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Networking 101 – Don’t Waste Referrals

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One of my absolute pet hates, in Networking, is the person that I take the time to give referrals to and who doesn’t do anything with them! I swear, it drives me absolutely crazy!

One of my colleagues, no actually she has become a friend over the years, does this to me and I often want to take her and shake her – hard!

Here’s the story:

I met (let’s call her Jane) about two years ago at a Networking event. She is one of those people who has great energy and attracts all manner and means of people to her. She gave me her card and I promised to contact her – two months later I was still trying to contact her. She never, never answers her cell phone and the same goes for the landline. How she gets and keeps clients is beyond me, but that is another story for another day.

I bumped into Jane at another Networking event and she gave me a hard time because ‘you promised to call and I haven’t heard from you’ – I suggested that it might be a good idea to check all her voice mail messages both on her cell phone and her land line. The next day she called me, apologizing profusely for not returning any of my calls – clearly she had not listened to her voice mail messages for some time.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, we got together at her establishment. Now I understand why she never answers the phone or returns messages. A meeting that would normally take an hour, took all of four hours. This woman runs all day, round and round and up and down and this way and that way and quite honestly she achieves very little of anything and a huge deal of nothing! She has boundless energy and my goodness, she sure does use it all – doing nothing but running around – but I digress.

I gave Jane probably about 15 to 20 referrals. People who could assist her in the running of her business. Suppliers that would be able to give her better rates than the ones that she was currently using. Investors that would love to get their teeth into just one of her various projects. Even people that she should Joint Venture or collaborate with, to get her product out there. Finally I gave her my very long list of Networking opportunities – all of which I make use of on a very regular basis.

Eagerly I waited to hear what was happening. Day after day went by and I did not hear a thing from anybody! No-one phoned me up to tell me that she had contacted them, she didn’t let me know if she had set meetings up with anyone. Nothing, not a peep from anyone!

Eventually on one of our get ‘togethers’ I asked her what, if anything was happening with all the referrals that I had given her. To give Jane her due though, she did manage to look quite sheepish when she told me that she hadn’t done anything.

Now that on its own is bad enough. Thing is though, when I refer someone I always copy them on the mail and then physically introduce the two to each other on an e-mail. This meant of course that there were 15 to 20 people who were waiting for Jane to contact them. Six weeks to two months had gone by since I had sent the mails (at great expense of time to myself I might add) and even if Jane contacted them at this late stage they would think her highly unreliable, due to her tardiness in getting back to them, and they would in all probability not really want to do any kind of business with her. Who could blame them – certainly not me.

From time to time Jane asks me to forward any invitations that I get to attend a Networking event and from time to time she asks me if I know of someone that does one thing or another. So now, now what – well one thing is for certain, Jane will not be getting any more referrals from me. When she asks the question nowadays, I just change the subject and move the conversation in another direction.