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Our Banter



Picture of Tim Jones
Written by Tim Jones


Every once in awhile (actually nearly every week) someone will ask me if I get any business from LinkedIn.  If they’ve known me for a little while, have had a meeting or phone call then they likely ask me how I’m getting business from LinkedIn.

The truth is that I wonder how people don’t get business from LinkedIn, particularly people who are in B2B. Looking to generate more  B2B leads through social media? Click here.

I want to share with you my secret for continually generating leads and getting business from LinkedIn.  You’ll be surprised at how simple it is.

I’m not going to say that I’m getting hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales from LinkedIn, but it is a very reliable source of leads for me.  Leads that often lead to closed deals.

I’m sure you’ve attended a webinar or workshop where you’ve learned a system for generating leads on LinkedIn.  I’ve hosted a few of these workshops and have some great success stories from people who have attended.

The funny thing is that most folks that attend my LinkedIn workshop, leave and do one of two things;

  1. They don’t do anything with the system
  2. They see some success once or twice and then stop doing it.

What’s funnier is that they all say “Tim, your process works, I just need to make the time to do it”.  I especially love when they say this after telling me they’ve gotten leads and/or new business from it.

The truth is the process works.  I don’t claim to be some kind of genius.  I’ve read several books, attended multiple workshops and webinars to find out what worked best.  

Sure, I’ve made changes over time based on the responses I was getting and all the changes that LinkedIn has made over time.  But; I didn’t create most of the process, I learned it.

While the process certainly works, it’s not the secret behind the success that I’ve had.  The secret, my secret, is my mindset.  

I have discovered that, more than anything, I have a different mindset when it comes to networking, particularly on social media, but on LinkedIn more specifically.

I’m going to walk you through 5 reasons that you are likely not generating leads or getting sales from your LinkedIn network.

If you can adjust your approach, I promise that you will see more success from LinkedIn than you have in the past.

Here are the five reasons:

  1. You don’t actually connect

    So many people click the connect button and stop there.  Having a ton of contacts is not going to guarantee you any leads or new business.

    Consider this. How much business do you get from referrals and word of mouth now?  Didn’t you have to build a relationship or provide a service for people to send you referrals?

    People value their relationships and they’re not going to just hand over their contacts or send referrals unless they like and trust you first.  This applies even more to social media.

    You must actually try to get to know your online network.  If you never get to know them, and they don’t get to know you, how can you develop trust? Why would they send you any referrals or introduce you to anyone.

    Action step: After you’ve made a new contact schedule a time to jump on the phone for 5 or 10 minutes.  Schedule a time to meet for coffee, or a follow up call, if the call goes well.

  2. You’re trying to Sell Everyone

    I’m not trying to sell anyone on LinkedIn.  I’m being 100% honest.  I’m trying to find opportunities and determine who actually wants to participate in my network.

    People who try to sell everyone on LinkedIn make it more challenging for others.  So often people have their guard up when I call, because they’ve been on so many sales calls from LinkedIn users.

    The worst thing you can do is send someone a sales message right after you connect.  You make them regret connecting with you.  

    It’s feels exactly the same as getting spam emails before there were spam blockers. I know dozens of people who stay off of LinkedIn because of sales messages and calls.

    It always amazes me how people who use “salesy” tactics don’t like being sold in the same manner that they try to sell to others.

    Action step: Don’t sell. Listen and learn as much as you can about them and their business.  Try to be helpful and don’t sell unless you’re invited to do so.  

  3. You act like everyone is trying to sell you something

    I’ve actually connected with a few people that provided a service I was looking to buy right away or I was hoping to connect them with someone who needed their service right away. 

    The sad part was when I tried to schedule a call they started asking why I wanted to talk, or by saying that they didn’t have time to be sold a service or join any new ventures.

    Now I’ll admit, I didn’t go in saying I was buying, I just asked if they had time a quick call.  

    This is my initial way of finding out a little about the person I’ve just connected with.

    I get to determine if they are friendly and fit the culture of my community and referral network.

    1. Do they seem like someone I’d like to introduce to my most valuable clients?
    2. Action step:  Be open to new relationships and opportunities.  You never know what opportunities you might miss out on and it’s just much more friendly.  You also want people to speak well of you.

    Pro Tip:  If you schedule a call with someone.  Make sure that you honor that call.  Missing the call, or rescheduling the call, potentially tells that person that you don’t respect their time and it’s unprofessional not to keep your appointments.  

    People are busy; and if they are taking time out of their day, if there’s not a valid excuse (like a medical emergency) then you should show the respect of taking their call.

    Otherwise, politely tell them you’d prefer not to schedule a call.  They’ll appreciate your honesty and respect you more for not wasting their time.

  4. You don’t have a process

    I’m not going to harp on this too much.  You need a process and you need to set aside time as part of that process.

