Sell Your Networking Group Well

I was at an event a couple of weeks ago, and I was approached about joining the hosting group.

I was interested after talking to the first person who approached me. It seemed that the group had synergy with me and might lead to some excellent contacts. I was mentally working out how it would fit in with my overall networking plan when member number two butted into the conversation.

He asked what I did. I told him I was a networking and social media coach. He asked if I were a member. I said, “No, but I’m thinking about it.” His response? “Shame on you. You should join right away.”

He then launched into a lengthy explanation of why I should join, starting with “we don’t have anyone in your profession who is already a member.” He went on for almost five minutes on the benefits of networking. (Did he miss what I said I did for a living?)

What all did he do wrong? More like, what didn’t he do wrong!

Attempting to “shame” me into joining. Obviously not listening to what I said I did and thinking I needed an explanation on the benefits of networking. His manner was generally obnoxious, and he didn’t shut up until (finally!) they asked us to sit to listen to the speaker.

Oh, did I mention that he tried to embarrass the speaker during his presentation?

Before you ask, no, this was not a BNI meeting or any similar type of group.

I’m sure none of you would be this obnoxious to a potential member of your networking group or professional organization, but I tell the story to remind you to always be aware when you are asking someone to join. Hard sell, obnoxious techniques don’t work. Listen to the other person. Find out his or her needs. Show how your group can address those. And then shut up and let the person think.

It’s too bad. I think the group would have been worth joining. But the thought of having to deal with him every month has definitely put me off.


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