You have 10,000 LinkedIn connections, but you're not getting any business. LinkedIn must be over-rated, right?
Before we jump to any conclusions, let's evaluate a few things:
1) When was the last time you updated your profile?
2) Are you creating and sharing original content that provides value and solves your connection's problems?
3) How often are you engaging with people (commenting, liking, and sending private messages)? And no, commenting, "Nice post!" doesn't count as thoughtful, meaningful engagement on ANY social platform.
Business development will almost always come back to one simple concept: Providing more value to the other person than you're asking for in return.
For example: You run a sales training company and your customers come to you for help when their salespeople are underperforming, and they (as the owner, sales manager, VP of sales, etc...) can't figure out what's going on on their own. So in times of need, they hire your business to figure out what's causing the lack of motivation among their salespeople, why they're not closing deals, and why certain deals are falling through.
Now, you're on LinkedIn because you heard someone say, "LinkedIn is a great place to be if you're in B2B sales." So you set up your account, connect with thousands of potential customers, and now days go by, weeks go by, and nothing. No one is calling you, no one is emailing you, no one is sending you any messages via LinkedIn. What's going on? Well, just like most things, you'll only get out of it what you put in.
Start writing articles, shooting videos (these can be simple, low-cost webcam videos), sharing outside articles, and start commenting on people's posts where they ask a question you know the answer to. You might be thinking, "Great, but what do I say in my articles, videos, and posts?" Just focus on one thing: solving problems.
If you know your customers are having trouble getting their salespeople to focus and stay motivated during the holiday season, write an article or shoot a quick 3-5 minute video (or even better... do both!) sharing 5 things that leaders can do to keep their salespeople motivated during the holiday season while everyone else has already mentally checked-out.
Now you're answering a question that almost all of your connections have. Now you're providing them with value without them even having to ask you. The more and more you continue to do this, you'll take yourself out of obscurity, and you'll put yourself in a position to be known and to be remembered for solving problems for sales leaders. This is what LinkedIn is all about. One of the other most over-looked opportunities to build a relationship is if someone would be able to refer someone or another company to do something for them. Most people would keep scrolling because and ignore the post because, "Well, what's in it for me?" But what if you message that person and say, "I have someone who would be perfect for the job. Can you provide me with more info? I'd love to connect you to my colleague who has been doing this for years with great results." If all goes well and you help that person out in the end, why not ask them, "Who do you know that would need sales training?"
LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool, but like any other tool: If you don't put it to work it's useless. So the next time you start complaining about LinkedIn not being effective for you and your business, ask yourself if you're recalling putting in the work to take full advantage of all the opportunities this platform offers. Let's get to work! :)