I'll keep looking though, because the consensus seems to be that it would be very important to respond to the person. Not in the way that I wrote in the first post. That was a little bit of self-indulgent venting. But in a way that is helpful, positive and encouraging. Otherwise, how will that person ever grow and become more successful if no one lets them know what they're doing isn't being well-received?
But what to say?!
I'm eagerly awaiting a column by my friend Tiffany Nielsen of Premier Etiquette that will be published in tomorrow's Business Street Online. But here's my first draft of my serious, respectful, and (hopefully) helpful reply:
Thank you for your message. I appreciate that you feel I could be very helpful to you in building your business. I'm also flattered that you believe I have influence with my contacts. I've worked long and hard to build relationships and develop trust with the people I know.That's it so far. What do you think?
I believe that a strong network is vital to business success and that good business people deal with each other in a straightforward and honest way. Therefore, I have to let you know that your approach, while sounding like good networking on the surface, didn't have the effect that you may have hoped for.
In networking, or even in plain old selling, there needs to be a benefit for both parties. I understand the benefit for you if we got together and I provided you with leads, but I have to ask where the benefit is for me? There is very little motivation on my part to make this appointment.
And I hope you understand that from my perspective, there is a great deal of risk on my part since I don't know you and aren't familiar with your product. It's nothing personal - how could it be since we've never met? - but I would be making recommendations to my friends based on one meeting designed to help you, without addressing any of my needs.
And how do I wrap it up? Have a meeting anyway? Invite them to a Chamber event? Find some way to learn more about them without a meeting?
All ideas and suggestions will be taken seriously.