Why Networking SUCKS

by Tim Francis on June 9, 2013

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Why Networking SUCKS

There’s a dirty little secret when it comes to networking events. You know – business lunches, mixers, and the like.

Look… People aren’t idiots – they know the score – yet no one seems to have the balls to step up and say it.

It’s time to call a spade a spade. Everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – is there to sell.

You’ve Probably Experienced This Too…

When someone comes up to me and says “Oh hey, nice to meet you. I’m a Realtor. Let’s go to coffee sometime so we can get to know each other.”

We ALL KNOW that’s just thinly-veiled code for:

Hey. We’re going to sit down in one of the City’s 800 coffee shops.

I’m going to feign interest in your kids and dogs for about 10 minutes.

Then you’ll hear about mine for the following 10.

Then, because stopping at foreplay really isn’t my goal – at the 21-minute mark I will turn the conversation to Real Estate in a way that sounds casual, but is painfully predictable.

My REAL goal is to find out if you’re ready to buy or sell a house. Preferrably BOTH.

And if you’re NOT in the market, I’ll find out if you have any referrals to send my way.

If you don’t, I will politely excuse myself and say ‘You know, this has just been great. Let’s make sure to stay in touch’, when we both know – in reality – this never ever happens. At least not until 6 months from now when I’m having a slow month, so I’ll call you up and invite you to coffee again, you know – to “catch up” – only to repeat the same insincere dog-and-pony show all over again.

Welcome to Networking!

Congratulations, you get to do this for only the next 20-30 soul-crushing years of your professional life.

But what about those far more noble networkers who say, “Oh but I’m different… I just genuinely want to help people.”

I’m SO sorry only one of us sees through your BS.

You’re trapped in some fuzzy, cuddly theoretical book you read 3 months ago after seeing it recommended on Oprah. It’s time to come down from your high horse and get real.

If networking was ONLY about helping other people (not selling at all), then step up to the plate and walk your talk. Starting tomorrow, go to networking events and coffee dates and don’t sell anything… ever. You’re not allowed to mention your product, your business, your industry or anything, because that would be the dirty “S-word” – selling – albeit on a timid level. Instead, just sip your capafrapuccino grande lattes and be a kind, aw-shucks kind of guy or gal that’s only there “to help other people”.

See how long your credit card carries you on financial life support before you either perish from cash cardiac arrest or you admit the bare-knuckled reality that networking is all about sales, so you better take a cold shower and get your head in the game.

Is There ANYTHING Good About Networking?

Are there quality people to be met at networking events? Absolutely… I’ve met some of them.

Are there quality business opportunities waiting within relationships with other networkers? Yes… I’ve enjoyed some of those too.

But – make no mistake – it’s ALL about sales.

To hear your 3-to-5-minute pitch, I really don’t need to waste 30 minutes driving to the coffee shop, engage in this phony foreplay for 20 minutes, then drive home for another 30 minutes. What a colossal waste of time.

Give it to me in a 5-minute summary, over phone, Skype, video, or email, and let the pitch speak for itself. If there’s relevant value for one or both of us, I fully trust we’ll see it right away and get down to business ASAP. IF there isn’t, we’ll also recognize that right away and move on, having just saved ourselves over 90 minutes of precious time.

Yes I do enjoy pleasant working relationships with nice people, but if we aren’t making money and solving problems, then what the hell are we doing here?

What I Really Dislike About Networking

So maybe it isn’t really networking that I hate… it’s just the painful fakeness, and brutal inefficiency that – for some unknown reason – is blindly accepted by you, me, and all other networkers simply as a “cost of doing business”. We pay that price repeatedly and unnecessarily, every time we head out armed with a fresh stack of crisp business cards in our left breast pocket or purse.

And that is what I hate about networking.

If you agree with me, go to iTunes, and rate my podcast 4 or 5 stars.

Thank-you and Good day.

– Tim

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy June 9, 2013 at 9:36 am

I think it’s important to go to these things not only looking to sell. But also looking to buy.

Always have a list of things you want to learn, and people’s brains to pick.

Let them pick yours in return.

Reply

Tim Francis June 10, 2013 at 11:28 am

Hey Andy,

I totally agree that showing up with a goal in mind – yes selling is part of it – but also being open to what kind of information / education you need next, what kind of introduction would be helpful, and also what problems you’ve got which you’d be willing to spend money to fix…. not to mention being proactive about opening your own rolodex of contacts and other resources… really allows the networking experience to be so much richer.

I think it also depends where and when you’re networking. Some of the free events I’ve attended have good education and/or some solid people in the room. At the events I’ve *paid* to attend (upwards of $2,500+ for a weekend marketing event) there have been only “movers and shakers” in the room. $2,500 to get in the door quickly separates the contenders from the pretenders, LOL!

In sharing my distaste for networking (and I mentioned this at the end of the article) I think it’s really the lame-o “coffee dates” afterwards that particularly irk me.

Thanks for your comments.

Tim :)

Reply

Bernice Dubon August 2, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Hey Tim,
I’ve just started listening to your podcasts, and now I listen every chance I get. You have some great ideas, and I always come away inspired to to accomplish more with marketing.
This particular podcast left me wanting more though… I agree with you on every point regarding networking… But what is the takeaway? What approach do you take when attending networking events to spend the time more efficiently, and make quality connections (if you do attend?)

Reply

Tim Francis August 3, 2013 at 7:16 am

Bernice!

Thanks for writing. And listening! And for your really kind comments. And, and , and… (laughing at myself, haha). I get so excited for marketing, glad to hear I’m not alone!

I checked out your website, I see you’re just down the road from me in Calgary. Nice! I was just at Stampede a few weeks ago – amazing you guys pulled together to overcome the “Hell or High Water” flood of 2013…. SCARY “act of god”… INSPIRING people in Calgary :)

I also see on your site you’ve got a background in marketing and advertising. Excellent!

As for your questions about networking… all GREAT questions. In fact, so good I’m going to do a podcast episode specifically for you – to answer your questions directly. I think a lot of people will benefit from your question.

And I think you’ll really enjoy hearing my “behind the scenes” tricks on networking. I’ve never witnessed anyone network the way I do, and I’ve been lucky to have some really nice successes. In the episode you’ll quickly see how these ideas will be very potent in your real estate business too.

So stay tuned to my podcast – https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/1000-marketing-podcast/id609512510 – cuz you’ll get the spotlight for an upcoming episode! If you make sure to subscribe, you won’t miss this (or any) episode.

When you get a chance, could you please review my podcast 4- or 5-stars and also leave a written comment?

Thanks!

Tim :)

Reply

Tim Francis August 6, 2013 at 9:56 am

As promised, Check it out: http://www.TimFrancisMarketing.com/Networking

Tim :)

Reply

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