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Networking Madness

Tommy Yan

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It was 4:30 in the afternoon at a Chamber of Commerce networking event. Health professionals, insurance agents, brick and mortar businesses, recruiters and guests gathered inside the House of Blues to take part in the hoopla. Announcements, Chamber news, door prize results and up-tempo music blared from the speakers.

Two dozen display booths formed at the center while others hugged against the walls. I was busy ogling at the finger foods, salads and refreshments. You couldn't walk five feet without someone assaulting you with their business card in your face.

Everybody was intent on selling you their product, package or program. They wanted you to notice them. Whether you wanted to or not. And maybe one person in one hundred seriously wanted to trade notes, share ideas or look into a profitable partnership.

Which made the whole affair a big yawner. . .

These are total strangers trying to convince you they have the secret tool that will make you more money and save you more time. They believe relationship selling is conducted by them giving you their 30-second commercial, and then something clicks and a bright light bulb appears above your head and you respond with, “You have exactly what I need for my business. I've been looking for your product forever. Why haven't we met before? Give me a call so we can do business. "

Which isn't so bad in itself. . .

Because lurking in the shadows are the energy-zappers. They love to go phishing at these functions. They usually hold a low-salaried day job—which is not quite affording them a luxury lifestyle. So they work these events attempting to sell you on their promises.

I got prospected with one deal that recruits others to promote a postcard mailing service. And then there was the embedded video e-mail that's the first to arrive in my area. (Give me a break. ) And how about recruiters attempting to recruit you to become—you guessed it—their recruiter.

Do you know what's even more hilarious? These flim-flam artists recruit one another into each other's program. They sign up underneath each other creating some sort of incestuous business village. And within a few months, they'll abandon that deal when they've finally found the Mother of All business opportunity.

Their goal is to enlist you beneath them by pressuring you with, “Success is timing. You've got to get in now. Before it's too late. "

Does any of this sound familiar?

What's unfortunate is that a lot of decent people get swooped into these deals. They get sucked into the latest opportunity vortex not knowing they could be harming themselves. There are certain warning signs that always appear.

Let's look at some of these red flags:

1) When there's a little too much excitement. Enthusiasm is a must for any opportunity, but when it gets overboard—be careful.

Let's say the opportunity recruiter tells you this elaborate story of how the founders are saving the world with their product. And how you can get in on the ground floor. And all the money you can make if you joined today. And how the founders are setting all sorts of income records in their industry. And all you have to do is get the Deluxe Executive Package to lock-in your position.

Well, the opportunity may be solid, but you may not want to join under this recruiter. Locking you in doesn't automatically pay you lots of money. Hard work does.

Invest the time to research the company, its funding, the products, the pay plan, the owners, and listen to a teleconference or attend a local meeting before making any decision. Please don't make a rash choice.

2) Getting sucker punched. One of these slimy vermin requested, “Let's do lunch. That way I can find out what you do and tell others about you. "

In the meantime he wanted to run a direct mail campaign (to every local real estate agent in the county) and wanted me to critique his letter. He didn't have the money (they always say that) to pay for the critique. So I didn't cooperate.

I conduct business on a value for value exchange. If I don't get my price, I don't do the deal. Never cheapen your services for anyone unless you are giving back for a good cause.

By the way, we did do lunch. I made a few brief comments about his letter. But he never tried to thank me. I seldom saw him afterwards. Good riddance.

3) The dizzy entrepreneur. You are held hostage by an opportunity presentation. She tells you how this supplement has cured her cancer, removed her wrinkles and made her into an Energizer Bunny in the bedroom. This is the Holy Grail of nutritional supplements. Then she hands you a sample.

But of course she has different calling in life. . .

And she can only do this business part-time. Besides she works the retail position at Sears for the medical benefits, volunteers for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, chauffeurs her kids, and her cuddly poodle always needs attention. But YOU can really take-off with this opportunity because of the unlimited income potential.

Oy vey!

Tommy Yan helps business owners and entrepreneurs make more money through direct response marketing. He publishes Tommy's Tease weekly e-zine to inspire people to succeed in business and personal growth. Get your free subscription today at .

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