WOW! I just had the MOST amazing thing happen to me. Seriously – I still can’t believe it.
I’ve gone to a new networking group once (this was my 2nd time) that “styled itself as” a BNI group (without being part of BNI) – but only for individuals with High Net Worth Clients. Fine, that fits me – and I was recommended by a woman I very much respect. Last time I was at the group, I met some really great people, and thought that I could be helpful to them – whether on the SendOutCards side (offering a marketing/relationship management tool) or on the law side (helping with intellectual properties issues, including trademark – or copyright infringement), or the like.
My car died – and so I had to go to some trouble to get to the group this month. My “James” dropped me off, then I was to walk home (replace nice Manolo’s with bright blue and white tennies, hoof it back). Actually it was nice walking home – except, I was steamed and missed most of the nice, Spring day.
What happened? I got to the restaurant, and saw some of the folks I had spoken with before – definitely a nice group/good size. Then the guy who had formed the group with the gal who had invited me came in the room, and “beckoned” for me to “join him outside.”
This guy has a Financial Management company (gee, fancy static web page last updated in 2008…) Last time, he had come up to me when I was talking with 2 other women, and had asked something about basically how “everyone was doing with their portfolio” or some such (I didn’t know he was a financial guy), and I told him and the two women that my husband and I were truly blessed, as we have a person managing our money, and he saved us from losing anything during the stock market downturn. Then I made it very clear to the women (by this time he’d made it clear that’s what “he did”), that in my opinion it’s incredibly important for everyone to have “experts” on their side. I didn’t even mention my guy’s name – and made it clear that my opinion is that people shouldn’t manage their own money, they should leave it to professionals and (to him) hope your clients love you as well as we love our guy, we couldn’t do it without him.
SO. This guy took me “outside” (into the waiters’ prep area no less) and said that this was “his group,” and as this was a “network referral group” and as I “already had a financial manager,” that he wasn’t inclined to let me join (even though there was no one in my “profession” in the group – they only have one of each profession, like BNI). That the “idea of the group” was to “only refer within” and “as it was his group” I obviously wouldn’t be referring things to him (so, I guess, I had to go). I just shook my head and laughed. I said that I wouldn’t recommend ANYONE that I didn’t think was THE best, and that I wouldn’t recommend anyone in a group unless that person was indeed the best one I knew – whether or not I was in a “networking group” with them or not. However, if he had the same sort of track record that my guy did, I’m sure that there were certain of my friends and clients that might work better with him than, perhaps, with my guy. But he’d need to prove that to me for me to refer him. He reiterated that this was “his group” and so, basically,….what? Leave now? Don’t come back? He left that up in the air.
I REALLY like the gal he founded the group with – she seems like a straight shooter, and so I’m shocked to get the “step into the waiter’s area” stiff-arm from this guy. What-ev-er. I guess that I won’t go back…makes me sad, because there are a LOT of folks in that group that I believe I could help and refer people to. I didn’t leave though – I went back in and had lunch, and waited for the “networking rounds.”
The funniest part is that when it came time for us to do our “one minute advertisement” on ourselves, I didn’t really talk about myself. I talked about the fact that ABC-TV had this new high def show coming out nationwide, what the show premise was, and that if anyone was interested, I could perhaps introduce them to the producer, etc. etc. I didn’t really say what I did – because the point is, that I’d rather anyone who wants a “go” at the new show get me their info immediately, so I can evaluate it and get it to the producer, to help them, and to help the new show out. Would that be…perhaps…giving for the sake of giving…?
I guess I won’t go back. I will definitely write to the gal who invited me, and tell her why. I will also write the folks that I would like to continue networking with from the group why I won’t be back. I think it’s fair to let them know, versus them thinking that I’m just bailing. I’m sure that ~he~ wouldn’t tell anyone “what happened.”
What are your views on this? I’d be very curious to know. It only meets once a month – so I have time to hear any and all comments and thoughts.