Strangers in Friends’ Clothing

I met Chad at a friend’s party, and over the following three years, I saw him at many networking events and get-togethers. He dressed nice and was always friendly and appropriate, and would often want to get pictures with me (added to the feeling of being my buddy).

I automatically considered him a friend after a while. “Oh yeah, I know Chad. He’s a great guy,” would be my response to anyone who asked. He invited me to go to one of his MLM meetings, and accepted my refusal with grace.

Life got busy, and I saw him occasionally, and found he was part of a group on LinkedIn that I would like to be involved with, so I asked if he wanted to have coffee and see how we could refer each other, since we seemed to cross the same business circles all the time.

He asked me to come to one of his MLM meetings instead. I went, and he told me if I could join his MLM company, he would hire me to speak to Employer Groups (because he didn’t like speaking to groups), and I would be paid in split commission.  I could also get a kickback for anyone I referred.

I trusted Chad, so I signed up right away, with the understanding that I have no interest in this business, but I LOVE speaking and would be pleased to help him out.

Suddenly my “friend” went into AGGRESSIVE MANAGER MODE sending me onboarding info, inviting me to meetings (which costed money to attend), and encouraging me to gather info so I could be a good referral partner.  The expense went up and up, and no money came in for my referrals.  No speaking opportunities came in either.  I felt duped.  When I told Chad this, he disappeared from my life.

I still hear from him now and then, asking if I know anyone who “wants to make good easy money” but he otherwise has not said so much as a hello.

THE LESSONS:

1.  Showing up builds rapport and trust. I trusted Chad because he was around and appeared to be connected. I gave him the benefit of the doubt because I thought he was a “good guy” based on the years of seeing him smile at me and others in my circle.

2.  Word gets around: Chad was a “good guy” who stretched the truth and made empty promises to increase his business. He burned quite a few bridges here, and then Chad moved on when the general opinion of him went from “oh Chad, he’s a good guy,” to “Oh Chad, what did he promise you?”

3.  If you think of someone as a friend, and you want to help them out or join them somehow, think about what you really know about them. I knew nothing about Chad’s personal life. We never saw each other’s homes or families. We only had shared time and connections together. Chad was not a friend of mine, he was a business man succeeding in Network Marketing.

Be safe. Be Strong. Be EMPOWERED!Stranger in Friend Clothes