Networking Faux Pas Series: Premature Solicitation

In this second installment of the Networking Faux Pas Series, I talk about Premature Solicitation (a term you certainly don’t want to attempt to say three times fast as it very well may get you into a little bit of trouble . . .)–a classic example of how NOT to network.

I share a personal story of an occurrence where somebody tried to prematurely solicit me and I explain how I handled it–suffice it to say, that “somebody” will not get a second chance to make a first good impression.

As I mention at the end of the video, I highly encourage you to share your stories about premature solicitation and other networking faux pas in the comment forum below–I know I for one would love to hear about your experiences (what can I say . . . I always love a good story!) and I’m sure the rest of the community would love to as well.  Thanks!

6 thoughts on “Networking Faux Pas Series: Premature Solicitation

  1. I love your response to him. That is a perfect pattern interupt.

    Unfortunately too many people have the me first or ‘whats in it for me’ attitude. This is why I love the idea of the educational coordinator in BNI (I am the EC in my group by the way).

    Members of BNI continually learn how to be a great networker. You can bet I will use this as my next Ed Moment.

  2. I belong to the BNI Masters Chapter in South Africa. The very first 1:2:1 I did I was told “I want referrals from ALL of your last 10 clients”. The same person tried to set up a power group and when I mentioned I had put together a Media Kit for our digital publishing house, he immediately said “I hope you remembered to add me in it”…I was speechless.His ‘logical’ thinking was that I should be including the profiles of the members of my power group in my company Media Kit, more specifically him. I still don’t get it! We recently had a new member join and she also singled various companies on my Gains profile and sent me an email saying “I’ll be expecting refererrals for these companies at our next meeting.” I ignored her and when she didn’t get the referrals she got quite upset and is now ignoring me!

  3. Since I work with my clients virtually, I like connecting with other business owners online to add to the list of great resources I can share with clients. Sometimes they also provide referrals to me. Great referrals don’t always come directly back from the same person you referred – but they do come.

    During a recent online networking event, an individual reached out to me offering to help connect me to health & wellness professionals and personal organizers. I agreed to schedule a virtual 1-2-1. In less than 2 minutes they jumped straight from “Hello my name is and I work with…” into “Hey, we should really exchange email list!”

    I pushed back a bit by asking, 1a) who are your favorite clients and 1b) how do you distinguish your services from others in your industry. This person was so put off by these questions, they abruptly ended the conversation.

    Successful networking is a distance race not a sprint.

    Proud Member of the Cameron Breakfast Chapter of Come join us for breakfast this Tuesday!

  4. I belong to the Northwest Chapter in Tucson, AZ. Many people forget that when you refer someone, the resulting interaction reflects on both the person referred as well as the person who made the referral.

    When I joined my chapter as a Computer Consultant, I told people in 1-2-1’s that I didn’t expect them to use my services just because I joined their chapter, but I hoped that as time went on and they learned more about me and heard from people who HAD used my services, that they would give me a change and referrals.

    I guess we can add Premature Expectations to the list as well! 🙂

  5. It happened to me this morning. Here’s a copy of an email (identies redacted) I received today. My response will follow below:

    Hey Tim,

    I’m attending the cruise tomorrow night and looking forward to it! A BNI member invited me and this will be my first event with the group : )

    (NOTE FROM TIM: My first through was “What cruise is this person talking about? Are we going to the Bahamas and someone didn’t tell me?” With some reasarch, I learned that a different, nearby BNI region is having a harbor cruise for their members).

    I gave you a call just now but realize email is better for you – my direct line is XXX-XXX-XXXX if you get a chance to call me back. I’m hoping you could connect me to the BNI corporate office? As you know, BNI is a global company and translated into several languages but I found after taking a peek just now, that they need some help optimizing those sites and their international marketing campaigns. That’s exactly what my company does so a quick call with someone in their marketing department would be a perfect place to start.

    Do you have any recommendations on how I would go about contacting someone in the marketing department for BNI International?

    Thanks Tim!


    Thank you for your email. However, I have no idea who you are, who your company is let alone the quality of their work.

    I understand you’re not a member of BNI, but understand that BNI is based on referrals that are given once relastionships are built. (Also you’re attending a cruise that is being put on by another region, not mine).

    Asking me to introduce you to someone at BNI HQ who you can try to sell your services to not only causes me to put my personal and professional reputation on the line, (something I’ve worked for over 2 decades building), but also is equal to a cold call — something that BNI is NOT about,

    May I suggest that you watch the following from our founder to understand why I cannot, in good faith, provide you with the introduction you seek (and I sent the link to this very video).

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