Sometimes it DOES hurt to ask. When it’s only all about you. What? Yes… I just had a brilliant conversation about this realization with a colleague. A few examples…
—> Backstage at a women’s conference in Houston a few years ago, a young gal who was one of the panelists came up to me right after I exited the stage and barely introduced herself before within 30 seconds she was pushing me to become an investor in her new venture, which I didn’t even understand yet.
—> A speaker I used to know but hadn’t heard from in about 7 years recently reconnected with me via email by telling me how amazing his latest program was and that I should promote it to my list. (Never mind asking how I’m doing.)
—> A woman I’d just met in town (cold – not by referral), asked multiple times during our first lunch together to “somehow be a part of the day” at my next high-end workshop, whether it was “coming to lead a session, or joining us for the social time”. Of course she wanted to. My clients — this room of multimillion dollar women entrepreneurs, whom I’d carefully nurtured relationships with for years and had each invited personally — were her perfect target market. (My polite response was of course I’d love her to be a part of the day — she could kindly apply and pay for a seat like everyone else had. Or we could discuss a paid sponsorship agreement. Never heard from her again.)
—> An old colleague/friend wrote me what I thought was a personal email to help advise her with what she should do next in her career, but instead of inviting a conversation (which I would have been happy to — I had some great ideas for her), she bluntly directed me to a long online form to complete. (I ignored it.)
The fast pace of technology these days is exciting and our businesses are thriving on it. But it’s also putting people into a “NOW NOW NOW ME ME ME” swipe left or right TRANSACTIONAL mindset.
***Business has gone all Tinder — it’s like the guy who texts you at 2am with “U up?”***
So here’s a big tip: An insanely easy way to stand out these days is to move a little slower — in exchange for saying and doing the things that matter. It only takes 5 f-ing minutes. Write the thank you email or send a card. Ask an old friend how they are before you ask them a favor. Give your colleagues a huge thank you when they mail for you or give you a big referral. A great thing to say in general when you connect with others is, “How can I support you?” And instead of posting inspirational quotes all day on your social media accounts, go say thank you to someone, see how they’re doing, give them a great referral, or offer to support them in some way.
ASKING is important in business, and life. Always ask. But you’ll find you get a lot further, faster by being of value first.