When you meet someone new, how often do you have a clear expectation of what they can do for you? Particularly when you reach out to someone and ask for a meeting, advice, or assistance: do you have a clear picture in mind of what “yes” looks like? What is success?
I bring this up because I take many meetings with young entrepreneurs who ask for help, but after digging in, they don’t actually know what they need or what they’re asking.
Advice is cheap. Advice is readily available from every dude sitting at a bar or eavesdropping in Starbucks. Reaching out to an individual to ask advice is nice, but plain ol’ advice probably not real value that moves the needle for you.
In my case, if you come asking my advice, you should know that I don’t know your situation any better than you. My so-called advice for you will only be as good as my own experiences, which may or may not be relevant to your situation, and in most cases may have only a single common thread with where you are. I wouldn’t take advice from me, if I were you.
So here’s a tip: I only have one humble value-add for your trajectory. My network.
What does it look like when I offer this value to you? It looks like this:
“Mike meet Joe – you guys should get together.”
Of course there is more to my introduction than a one-liner. Usually I follow a double-opt-in process where I clear the introduction with both sides before actually making the connection.
The point is that too often we miss the value in an introduction. We may think that we are being pawned off or we are just running in circles going from one introduction to another.
The secret is to realize that each meeting is a new relationship. Each introduction is a win. Each introduction is an entirely new network of potential introductions. And if you believe that meaningful relationships are the most important thing for your success, then pay attention to the measurement for wins.