Schmoozing and Losing

Freddie had been a charmer since day one. He loved schmoozing parents and teachers and could usually find a way to weasel out of chores or retake a bombed test. So when he learned networking was a key to finding a job, he figured he was set.

He’d always been a natural salesman, and figured sales would be a good first gig after graduation. Freddie knew a couple people in the sales world, but he wanted to cast a wider net, so he took to networking on LinkedIn. He typed in the name of his college plus the word “sales” and quickly unlocked a treasure trove of potential contacts.

“This is perfect”, Freddie thought. “If I can start meeting with alumni in the sales world, I’ll have a job in no time”.

After a couple hours of speedily clicking through various profiles, Freddie had built his short-list. At the top was an alum who led a sales division for Xbox. Our man couldn’t wait to reach out, so he sent a message to Mr. Xavier Boxx introducing himself, expressing his interest in sales, and asking if they could meet. To Freddie’s delight, he got a response and set a meeting for the following week.

When the meeting day arrived, Freddie was feeling confident. He was already an Xbox enthusiast and he really believed in his ability to win people over. The meeting got off to a good start and the two exchanged stories about Alma Mater. But then it took a nosedive:

“So Freddie, tell me what you know about the packing and shipping industry. There’s a lot of sales work involved at X Boxx – every business needs boxes, and we’re the ones who sell them!”

Gulp. Freddie didn’t know what to say. He had made a huge mistake. In his haste to secure a meeting, he hadn’t dug deeply enough into Xavier’s profile. If he had, he would have found Mr. Boxx had a long illustrious career in the shipping business, not video games.  Even for an expert schmoozer, this was a deep hole from which to emerge. He tried, but he could tell that Boxx was not impressed and had moved on.

Freddie reexamined his short list of contacts when he got home and made some necessary adjustments. And while he still can’t face his Xbox, he’s finally realized that in the working world, charm can only get you so far – there’s no retake for a bombed test.

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