At a recent networking event we were paired off via drawing lots to do 1:1 networking slots. The lady I was awarded turned out to not be suitable for me, nor I for her.
Now you can’t always expect to meet the most fantastic prospective customer every time you network, and in some cases exchanging pleasantries is enough before you can move on. But as I was ‘stuck’ with her in this case, I decided to make the best of the situation and see what I could learn from the experience (I never waste an opportunity).
From the beginning it was obvious she wasn’t interested at all in what I had to offer, and all she wanted to do was to plug her own enterprise. It wasn’t even her own business, or even a franchise, but something she represented. I listened patiently to the spiel, and gently asked some probing questions to see how she answered them.
The response was totally one-track, it was almost that she had flipped a switch and now a tape was running that could not be stopped. She wasn’t listening to anything I said, everything was directed towards me filling in a form so this company could send me a quote.
Well, we still had some time to go before this endurance test finished, so I asked her about her past history, and what her husband did. A tiny flicker of possible interest here was cruelly stamped on when she said her husband had been made redundant and now had signed up to a franchise to sell another impossible product, and whisked out of her bag all his leaflets and paraphernalia, complete with spiel, and the whole process started off again!
Attempts at pleasantries: children, family life, hobbies, etc were brushed aside. She had a goal to get a sign up and she was sticking to it, either for herself or her husband. Even when I tried, in vain, to explain a tiny bit about what I did, the result was a blank, vacant look before she gathered herself together for the next onslaught.
Great relief when the ‘all clear’ was announced and I could return to some sort of normality, and I moved on with a wry smile and a subject for my next blog post.