We have all heard of Multi-Level Marketing. Unfortunately many people approach networking in the same fashion and they think that the networks other people have built belong to them for their marketing purposes. Just because I am on Linkedin doesn’t mean I have been recruited to sell other people’s products or services.
People find me in various ways. They see that I am connected to somebody they want to reach for the sole purpose of generating financial currency for themselves. They reach out by email, phone or introductions and ask me to connect them to my contacts. Often my contacts are senior level people and decision makers.
These people who are basically strangers who I don’t know but they think my network belongs to them. Sorry, it has taken me decades to build my network often by going to networking events when I wanted to do other things, or getting up to early speak to a group at 7 in the morning. My network is not a public service. I am not going to connect strangers to my contacts.
The only people I open up my network to more freely are students, people in transition or if I see a good fit. Connecting a person in transition to a company when that person is not a qualified candidate is not a high return strategy for anyone. Fruitless activity is not high opportunity job hunting. These individuals would be better served learning how to fish but they want the quick fix and coming to me is the easier path.
“We are on Linkedin together” doesn’t really create some kind of fraternal bond when there are over 100 million people on Linkedin. All my connections aren’t your connections because we are on Linkedin. Linkedin isn’t a giant Amway. I feel more connected to the 200 plus people in Canadians in OC because we share similar backgrounds and shared interests like curling.
I often get solicitations from people thru Linkedin asking me to connect them to a second degree connection. Connecting strangers to strangers is not networking. I will also not write a Linkedin recommendation for anybody that I have not had a working relationship with.
As I have a very extensive network I also get emails saying that I have quite an impressive network. They would love to get together and see how we can help each other. In the past I used to bite but only very rarely did I find that they really wanted to help me. It was their interest and access to my network that was their primary concern. If I didn’t follow up I never heard from them.
I often meet people who almost upon immediately meeting me ask “Who are your clients?” They have a solution looking for a problem. They get no time.
I have become very skeptical of outreach that says. “Let’s see how we can help each other.” I have no problems finding people that need help. It is all around us. I would rather focus on them than people that want to use me.
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Watch my video on the ” Power of Networking“.