Using Your Contacts and Actually Asking for What You Want

The other day a beautifully dressed young man, attired in full business regalia, knocked on my door wishing to make his professional introductions as a newly minted financial advisor with a well known financial institution. He was inspired to try the good old fashioned, door-to-door approach of stirring the pot to secure new clients. Funnily enough, I’m already with his very organization, but with a different advisor. Still, there was something so sincere, so earnest and authentic about him/about his zeal and enthusiasm to “get out there and get at it”, that I couldn’t resist wanting to help him out. I gave him the following feedback:

What he did right?

  1. presented immaculately in quality professional dress
  2. positioned himself nicely with a genuine smile and articulate manner
  3. asked permission–actual permission–to proceed in conversation with me (rather than just blithering on from the start without giving me a moment to get a word in edgewise)
  4. wore his official identification from his organization, including his institution’s collateral print materials

What he did wrong?

  1. did not present his personal business card (just his organization’s)
  2. when departing, he did not offer his phone number or business address
  3. did not ask me if there was anyone I knew who might be interested in hearing from him, even if I was not

Now, the skeptics among you may think this an odd experience and perhaps even a scam–door-to-door financial advisor sales from a reputable institution??? Maybe it was, but I suspect not. More likely, he was just an inexperienced 20 something young man trying to do whatever it takes to getting his start, in professionally challenging times, in his chosen field of financial advising.

No matter what your age, and especially when it comes to asking for a leg up related to your career and professional advancement, remember to always ASK for the help you want. People are busy. Cut to the chase and actually ask for the “sale” (as fine sales people everywhere know!). Shamelessly and courageously working and networking your circle of influence and contacts is fine, and even expected, as long as you do so with grace and manners. Remember, the answer is always, “No!”, if you don’t ask. You’ve got to ask. Some people, indeed, are mind readers, extra generous, insightful, etc., and may very well, unprompted, offer you the help, the advice and the contacts you so ardently desire, but most are not. Most of those “others” probably would gladly help you if you asked, but won’t if you don’t. Most of the time it’s up to you to move yourself forward first…and then, with a little help from your friends you can travel the rest of the way.

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