why am I not getting more business from LinkedIn!"

Let’s be clear about this: there are many small and medium sized businesses out there who are regularly getting substantial business from their LinkedIn activity. However there are others who do not. Whether your business is in the first or second category I hope this article will give you some ideas and inspiration on how you can give your LinkedIn activity a boost and start seeing a real bottom line return.

As a LinkedIn specialist, I work with both businesses who have been using the network for some time, and others who are completely new to it. I see close up what works and what doesn’t work. Here are some of the most common reasons why a majority of businesses are not yet realising the full benefits from LinkedIn.

1. Poorly defined target audience

In my experience most businesses invest a lot of time and energy selling to the wrong people. They have not defined accurately enough who their target audiences are. Once you are clear on the specific characteristics of your ideal customers, then LinkedIn offers laser focused searches to quickly find and save them into target lists.

2. Network too small or not relevant

I regularly have the quantity versus quality discussion about LinkedIn connections. Ninety nine per cent of people instinctively argue for the quality approach. Quality is good but it is not enough. Unless your network is large enough, then you simply won’t have a broad enough reach to be effective on LinkedIn. Depending on your business, I suggest that somewhere 750-5,000 is the optimum network size. I know people with networks running into tens of thousands but I question the relevance of many of the connections. This article on who to connect to may be useful.

3. Poorly completed LinkedIn profile

It’s been said many times and it is true, LinkedIn is the professional shop window for you and your business. It is the first place a potential customer goes to check you out. A well completed, professional looking profile builds credibility in you and your offering. Conversely a photo of you at a friend’s wedding, a missing summary field, a scattering of irrelevant skills and no recommendations creates a different impression.

4. Overlooking existing customers

chaulkboard_bkgrnd_506x575-minWe buy from people we know, like and trust. This is a relationship we already have with our existing customers. Yet many businesses spend far more effort searching for brand new customers and overlook the opportunities under their nose. Business schools tell us it costs at least five times more to attract a new customer, rather than sell to an existing one. LinkedIn provides numerous ways to keep in touch with and nurture existing customers.

5. Unrealistic expectations linked with low levels of activity

You have been on a LinkedIn course, you have filled out your profile, added a friendly and professional looking photo. So why aren’t you getting a flood of new business pouring through the door! Seriously?

It’s time to get real!

First of all, LinkedIn is primarily a relationship building not a selling platform. Relationships come first; sales come later. And it takes time to build trust and cultivate relationships. Secondly, just like with face to face networking, you have to show up regularly. On LinkedIn that means posting regularly, liking and commenting on people’s posts, joining in the online conversation. People will then start to notice you. Your online visibility will grow and as Social Selling Expert, Koka Sexton, says, “visibility is opportunity”. But you have to do the work.

6. Reluctance to invest in paid features

LinkedIn is a terrific free source of information about businesses and their people. There are times however, when investing in paid features will bring dividends. For example, a premium account for a sales person will allow:

  • Unlimited searches
  • Show details of more people who viewed their profile
  • Allow access to InMail messages, which let you to reach out to key people who are not connections
  • And for sales people who have embraced the idea of social selling, Sales Navigator is a powerful prospecting tool for targeting key accounts.

Also from a company perspective, LinkedIn offers some very powerful pay per click advertising options. These allow you to target prospects outside of your networks with laser like precision. You pay for results (clicks) and have complete control over what you spend on a daily or campaign basis.

7. Failure to invest in training

A couple of years ago Jill Konrath, a leading US sales trainer and social selling advocate, published a report called “Cracking the LinkedIn Sales Code” based on a survey of several thousand sales people. It found that the top sales people used LinkedIn much more effectively and importantly made time to learn its features. LinkedIn is a uniquely powerful tool for finding and reaching out to your target audience why would you not invest a relatively small amount of time and money to learn how to use it effectively?

8. Failure to work as a team

Most businesses have a fairly uncoordinated approach to LinkedIn. Whilst some people are actively using it to expand their network, others spend little if any time there. Businesses that invest in educating their employees about the benefits of LinkedIn and developing a team approach will see huge benefits.

One of my clients, with ten active LinkedIn users working together, has increased their reach from under 1000 to over 17,000 in just over 6 months. They did this by posting regularly and supporting each other. This included liking and commenting on their colleagues’ posts. It is a strategy that has massively raised their profile in their niche, created a conveyor belt of new business opportunities and signed up tens of thousands of pounds of business from new and existing customers..

But what if you are smaller businesses with one or two employees and without the luxury of an in-house team? How can you leverage your presence on LinkedIn? The solution here is to create an external team – an informal network of fans and mutual supporters. These are people who will happily share your content and you will also be happy to share theirs. This can be just as powerful as or even more so than as an internal team because these connections will have more diverse networks.

In Closing

I hope that this article has given you pause for thought. LinkedIn provides a range of ways to find, connect and engage with your target audience. This week I was pulled up short by an article by my friend Nicky Pasquier about the benefits of LinkedIn SlideShare which I have to admit I have rather neglected. There is always more to learn, but the benefits for your business of maintaining an active LinkedIn presence are potentially huge.

I welcome your comments and questions below.

Here is the article in a Slideshare presentation:

Last but not least, please look at our cornerstone article on LinkedIn: Your Ultimate LinkedIn Cheat Sheet [Infographic]


Image attribution: Copyright: ‘‘ / 123RF Stock Photo

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Greg Cooper

Greg Cooper is an internationally recognised LinkedIn Coach and Trainer, based in Bristol, UK. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing and an award winning marketer. He works with small and medium sized businesses to help them use LinkedIn much more effectively to grow their businesses.