What Can I Do For You?
How Can I Help You?
Always Be Prepared to Answer
In business exchanges, missed opportunities don’t come back often. One missed opportunity can have a butterfly-effect that is unbeknownst to you, could this have generated a sale? Perhaps secured a new prospect or client?
In business, there is a common phrase that “it’s not about what you know; it’s who you know”. It’s true. The people that you encounter during your professional years will have a substantial impact on your future, and you need to be ready to capitalize on opportunities as they present themselves.
I Wasn’t Always Ready…
As prepared for the question as I am today, it wasn’t always that way.
Of course, there’s a story behind this. While I was establishing a software subsidiary in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in the mid 1990s I attended a meet and greet event with government officials and technology companies. I was in conversation with a government minister and after exchanging a couple of pleasantries, he popped the question, “So what can I do for you?”.
I was totally unprepared for that question, I was completely blindsided and hadn’t planned ahead. As a result, I was tongue-tied and blew the opportunity completely.
However, it was an eye-opening experience. In this world, the difference between success and failure can come down to the smallest of details. Who presented a new opportunity for you? Who was the person that gave you a tip on a potential client, a job opening or a potential revenue opportunity? Who will be there beside you, offering you advice, expertise or to simply lend an ear? It just goes to show, who you know is as important, if not more important, that what you know.
If you take anything from this snippet of advice, it’s that you should always anticipate, be prepared and proactive in any situation like this. Be open to meeting new people, encourage yourself to connect, and always, always be prepared if they’re ready to help.