Do you know that sinking feeling you get when it becomes blatantly obvious that someone’s only motive for connecting with you is to sell you something? It’s so disappointing to feel that they aren’t reaching out to you as a person … they are just warming you up as a prospect.
Or, as happens to me way too often, they invite you to their networking meeting/club/organisation etc by spouting about it’s great values and ethics, only to completely DUMP YOU when you politely decline their invitation! I have sometimes suggested alternative times or venues but to no avail – it’s their way or the highway. Really?!!
Is ‘connection’ just part of a sales funnel?
Is this really ‘connection’ or just a CON?
Don’t misunderstand me – it’s not ‘wrong’, it’s not illegal … it’s not even unethical. It’s just … well, it’s ICKY.
And IT DOESN”T WORK!
It’s a terrible waste of networking potential – who knows what opportunities are missed out on. Friendships, referrals, joint ventures, advocacy – they all begin with networking and develop with building relationships.
It can be very tempting (and I’m guilty too!) to not bother with someone because you can’t see an immediate benefit from getting to know them. But that’s kind of the point – you don’t know them so how can you know what benefit they could bring to your life or business? That person could holiday with Richard Branson, have a sister who is looking for whatever you are selling, give the best hugs, become your friend or mentor or advocate … who knows?
So what’s the alternative? How DO you take the ‘con’ out of connection?
Make it real.
Make it about getting to know the person. (Not just what they do – who they ARE)
Make it about helping someone.
Make it about finding what you have in common.
Make it about giving without expectations of getting anything in return.
Make it about anything but making sales.
In short, don’t have an ulterior motive.
Connect with those you feel any kind of connection with and be open to the opportunities that unfold.
And it really takes the pressure out of networking when you re-frame your goal from making sales into developing connections.
Happy connecting everyone – may opportunities more wonderful than you dare dream come your way 🙂