3 Ways to waste time on LinkedIn and feel good about it

Time to read: 3 minutes. There’s no shortage of LinkedIn tips for sales professionals. But most do more harm than good. These are the tips-and-tricks giving a week’s worth of satisfaction—followed by that sinking feeling. “Ugh… why did I invest any time in that?” Today is your day. Let’s expose these time-wasters and discover what to do instead.

#1: Share quality content focused on providing value

“I have seen little (ok, I’m exaggerating) no success using LinkedIn,” John Reeb of the Colorado Leadership Institute said to me in a candid exchange.

“I have tried to add value to anyone who reads what I post … so that they gain some kind of expertise or learning that helps them in their day-to-day work… yet I’ve received virtually no feedback nor any sales from it,” Mr. Reeb told me.

I feel for him. Because LinkedIn ‘experts’ keep claiming being seen as an expert in your field is the killer strategy. But it’s not. In fact, it’s the reward for having an effective approach!

We’ve been told “share and they will come.” But merely sharing valuable content on LinkedIn won’t help you find clients.

Here’s what to do instead: Start daring, truthful discussions in LinkedIn Groups. Post updates on issues that competitors don’t dare go near.

Give potential buyers a reason to listen to you, to care about your words—to pay attention to you. Tell the shocking truths your competitors don’t want told. Tell the truths you are a little scared to tell!

Ask yourself what shocking truth can you reveal that…

  • gives insight on an idea customers never heard before
  • busts a harmful myth your buyers believe in—that isn’t true!
  • confirms their suspicion that some sellers are telling “white lies”

This is one of my best LinkedIn tips for sales reps. Social selling often means helping prospects believe in a new, more useful point-of-view—in a way they can act on. That’s where your lead generation offer plugs in.

#2: Comment frequently on Group discussions & prospects’ updates

You can’t throw a cat without hitting an expert espousing this time-wasting tip. Let the truth be told. Participation on LinkedIn is the cost of entry. Learning how to apply social media copywriting is the force multiplier.

Success depends less on how frequently you update your profile status, how often you participate in Group discussions or what you say. You’ll get more response (and leads) by investing time in structuring words to be provocative.

Instead of wasting time patting people on the back, disagree once in a while. Invent ways to make potential buyers curious about your ability to solve a problem, remedy a pain or fast-track a goal.

The key to turning LinkedIn interactions into business leads is following a social media copywriting process.

At the highest level the process involves:

  • getting to the point immediately,
  • having something honestly new (and useful) to say and
  • not saying too much too fast. Being a little mysterious.

#3: Connect with prospects

The most dangerous (yet common) LinkedIn tip for sales professions is connecting with new prospects.

Have you been banned by LinkedIn for requesting connections with prospects you don’t know? Know anyone who has?

Being temporarily banned by LinkedIn for this reason is common. Fact is, if your connection requests are not accepted often enough, LinkedIn will remove your ability to make requests.


LinkedIn is not a good place to contact people whom you don’t have (at least) a second degree connection with, and whom you don’t have specific knowledge about.

If you have a new prospect—who you’ve never spoken to—it’s probably not a good idea to request a connection on LinkedIn (outside of an InMail message). That is, until you have better proximity to the prospect… better ability to approach once they know you or have a high probability of accepting the connection request.

Because this is not what LinkedIn is intended for. It’s not what the founders built LinkedIn to do for sellers. In fact, LinkedIn was not originally built with “social selling” in mind. Just like Facebook wasn’t built for marketing.

Questions about any of my tips? Disagree with my perspective? Let me know. Good luck to you!

Photo credit: Elijah van der Giessen



copywriting, InMail, linkedin groups, myths, social selling, warning

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  • Good tips Jeff, except that I’ve never heard of someone getting banned for sending out too many connection requests. Does that really happen? I’ve sent out thousands of cold connection requests and at least half of them end up becoming contacts. Maybe I’ve just been lucky.

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