When I first began to work for myself, I joined some well-known networking groups, the point being to meet other up-and-coming professionals or small business owners and help each other grow our businesses by getting to know them, what they do, and referring business to each other down the road. You were encouraged to not only attend group events, but meet with each other one-on-one to get to know each other and develop a professional relationship that would help increase your contacts.
What I found usually happened instead, was that a flurry of people would want to meet with me, and when I got there they put on the heavy pressure for ME to use their services. Sure, it would be a nice gesture to do business with some of these people as part of finding out what they do and how well they do it, but the truth of the matter was I had no money as I was just starting out. I didn't want to have to say, "I have no money." And they were pretty persistent about it without ever offering to try out what *I* was offering. Everyone wanted to build my website, design my logo, do my financial planning, etc. Or they'd try to get me involved in some MLM scheme.
One financial person I sat down with wanted me to take out critical illness insurance on my parents. He asked how my parents were (fine); and proceeded to tell me why I needed criticial illness insurance. I declined that time, as I have all my insurance needs taken care of elsewhere, but thereafter he would phone me at work every couple of months, pretend to be friendly and find out how I was doing, and then he'd say, "How's your mom?" I HATED that as he'd never met my mom and I knew the next question was going to be about insurance. At first I felt as though I had to talk to him as he was in my networking group, but later (after I left that group) I finally just started ignoring his calls.
Isn't the idea of networking trying to get to know people so that you have a network of like-minded people to refer to? Instead I felt like a sales target and just quit going to these things.
Wondering if the way these people treated it was a breach of etiquette, and whether you all think it was a little obnoxious of that one guy to always ask "How's your mom?" and pretending to be familiar when really the conversation always steered to getting insurance out on her after that.
Is this what most networking groups are like or does anyone get anything positive out of them?