    Just like anything else in business, it will perform better with a defined process.  It’s hard to say whether or not something is working if you don’t have a process to measure it by and you are doing it a different way every time.

    I think what baffles me most is when people say it doesn’t work, but they can’t tell me what they’ve done other than sign up and invite people to connect and accept connections.  

    My favorite is when people give endorsements to people they don’t know then ask or expect something in return.  

    They don’t know you. Why would they give an endorsement back or do anything based on a random act that provides little to no value at all?

    That’s just a side note.  Have a goal and have a process.  My goal is to schedule phone calls with as many new and existing connections that are mutually willing.

    My process is simple; connect and ask if they are open to a phone call sometime.

    Action step:  Write out your process and follow it 100% of the time. Do this often; daily if possible.

  5. You’re not attempting to build real relationships

    I hear people say all the time that they are about building real relationships.  Well here’s the truth; real relationships take time and investment.  More than a few months, a few cups of coffee and a few lunches.

    Stop saying that you like to build relationships if you are expecting to eventually get something more than friendship from that person.  

    In my opinion, this is where I truly excel over everyone else on social media.  I truly connect with everyone on LinkedIn with no expectation that they will ever buy from me.  

    My only expectation is to learn more about them and find out how I can help them.  My focus is to try to help them.  

    I make sure that I spend more time learning about them, their goals and challenges than I do telling them about me or my business. I actually try not to tell them much about me unless they ask.

    The only time I truly generate leads from LinkedIn is when someone actually tells me they need my help or asks for my help.

    Yes, you read that right.  I never ask if anyone needs my services in a call or message?  

    I genuinely just want to connect with that person, learn about them and hopefully be a friend to them.  That’s my only goal when I connect and call.

    Action step:  Lower your expectations for closing business and look for opportunities to make new friends and build relationships.  Trust me you’ll be much happier all around.

    Pro Tip: Look for ways to add value to the relationship.  Promise to share something and make sure that you do or tell them you’re going to introduce them to someone you think they should know, then make sure you make the introduction. This allows you to quickly build trust.

So what’s the actual secret, Tim?

My mindset, the secret behind my success is very simple.  I’ve already shared it to be honest.  I’m not trying to sell anyone and I’m open to opportunities.  I have a process so that I can work more quickly, but it’s my authenticity that wins over time.

Why I get such great results, often more and better than most, is I’m just trying to find out what everyone needs from me.

Do they just want another connection so they can say they have over a thousand contacts in their network?  Are they looking for referrals?  Do they need a service that I provide?  Or, do they also want to develop real relationships that over time yield high returns organically.

No matter what they need from me, I’m not only fine with it, I’m very happy with it.  No matter their choice it ultimately helps me.  It saves me tons of time.

You see, we all know people prefer to do business with someone they like and trust.  So I just try to be likable and trustworthy with everyone.  Why wouldn’t you do that anyway?

My secret is that I let people tell me when and how they need my help.  I don’t expect any specific person to ever buy from me.

I’m often genuinely surprised when people ask to have a meeting to discuss their branding or marketing because it was not my expectation going in.

I’ve had friends I’ve met through networking who ask us to come in to discuss their marketing challenges out of the blue.

And just to be clear, I still reach out to all the folks who aren’t interested in hiring us. We occasionally jump back on the phone, go grab coffee, lunch or dinner.

My secret is that I play the long game believing that if I help enough people, then some of those people will help me in return.  I don’t know which people, but I know it will be some.

So what’s the last action step?  Stop selling and sincerely be helpful without expecting anything in return from anyone. 

I’m not saying go out of business trying to help everyone. The help you offer doesn’t have to be grand, time consuming, or costly.  It just has to be authentic and meaningful.

What Now?

You can help me.  Oh, Tim, I thought you said that you helped without expecting anything in return. Well, I’ve given you the real secret to my success.  

So, most times when I speak to folks, after I ask them how I can help them, the nice people always ask how they can help me.

If you are a nice person.  You can help me by actually applying what I’ve shared. It will be a huge step in making relationship building on social media easier and better for everyone.

  1. You’ll actually attempt to connect with your contacts 

  2. You’ll put in the work to build meaningful relationships.

  3. You’ll stop expecting every call to be a sales call and be open to new opportunities,  knowing that you’ll have to sit through a few sales calls.

  4. You’ll stop trying to sell people and start trying to help them.

  5. You’ll get a process so that you can do this more efficiently and maintain it over time.

I know it won’t be all peaches and flowers. There are always going to be people who abuse things, so stay encouraged as you make the effort.

And Please share your experiences, hopefully more good than bad.  I love to help people through the challenges of bad experiences, but I like to hear about the good experiences much more.

Cheers to new opportunities and meaningful relationship building!