HandoutLast weekend I had the distinct pleasure of meeting face to face with many of my colleagues during the NAMS conference. People who make a living (and a very good one at that) from the power of the Internet; Willie Crawford, Mark Hendricks, Jeff Herring, Lynn Terry, David Perdew, Joe Marsh and more.

At one point a few of us had a lively discussion about people who contact us to do business with them. This is not at all uncommon for any of us. We look for new opportunities. However we are often approached by people who are proposing something that is not a good match for what we do.

Often the caller, Twitterer or Facebook Friend starts out by telling us what a great opportunity they have for us, but have no budget to contract us and want us to give our time for free. They are convinced we should partner with them for “future gain.”

Not that I am opposed to both future gain nor donating my time when appropriate (such as for the horse rescue organization my company is contributing time and money), but often people who approach experts with the next great idea have not done their homework. They may not have a solid enough idea nor have they put a lot of thought into the entire scope of the experts involvement.
When we decline any of the countless “opportunities” most rational people will thank us for our time and let it go at that.

However, every so often we get someone who gets upset and even antagonistic when we decline. I can assure you, becoming antagonistic is hardly the way to win someone over.

The point of this blog posting is to bring a level of awareness to those people who approach others with your opportunities. Before you approach someone, stop for a minute and think about how often some of the really well known folks are likely to be approached with great ideas. It is probably every day and often, several times a day.

Many times you can’t even reach the expert because they have found it necessary to have a gatekeeper who handles such requests.
This may seem arrogant, but the fact is…if someone is spending any portion of their day trying to siphon through the multiple requests that come their way, most of which are not a good fit, much of the day is wasted.

Here are some simple recommendations that will get you further. Research those you are approaching. Find out how they like ideas presented (email, form on their website, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Realize that time is money. Not that they are only interested in money, but facts are facts. One of the main reasons we have a business is to generate revenues. When we don’t stay focused it does cost in time, money and/or energy.

I’m not saying not to approach someone with your ideas and opportunities. What I am saying is if they decline your offer you either need more information, you mismatched the offer to the person or the expert is not taking on any new projects at this time.

What it boils down to is common sense, market match and respect. Yours and theirs.