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…

But Wait! There's More...
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  • Marc Ensign

    I haven’t spent too much time on Google+ because I haven’t been able to find the right home there like I have on Twitter. Until recently. A few days ago a gentleman by the name of Mark Traphagen reached out and handed me a ladder. He introduced me to a lot of great people.And he sparked a whole new interest in Google+ for me. And because of him, I am redoing my profile and setting up camp there. If you are not (or even if you are) on Google+, make sure you circle him and listen carefully. He is brilliant!

    • Stan Bush

      Mark will have Martin Shervington, Ronnie Bincer, and some other folks in his circles. You’ll like it once you start. The pitfalls are the same as in anything though… spread yourself too thin and you just become vapor. If Twitter works for you then don’t lose what you have chasing what you don’t.

  • Laura Amerman, CFRE

    I really like Nancy Schwartz and her Getting Attention blog for nonprofit marketing.

    And Andrea Kihlstedt

    Both are nonprofit-oriented, but I find the recommendations and information applicable to anyone trying to behave as a human.

  • Change The Topic

    Haha, that’s funny that you mentioned Mark, because I was about to. While it’s hard to pick out a single person for me, I have to say that Jack Steiner ( and Ed Hong are a couple of my favourite folks on there. You really can’t go wrong with my group of circled friends though. I go through every few months and weed out the people who aren’t sharing positive content, or aren’t sharing at all.

    • Marc Ensign

      I’m going to have to check out your circles once I get my profile and everything up to date! Sounds like just my type of people!

  • Les Dossey


    Never have truer words been spoken about networking in general. It’s often a me, me, me event with far too many people unconsciously reaching into other peoples pockets in an attempt to satisfy their short sighted needs.

    Now onto the best part of this post! And for me I’m picking someone who doesn’t have a lot of social influence yet, but is no less deserving than others who do.

    That’s why I’m rooting for Matt Loomis from Matt has proven to be a great member of the G+ community. And because I’ve hired him to do some copywriting and editing for me, I know first hand that he’s a top notch guy whose actions match his words.

    And of course I will continue to promote +Marc Ensign whose content contains great value.

    • Marc Ensign

      His site is not up yet so I’ll keep my eye out for it! Thanks for the heads up! And thank you for sharing my stuff! I’m glad we bumped into each other!

  • Nancy

    Thanks again, Marc. Your article comes the day after I got slammed for calling out some people for touting something as a cure when there is no scientific proof.
    Appreciate your article more than you know.

    • Marc Ensign

      Thank you Nancy! And keep fighting the good fight!

  • David Allan

    Great post as usual Marc!

    Besides yourself I vote for Michael Senoff at He’s like Pat Flynn before we knew there was a Pat Flynn:)

    • Marc Ensign

      Are you sure that’s the right link? I got a page not found error.

      • David Allan

        Typo. Should be

        • Marc Ensign

          Much better! Checking him out now…

  • Jon Butler

    I always try to reserve some level of sympathy towards a forced pitch. None for the initial hard-sell, but too many people make the mistake of bragging about their connections at work, then act shocked when a higher-up wants them monetized. As my great-grandmother always said, “Silence… the friend that never betrays.”

  • Spook SEO

    Hey Marc! Awesome post! I like how your posts have rock solid points and but still remain humorous.

    I’m definitely with you when you said “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!”

    This will surely lower the number of “casualties” as far as being scammed online goes.

  • Rohan Ayyar

    I don’t advocate shouting “SCAM SCAM SCAM” either, but if you’re that wee-bit inclined towards “public flogging” of “internet marketers” here’s a fun site to check out:

    Long fight ahead, Marc, but certainly not unwinnable :)

  • Matthew “Kaboomis” Loomis

    Thanks to the nice comment left below by Les Dossey, Rohan Ayyar contacted me. This led me to discovering Marc Ensign. Love your message Marc. I’m now following you across various platforms. And yes, my website is almost finished. I will let you know when it goes live.

    Hope to talk more with you soon, Marc. Have a great week.

  • Gloria Taylor Brown

    Dropped in on your hangout with Jairek Robbins, late in the show – what I heard was interesting. I work with internet marketers – and for them – and I am trying to figure out a way that we can get an honest exchange of information, without it being slimy and scammy. There is a lot of talk about not being “salesy” with your message – usually followed by a heavy duty sales message. I agree about your comments on networking – years ago I had a mentor who taught me that you go to networking events to meet people, and that your effort should be aimed at being of service. In addition, act as if you are the host – introduce people to each other, make sure that lone person in the corner feels welcomed, and really listen to what people have to say. This same ethos could easily be extended to the internet.

    I conduct classes, that are just that – classes. There is nothing to buy, and nowhere to click. Of course I sell my services, but not on my classes.

  • Jules

    Awesome post Marc, Gary is a Speaker, author and my Integrative performance coach. He is upgrading his site so it may be under construction – he is also on facebook and his page is amazing wisdom no sales.

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