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How Not to Network

Crystal Webster

Crystal Webster

By Crystal Webster

Let me tell you a little story of what actually happened to me just the other day:

I met with a new client just out of college. We met through one of my networking groups and he seemed like a very nice guy. At the end of our meeting he suggested I come and “check out what he does.” I always like to learn more about what others do and help other KCYoungProfessionals.com members.

Fast forward a couple weeks. The day before our appointment I get a LinkedIn.com request from him. Cool, I accept.

The next day at our appointment, I’m taken into a room with him and his “mentor” and I’m grilled for an hour and a half. I don’t learn what he does and how he’s different from all the others– what I discovered was they’re trying to sell me something! At the end of our meeting he opens up his folder and scoots across the table a four page list of my LinkedIn.com contacts. “My assistant pulled this list of names of people she thinks I should know from your profile. I plan on contacting all of these people and just wanted to let you know.”

Um, I don’t think so. But I was so flabbergasted that I just stared at the list until they escorted me out of the office.

Of course, the next day I call him and give him a (very nicely and politically correct) piece of my mind. I tell him I wouldn’t be doing business with him, as that was not our intent of the meeting, and I definitely will not be referring him to my clients until he gains my trust as respect back.

One week later I receive a letter from him in the mail; a form letter – with some misspellings and ‘blanks’ left empty. Looking at the signature he obviously had his female assistance sign his name (and her initials).

That was the end of our business relations, our friendship, and LinkedIn.com connection.

Crystal Webster is a REALTOR® in the Kansas City area. Visit her networking site at www.kcyoungprofessionals.com and her Web site and blog at www.theheritagehometeam.com.

Comments
  1. Roger Labanski

    If you can’t tell me what you do and how you do it in less than 5 minutes, it’s probably something that I wouldn’t be interested in anyway. Anyone in business should be able to simply say, “I am a ____________, and I do__________.” Most of us are too polite to get up and walk away from the table so I commend you on making it clear that you will not be doing business with him.

    I figure that if you have to be deceptive in order to make a sales pitch, you already know that your product or service is something that nobody wants.

  2. Wait, they were trying to sell you something AND at the same time stealing your contact list?! I would have either counted to 10 or punched him in the junk. What a jerk!

    On a side note, I do think this is a sign of how desperate people are getting. Such great lengths for just some contacts (well, I guess they were going the additional angle of selling you something but still).

  3. I’m sure in the future you’ll be more careful about who you accept LInkedin.com requests from. The same should be said for all social media. Keeping a tight group of business contacts with which you do business with is the best.

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