How to take the ‘con’ out of ‘connection’

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.


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 🙂



  1. Jennie Gorman on September 10, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Great article Sally and so spot on. Couldn’t say it better myself.

  2. Maureen on September 10, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    I’m amazed at the connections that have come my way. Today I met a lady, through a friend, who gave me some great tips on how to holiday without paying for accommodation – she’s been doing it for years. And had I walked away instead of stopping to connect with her – I would never have known how easy it is. I’ve been noticing lately how every connection seems to have a hidden jewel – you might just have to dig a little deeper with some people to find it.

  3. Hunter K. Smith on September 14, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Fab article Sally. I was conned in my career. Once the money was paid, suddenly all interest vanished!!

  4. john lonergan on February 23, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    I may be a little late into this conversation however, I wholeheartedly agree with your analogy of Networking Sally. To build a network/community is not to develop a current and future list of prospects but to gradually develop an association of individuals who trust and understand what it is that you may be worth to another person when they are need. To build a network of opportunity is to build rapport with a group of individuals who would recommend you to one of their trusted friends, associates or relative. That is ‘a biggie’ yes?
    How is that done effectively and honestly? By offering something valuable (a service or content) to those in need of, or to those interested your area of expertise – FOR FREE! Have no misconception as I am sure you will agree Sally, at first not an easy concept to get one’s mind around however, after a short time the rewards become inspiring. What better way to build a network and a rewarding business?…

    • Sally on February 24, 2019 at 10:48 am

      Hi John, thanks so much for your inspiring comments. It’s always great to hear from someone who ‘gets it’ 😊 and understands the power and beauty of giving … and that the rewards come in so many forms, not just business 😊

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