Why is it that smart people sometimes forget to do smart things? I am always amazed at how stories from others match my experiences and confirm failures of people trying to make contact. Negotiations, networking, searching for jobs, seeking funding, and many other activities are common events. A person reaches out to another and desires to discuss obtaining something. In approaching others, why do some people not take time to learn about those they plan to approach? This is not smart! If you sending a resume to a person you never met, at least take the time to send a cover letter!
Just last week I received a call from someone I know well. The person had placed an advertisement in Linkedin in order to recruit a new employee into a business. More than 100 resumes were received with only 4 people taking the time to add a cover letter. When applying for a job, it makes a bad impression when you do not attempt to learn about the recipient of your resume or demonstrate knowledge of the business! Sending a cover letter gives a great way to summarize why you should be considered. Not attaching a letter is just not smart and gives a bad impression!
When attending an interview or networking visit, it is always a good practice to know something about the people you plan to meet. The knowledge helps you plan and carry on a better discussion. I network a lot and I get requests to help others. What kind of impression do you think it gives when asked how much do you know about me? As an example, I received a call from someone trying to raise capital for a company. The person had spent a year trying to help the company develop as an advisor. When he approached me via an introduction, the call seemed rather odd. He could not answer any questions about the technology, Intellectual Property, and he seemed to be unable to answer key questions about the technology. When I asked what he knew about me, he had not learned anything. I then took time to review my background. I really wanted to ask, “Why did you call me do I have sucker stamped on my head?”
The same thing happens with people wanting to raise capital. I get emails from unknown individuals describing they are seeking money and have nothing describing their technology. To top it off, they have spent no time in learning who I am or what I do. If I called you asking for money with that type of introductions, how inclined would you be to give me money; NOT LIKELY!
As an entrepreneur, you are smart and driven for success. I hope that you want to display a professionalism that will place you with a great first impression. This is critical with every contact you make. It is true whether you send an email, make a cold call, or seek funding from VCs. You really need to learn all you can about the people you approach and/or businesses. Take the time to do things the right way and be smart about all your interactions. Do not come across as someone that has no manners or no interest in others. It is a bad way to start a relationship.
In short: Do your homework and make smart approaches to everyone you desire to speak with or meet!
Taffy Williams is the author of: Think Agile: How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon