In the last week I’ve had two very clear examples of how NOT to network.

Example 1: You accept a connection invite from someone online because they look interesting, they’re in your target group, you know some of the same people, there’s an element of shared interest …

The very next communication you receive is a cut and paste ‘sales pitch’.

It’s impersonal – they haven’t taken the time to actually read my profile to check if I might even vaguely be interested or it’s relevant – although invariably, they say they have.

It’s unsolicited – I didn’t ask for it or even express an interest, I was just giving the online equivalent of a hello and a handshake.

Irrelevant – I’m not actually interested in what they have to offer and it’s certainly not relevant to me at this time.

On this occasion, I politely responded back to them.

Their response (within minutes) was more of them same but along the lines of “well, you might not be interested but you might be at a point in the future and please make sure you recommend me to your friends or colleagues”.

Well, they missed the point completely – and I don’t do this very often, but I quickly hit ‘disconnect’.

I will only recommend someone I know, like and trust and quite often, have actually used myself or at least heard good things about.

Example 2:  Attending a business event and supporting one of the exhibitors, I was approached by a visitor, who, rather than express an interest in what we were offering – launched straight in to their sales pitch.  How could they sell their product/service to all of our customers, clients?  Even though we didn’t know anything about it or them!?

I heard the same story from other exhibitors on other stands who had suffered the same treatment, although from different people but with the same ‘in your face’ approach.

Woah! Back off!  What would make me even consider allowing you anywhere near my clients with such a heavy-handed, sales tactic.

This is the business equivalent of proposing on the first date.  In fact we’ve only just said ‘hello’ – you haven’t even bought me a coffee yet!

Have you experienced this ‘sales technique’ and did it work?