The Infuriating Phenomenon of Piggybacking on Other People’s Networks

Robert Terson

We once had a discussion in the STA Sales Mastermind Group about those individuals who try to shortcut the networking process by trying to piggyback on other people’s networks. They don’t know you except by reputation (which you’ve worked hard to establish!) and they’re not interested in taking the time to get to know you, establish any semblance of a relationship with you; they simply send you an email, or an “intriguing” tweet, extolling the virtues of their product, service, blog post, webinar, you name it, and ask you to spread the word for them to everyone in your network, your sphere of influence. Or ask to guest post on your site to give them some exposure. Acts of chutzpah, if ever there was one.

Hey, look at me and what I’M doing. I don’t have the time to do what you’ve done, too much in a hurry to get what I want and deserve, so spread the word for me willya! Be a good Joe and let all those people you’ve taken the time to get to know, how wonderful I am, how wonderful my (whatever) is, willya!

Would you like to know what my colleagues and I do with these unsolicited requests? We delete them faster than a blinding sneeze.

As I’ve stated a number of times in previous posts, I began networking in June 2011. From the very beginning I took the responsibility to network in the way I thought it should be properly done, didn’t seek any shortcuts. I knew the focus of my attention should be on the other guy and what I could do for that person; it wasn’t about me or what I wanted to obtain for myself (although I, like you, have goals I want to achieve). I reached out to people, asked to talk to them, which led to incredible friendships, collaboration. It’s been a little over three years, and yet I’ve established literally hundreds of relationships, most of which that are win-win. I know I’ve made a difference for a lot of people and they for me, and I can’t begin to tell you how rewarding that’s been.

That’s how successful networking is accomplished—slow and methodical, with the emphasis on others, not on yourself and what you want. It’s called Paying it Forward, and it produces amazing results for all concerned. It doesn’t always come back to you directly, but it does come back to you. I can personally attest to that.

Selfishly forging ahead without any regard for the other guy, however, does not work. Oh, it may produce some short-term gain, but it’ll never get you to the Promised Land. It pisses people off, causes them to roll their eyes, frown in disgust.

So don’t do it!

I’ve worked hard to establish my reputation, and I’m not going to tarnish it by sending people material from someone I don’t know and am not connected to. If you can’t be bothered to go about networking in the right way, if you think you have a right to boldly piggyback on my hard-earned network of relationships, I’m not going to trust you or your (whatever). Get it?


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