Yep. I've joined the ranks of "LinkedIn sales locusts" who have invaded the platform and are hitting up any- and everyone with ears to hock our wares.
And I know, for a fact, that it's annoying AF because I, too, am being bombarded by the same locusts trying to sell me the very same products and services I'm selling. It's a shit show. I wholeheartedly agree. However, I wanted to share a couple of things I'm hoping will provide some perspective and make it less annoying and invasive and simply something to veer around.
I'm currently running 3 businesses, 4 if you include my latest "locust" venture. As a result, I spend an insane amount of time on the road between Los Angeles (where I live) and San Jose, California (where my warehouse is located). The 360-mile trip down the long, straight, mostly boring Highway 5. I bought my dream car on my 50th birthday last year, a used, 2005 Porsche Boxster because 1.) I'd always wanted that Porsche and could finally afford it, and 2.) It's the perfect driving car for long road trips for a bachelor.
Driving Highway 5 is always filled with anxieties, frustrations, and opportunities. Much like LinkedIn. I'll explain.
The anxieties for leadfoot, Porsche drivers like me is that at some point I'm going to blow past an under- or overpass and not see that California Highway Patrol car, hidden inconspicuously, specifically targeting speed limit violators like me. Yes, I've already been popped in the Porsche. 87 mph in a 70 mph zone...but the ticket was for "speed exceeding 70 mph" vs. 87...which is borderline (license-suspending) "reckless driving." Yes, I wholeheartedly accept that I broke the speed limit. Yes, I know the consequences of my actions. Yes, I hated paying over $350 for that violation. And, YES, I know better. But therein lies the lesson and the motivation.
My agenda isn't to speed per se. It's to get from LA to San Jose or the reverse in as short a time as possible and safely, of course. My time is limited. And since COVID is still a thing in this country, I'm not hopping on anybody's plane any time soon, which is actually my preferred mode of travel. That 5+ hour trip I accomplish in about 4 hours, 30 minutes, routinely because of the choices I make. During that time I typically knock out 2-4 Portuguese lessons, a few business calls, and often drive for hours in silence just to noodle on different strategies for my businesses, decide on plans of action, or just listen to the sweet sound of the Porsche engine nestled right behind me. Trust me, I'm constantly scanning the road, slowing at certain underpasses I've deemed "boagie traps," and have literally recognized the color, car/SUV make and model of ALL CHP vehicles and can spot them far enough down the road to drop a couple of gears and get my speed back down within legal limits.
Clearly, I need to teach this. So here ya go. There are unwritten "road rules" when traveling on an interstate. The left lane is for vehicles traveling at a faster rate of speed. The right lane (on a two-lane highway traveling in one direction) is typically for 18-wheeler transport vehicles, mobile homes, drivers who set their cruise control at exactly the speed limit, etc. Often, clueless, slower drivers will stay in the left lane despite the fact that faster drivers are coming up behind them at a fast rate of speed. The courteous thing to do would be to move to the right momentarily, let the faster car pass, and move back to the left lane. The frustration comes when this doesn't happen. And the funny part about this is that it's really just ego. There were times when this used to really piss me off because it felt like the ultimate display of entitlement, typically exacted by Prius drivers, Tesla drivers, and generally clueless drivers of a certain age you would think would know better. But the irony is that it's more entitled to be frustrated by someone simply driving from Point A to Point B and likely not even aware of the rules.
Over the years I've simply gone around. No screaming at my windscreen. No middle finger out the window. No flashing my headlights. No tailgating. None of it. Simply seeing the car as an obstacle along my journey vs. some assh*le in my way has allowed my trips to be mostly emotionless and doesn't allow any of those encounters to stay in my head for longer than the few seconds it took to go around them.
I see this whole LinkedIn locust invasion the same way. Even when I am one of the locusts. Simply go around. Hit "ignore" or delete and keep it pushing. Just like the purpose of a highway is to get people from point-to-point where rules may or may not be understood and applied by everyone, LinkedIn is the same. LinkedIn, in its very name, is about linking people together through connections and networking. As much as it's become "business Facebook" of late, the very core of the platform is about bringing people together to DO BUSINESS. It's still a relatively new platform and is kinda the Wild West at the moment. But please don't become one of those drivers flashing your lights, honking, flashing bananas, and getting frustrated by people actually doing what this platform was designed to do. YES, we can be frustrating and annoying in our efforts and the "billion" random connections flooding our inboxes. But instead of taking it personally, simply "go around." It's not that deep.
