(big sigh) - What Networking Really Means - At Least to me

I enjoy networking with people and I enjoy getting to know people. I network in the hopes that they will know someone who needs my products and services. I network in hopes that eventually I will receive a new client. I never network hoping the person I am talking to will suddenly say they need my services. I want to develop a connection with them that will be based on mutual understanding, chemistry, and... a true desire to Leverage Their Time. 

I love it when someone asks to meet one-on-one to 'get to know each other'... I honestly believe that is what they want to do - get to know me as I get to know them - so we can learn about each other and what we do and be able to 'sell' their services to others who we know or meet that may need their services. 

To me, it is through this interaction that we learn how focused on making real connections the other person is and how important it is to 'sell their products or services' to ME more than getting to know me. 

I have to admit, I am instantly turned off by that... when we meet under the guise of 'getting to know each other' and it turns into a 'sales meeting' with great sales pressure... 

I am a person who will be more than happy to tell you I don't need your services or products. That is not a problem I have... the problem is... when you 'lie' about why you want to meet me and then do a hard sell on me. 

You see, when people do that hard sell during our get to know you meeting... I may need your services or products... but I make an instant decision to 'never buy from you'. Seriously... you are not the only person who sells that product or service or a great and close variation of what you do... and I do not bother to take you seriously... you in effect, lied to me to get me to meet with you - not to get to know each other... but to sell your services. 

Here is a not so secret - secret about me... if I like you, I AM YOUR BEST SALES PERSON... even if I get nothing from the referrals and sales. I will tell everyone I know that may need your services or products about you... 

So... when you lie to me about getting to know me or you fail to disclose that the one-on-one is a hard sales meeting... I often decide that I am not going to go forth with you even if I am desperate (and you don't know how much so) for your services. 

I don't like people like that... I don't like people who mislead to meet with you to do a hard sell... 

I get that sales is a part of the 'game'... however, that doesn't mean you have to play games with those you network with... 

Here is why I have a problem with this type of networking.

I tell you a tiny bit about what I do and you suddenly know all you need to know about me to determine I need your services or products. 

Yet, you did not ask me if I am already using/working with someone who does the same thing as you. 

You don't really know what my business is about because you didn't listen to me... you see, one of the many things I do is present training on communication and listening... yep, when I see you asking a series of quick "qualifying leads" questions, I know you are not interested in me as a person or my actual business, you want to go through your checklist and get your sales pitch in before 'time is up'. 

But because you didn't really want to get to know ME... just corner me into a conversation to turn it into a hard sell... I lost interest in you. And your business. 

I do not and have not done a hard sell on my business at a get to know you one-on-one. I will tell you what I do when asked... and I will offer some ideas if you mention an issue you are having... but I don't hard sell you. I want you to see me as a connection, someone to share your business with others I know... not be your first or best or newest client. I want to believe that you want to know me better as I want to know you better. 

In these types of networking events - one-on-one... I have been sold too, attacked, criticized, and chastised about what I do, how I do it, my website, and so on and so forth.  But what really gets me... is when I am then criticized about how I am not asking enough questions or acting interested in them... 

First of all, you monopolized the conversation and kept me working very hard not to 'get defensive'... second of all, I know all I need to know about you... and that is... that I really have no desire to get to know you more. Your approach towards me told me everything I need to know about how you are not honest about why you want to meet... or that you aren't really interested in getting to know me... in fact, you are unable to grasp the definition of networking... the process of making connections that matter... 

Here is by the way the definition of networking - "interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one's career." No where in that definition does it say... do a hard sell to the person under the impression you wanted to truly network. 


Get Ready and Set to Go,