Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
I was at a networking event not too long ago when I met this guy. WAIT…hold on…let me finish!! This is a different story about a different guy at a different networking event.
Anyway, we were talking for about 5 to 10 minutes. Typical stuff. He was giving me the rundown on what he did. I was giving him the rundown of what I did. He was humoring me a little. I was humoring him a little. And by the end of the conversation, I determined that he was a pretty nice guy.
I liked him.
(Insert thumbs up and winky smiley face here)
And then with one fell swoop he ruined it. He tried to sell me something. And not just sell me. He pulled the granddaddy of all sells. We’re talking the “I have a credit card machine in my car” kind of sell.
And just like that, our relationship was over. I unliked him.
(Insert thumbs down and winky frowny face here)
And that’s it. That’s the end of the story. No happy ending here. Not for him anyway.
This is the Secret as to Why People Suck at Networking
You see, my reason for going to that networking event was to meet people. Make a couple of new friends. I didn’t go there with the intention of buying anything. And I’m pretty sure I wasn’t alone in that. I would bet there wasn’t a single person in the room that showed up with a hole burning in their pocket. Yet they were all there looking to sell something.
Think about that for a second. A room full of people selling without a single buyer.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why most people suck at networking.
(Takes a bow as members of the audience throw roses up onto the stage yelling “Bravo!”)
It’s Not Quite What You Think…
This is supposed to be the part where I talk about building relationships and creating value at networking events. But this post isn’t about networking in real life. It’s about networking in our digital lives. On the Internet. Whether it is through our various social media platforms, our website, our newsletters or any other tool we use to communicate our message online.
This real life example is how many people live their lives digitally. They are in a constant state of trying to sell in a room full of people not interested in buying.
We don’t log onto Twitter, Google+ or Facebook with our credit cards in hand while we scour each update looking for something to spend our hard earned money on. We’re there to connect. To socialize. Meet new people. Hear a funny story. Read something interesting. Check in on friends. Or family. Tell someone a funny story. Blow off some steam. Waste some time. Laugh. Cry. Escape.
But not buy.
And yet, we are bombarded by ads and updates like these:
“Learn to post to 1500 Facebook groups at once. Get amazing traffic. Inbox me.”
Well, that sounds promising! And totally legit!
“I’m looking for 5 more people to help make their fortune online!”
This one as it currently stands is pretty bad. But what makes it even worse is the day before they posted the same thing only looking for 3. And the day before that it was 6. And the day before that it was 4. And the day before that it was 2. See where I’m going with this?
Then of course you have my personal favorite:
“107 Year Old Secret For Getting Automated Traffic That Converts!”
Ah yes. Ye grand SEO from days of y’or. (Special thanks to Mark Burnett for the greatest response ever to that line. I didn’t stand a chance of coming up with anything better than that.)
Why Do People Post this Crap?
Because it works. Sort of.
If you throw enough spaghetti at the wall, something is bound to stick. It’s the same thing here. No matter how bad an ad is, if you make some outlandish promise and get it in front of enough people, eventually someone is going to buy into it.
That person may not be you. You probably just ignore it. Roll your eyes. Hide the post. Unfriend the person. Maybe even click on it out of morbid curiosity.
But someone else out there is falling for it. And because of that, these ads are getting more and more frequent and more and more bold (in other words, bullshitty) in a desperate attempt to grab that 1 out of 100 sets of eyeballs that don’t know any better.
And That’s Where You and I Come In
We do know better. And we have an obligation to help out our fellow surfers and surfettes. Our digital brothers and sisters. Our…well, you get the point.
Those that know the way have an unwritten responsibility to guide those that don’t.Those that know the way have an unwritten responsibility to guide those that don't.Click To Tweet
So, the next time you see an ad like that (5 minutes after you read this) don’t just ignore it this time. Don’t just roll your eyes this time. Don’t just hide it this time. And don’t just unfriend the person this time.
Call them out on it.
I’m not talking about a public flogging. Or posting something obnoxious like “SCAM! SCAMMY SCAM SCAM SCAMMER! SCAM-ALAMA-DING DONG!”
(Say what you want but that is very obnoxious)
Challenge them. Question them. Shine a spotlight on them. Force them to stand up for their outlandish claims and prove themselves. If they are going to try and scam our friends, let’s at least make them have to work for it!
And the Most Important Part…
While you are at it, point everyone else in the right direction. The good stuff. The stuff that works. The bloggers, podcasters, video bloggers, speakers, authors, educators, books, magazines, articles, communities and people that have worked for years on their craft and figured out a way to share it. With integrity. In a way that is a win/win/win.
Where you win, they win and we as a community win because there is one more person out there doing good.
There are a lot of them out there. And they are brilliant. And they deserve to be talked about and have their message spread.
Starting right now.
In the comments below, I want you to share their name and link. Maybe even include a little information about them. And let’s help each of them rise to the top. Click on their links. Read their blogs. Join their newsletters. Let’s all support those that are doing good.
Just don’t submit yourself. That’s pretty lame. And if you do submit someone that wreaks of scammer, I’m going to remove them.
I’ll go first…