Keep in mind, we're in a pandemic. People have lost jobs and livelihoods and they're grasping at anything to help them change their realities, which aren't necessarily so good right now across the board. Lead gen businesses, sales funnel businesses, coaches of every flavor, etc. are clogging the platform. And, newsflash, they will until the economy provides more opportunities and the desperate ones can return to their senses of normalcy with their desk jobs and hang up their "overnight expert" coats and go back to being mediocre workers with a regular paycheck. The rest of us who are actually passionate about what we do, have success stories and recommendations aplenty, will enjoy the lack of traffic on the highway and will continue to thrive and help others thrive in kind. I know it's frustrating. But keep it in perspective and go around where necessary. The REAL ONES will find you and we'll all speed in the same direction.
Something I learned many years ago was that within perceived chaos always lies tremendous opportunity. I'm the type to run toward chaos because I've found some of my biggest wins by simply picking through the muck for that one or two diamonds fighting to find me. The insanity created by LinkedIn Sales Navigator has been almost too much to take. Trust me I get it. However, if you're able to be focused in your search or professionally wide-eyed when combing through the insane number of connection requests you're likely receiving these days, you'll begin to develop the Spidey sense to determine who has copy-and-pasted the same "You don't know me but..." or "I see we have similar interests..." themes and those like me, with PROVEN success, who essentially beg you to "hit ignore" actually hoping you'll get the joke and actually choose to accept the request. And therein lies the potential for an opportunity that could possibly help you save or grow your business exponentially.
Opportunity only knocks every now and then. And only a select number of people on this platform have the actual cred to do the knocking. Your responsibility as a "consumer" on this platform is to vet the chaos for opportunity without getting butthurt by the amount of noise on the platform. It's not personal. IT'S BUSINESS. And if your business is struggling, it's people like me and a number of others who will do our very best to match our skills, wares, network, and expertise to yours in a way where there is mutual benefit. I will change your life or your business and you will pay me. Kinda simple, really.
LinkedIn is rife with a different kind of anxiety. My new LinkedIn venture is rife with it. I've spent years writing over 110 articles, building a reputation and a super impactful business on this platform. The thought of losing it or begin labeled a "locust" or "spam artist" often keeps me up at night. But, understand, that mine is a numbers business. And there are innumerable players in the same space doing something similar, though nowhere near as well as I and my company do it. I know this for a fact. However, standing out is incredibly difficult in a sea of AI-driven connection requests on LinkedIn. My reach outs are quirky and actually invite people to ignore me. Those who don't get it, will. And, sadly, they'll miss out on someone who is dedicated and quite successful at helping their businesses thrive. And that's cool. But those who do get it or are at least intrigued by the cheeky connection request will accept it and see what happens next. And those are my peeps. The ones who see beyond the frustration and are curious enough to see what opportunity exists.
We're all here to do BUSINESS, be inspired, and continue to grow professionally. Don't be consumed by the anxiety and frustration. Instead, focus on the opportunities, expect to do a little work to vet the real ones, and dedicate a little time each week to listen to a pitch or two from that "rando" who hit you up with the quirky connection request. If your business is struggling or looking for a turbo boost, needs help making your sales teams more efficient, needs to spend a little money up front to save potentially hundreds of thousands over the next couple of years, then it's people like me and a large handful of others who would genuinely love to help. Sure, we all want to make money. Lots of it. But helping people succeed wildly is what I've dedicated my life to. I love the challenge and choreography of it. I love showing people how to create the mindset, habits, and actions necessary to succeed. And, more than anything, I LOVE the emails, testimonials, and recommendations I get after they've not only reached their goals, but obliterated them!
So look beyond all the locusts. There's a phoenix or two waiting to help you slay the game, turn your business around, make A LOT of money, or improve your, your employees', or your clients lives in some way. Don't know about you, but that seems like a pretty compelling value proposition to me.
Phoenix is coaching and supporting American billionaires, CEOs and executive teams in tech, retail and banking for over 25 years. He also founded and created MEGA Assistant University, a revolutionary skills and mindset “boot camp” for top Executive and Personal Assistants who want to level up quickly and begin forging a mutually successful business partnership with their executives and teams. Phoenix holds a Bachelors of Arts in European Studies/Civilisation from Trinity College Dublin.