In 2005, my life changed drastically and I had to make a few adjustments. My daughter needed me and I needed to not have distractions. So, I scaled back my typical five day networking week to maybe a few events a month, if any at all. Summer '08 was my start to make up for the business that I may have missed. I was planning my comeback in sales. A million dollars in new business in a down market was a serious goal but I was determined to make it happen. With the cost of gas skyrocketing, I did something that I often do not do, I tried networking in my area of town.
I got invited to a few breakfast groups and decided to try my hand with one in particular. Right away I picked up a few vibes but dismissed it as a fish being taught to swim again. (Can a fish forget to swim?) Normally with these type of groups, you visit twice and cough up a nice chunk of change for membership dues and pray that the referrals come in before you start to question why you are getting up at 5:00 am to make a meeting for an hour and a half every week. Besides, I was not driving to Franklin or Brentwood, I was focusing on staying close to my home. With my Ford 250 costing me $150 every few days, this was a no brainer I thought.
That decision lead to one of the worst encounters in my networking history. Two networkers from hell interviewed me after I applied to joined. I was told point blank that they did not like me because I was successful. What kind of honesty is that? I thought they were joking at first but realized after ten minutes of badgering me with fixed smiles on their faces,they were extremely serious. I sat there seething as I tried to remained composed. I left feeling humiliated and mad as hell.
After six weeks of game playing and a few snide remarks from Tammy (real name), I was told I was not a fit. The QUEEN of networking was not a fit for a group of people that was begging for visitors and had members dropping like flies. Ouch, that hurt.
Two weeks later, ego bruised and discouraged, I gave myself a nudge and said get back out there. With the summer practically gone, I wondered was it worth it. But I tell you, things really do happen for a reason.
I made a few calls and interviewed a few people that knew me well. Each call was refreshing and I knew I was on the right track. I walked into several meetings and knew right away I was home. Not because it was full of millionaires and ambitious folks who love the thrill of hunting for new business, but because the hearts of the women and men were genuine and pure. Business owners who loved people more than money. Had I stayed in my area or was accepted in that club, I would have saved gas but I would have been miserable and unproductive. I went back to my old stumping ground of Franklin, Bellevue, and Brentwood. I drive forty five minutes one way and have found myself surrounded by the most loving group of people that I have meet in quite sometime.
Tammy and company were truly networkers from hell but they were just what I needed. Because of their rejection, I kept looking. After a bad situation, how often do we say enough and stop. That interview was nothing short of water boarding but I did not let it jade me and I continued to look. I think I found networker's heaven. I believe I am going make enough money to pay for my gas and pay for the second kid college!! I will share with you in another post about a few of the wonderful people I have met in the last few weeks.
If you meet a networker from hell, keep moving, you are about to run into a gold mine!