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NETWORKING VAMPIRES: How to Spot and Avoid Networking Blood Suckers

How I hate networking vampires. They suck the life out of the conversations, the blood out of a pleasant handshake and the life out of the sale they still think they have available with a complete stranger.

I’ll admit it. I have significantly decreased the amount of networking I do each month. And the explanation has catapulted me into a quiet session of reflection as to why that is.

To all that know me, I am a positive person who loves interactions and conversations. But I’ve seen something weird happen at the networking events I’ve been attending over the course of 12 months. I find myself meeting so many “scarcity minded” individuals. I call them the NETWORKING VAMPIRE BRIGADE. What I mean are those people that in the second you meet, and before you even notice the color of their eyes, they have palmed you a business card and started selling and asking you to set up a “second opinion” call or free consultation, or even started a one-way sales push on a product or service.


I got so frustrated the other day when this happened to me, that I pushed away the business card, asked them to tell me their name, stated “that’s fascinating” and walked away. Not like me at all. Bitchy to say the least.

I am one of those people that like to feed the inclusiveness mindset and draw people together but was so tired of this repeated pattern building at each event that I decided to pause and attempt to get CURIOUS as to why it is happening instead of hitting the Office Depot “that was easy” judgement button and chalk it up to people being jerks.

I came up with the following realization in my own mind. People seem to be more fear based than ever before. And I’ve been at this for 30+ years. Are you noticing the same thing?

Years ago, there was a book I read (I can’t pinpoint it so tell me if you know it when you read this interpretive story) all about Walt Disney World and how they help their employees stay engaged and positive with their guests. I’ve never forgot the story of the Street Sweeper. Here’s how I remember it:

Street Sweeper to Supervisor: “I can’t believe how stupid people are as they keep asking me: ‘what time does the 3:00 parade start?’ Seriously, what are they thinking?”

Supervisor: “We hear that all the time. In fact, I have a game for you. (he takes a counting device- a little clicker that counts things, and gives it to the young Street Sweeper). I want you to keep track of how many people ask you that question throughout the day today and the rest of the week. Count as many as you can and at the end of the week- tell me the total number you get.”

The street sweeper was perplexed but followed the directions of his Supervisor. By the time the 3:00 parade had arrived on the first day- the cast member looked at his “clicker” for a count of 110. By the end of the week, the total number of clicks had reached 3,600!


Supervisor: “You made it to Friday doing this. What have you learned if anything?”

Street Sweeper: “What started out as a frustrating situation turned into a game of how many people I could find to ask me that same question. I found myself having fun with it instead of judging them on a question asked. I know I smiled more and connected with more people because I wanted the numbers to increase each day.  It’s all about the connections we make and the opportunities we have every day to be of service to others. Stay curious. Be kind. Stay playful.”

Now this story can be interpreted in a couple of ways and it depends on the mindset of the individual. For instance: a pushy salesperson could say that it demonstrates we have to keep asking everyone we meet for the sale without letting it affect us. Keep asking until you find someone that says “yes.” On the other hand, it can mean to a relationship driven individual, that you have an opportunity every day to listen and learn and connect with others. Finding people to connect with gives you more opportunities for collaboration and results.


No matter what you believe, it’s not up to me to judge. What I control is whom I wish to hear it from and keep interacting with. I saw this quote the other day and had to share:






RELATED: Social Media is all about playing nice in the sandbox

Many of you have heard of the Scarcity Mode versus Abundance mode—conversations. If not, here’s my interpretation:

Abundance Mode means to me that you operate with a mindset that we’re all in this together and collaboration and relationships are of key importance for everyone’s success. Here’s how that looks to me:
• I know exactly who my target audience is
• I know I can’t be all things to all people so I will be everything to the people that need me and my insights, products, and services
• I believe there are riches in niches
• Love collaboration and ideas sharing
• Not afraid people are out to steal my ideas
• I know there is competition but there is enough business to go around
• Integrity based selling is critical— I don’t push a sale but nurture a relationship so they have the chance of building a tribe and loyal customers
• When I talk to someone, I am truly present and listen to what they are saying. I am not simply waiting to talk when they stop.
• I have NO hidden agenda- either personal or business related
• I am interested in feedback from others and my customers

Scarcity (VAMPIRE) Mode is easier for many to see. As for me, it manifests in a few ways:
• I don’t want to share my new idea with you until you sign an NDA
• I have to make as much money on each customer now because they may not be back
• Everyone seems to steal customers from me
• I need to keep pushing a sales message because the money is not coming in fast enough
• Hidden agenda? What do you mean? I offer my product to everyone because if you don’t tell everyone, you may miss a sale

• If I don’t keep selling I can’t pay the bills
• Target audience is defined as: “someone” or “anyone”
• So sorry if you don’t like my opinions



Moral of the story from me: I will continue to attend networking groups as it’s a way to connect and expand my relationships as well as connect, frankly, as we humans are designed to do. It’s about being of service, looking for ways to help each other (even if there is no sale from your end), and leaving with at least 3 people I got to know better so we can talk further and see what develops.

I always have a goal in the networking events attended. I wish to meet (3) people representing certain industries in town. And my agenda is not to BOOK a sale but BUILD the connection. And I will not feel guilty kindly and quickly exiting a conversation with an individual that is on their own mission without caring about the connection opportunity they were presented. Yes, a little judgment coming through, I know. But all we have is time and I wish to spend it wisely with others looking to create greatness and tolerance.


And your thoughts on the subject matter?

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