Can We Talk…? Part III


Okay… so what about this habit of not screening incoming calls, which I wrote about here and here.

Remember, I learned this over twenty years ago from an incredible PR man who rose to the top of my favorite NFL franchise. I have not been disappointed.

Lest anyone thinks ‘total waste of time’, allow me to share a few benefits that have come our way simply by leaving my door open.

And BTW, I believe you will find that these things often work in mysterious ways… and almost always for the better.

For example, go back to the gentleman that I met with at the beginning of yesterday’s post.

Within minutes, I knew that I would consider working with him in the future… if his information and references checked out. So I asked him a sort of ‘cultural match” question to get a handle as to where he placed priorities on issues that I consider important.

He described a traumatic experience they had gone through with a couple of botched surgeries with their son.

“Whatever you do,” he said, “don’t ever go to Dr. SoAnSo if you need something like this done. It was horrible… we almost lost him.”

Now, wouldn’t you know it, a family member was about to have an identical operation performed the following Monday by…, you guessed it, the dreaded Dr. SoAnSo.

We cancelled the appointment, and further research not only revealed a pattern that we were grateful to avoid, but landed us in the office of a medical professional who would be the choice of others in the field if they ever needed this done.

Needless to say, we were blessed.


What had started as a business meeting had just impacted life. Whether or not we ever did business together was secondary to the personal benefit that was gained by having that conversation.

And it went both ways…, months later I received a note from him saying his experience with our company was the most positive call he had ever been on. And he wasn’t blowing smoke… he was now out there referring business to us. Very cool.

Yes…, over the years, simply taking a few moments to be real, and to speak with people who had called on me has really added value to my life. A few other examples for your consideration…

Not only have we met some extraordinary people…, people with whom we developed friendships and considered potential partnerships, but we also saved tens of thousands of dollars by being open to new policies, contracts, and business terms.

There’s been speaking engagements… and consulting opportunities. I’ve been offered involvement in a myriad of business and political activities, and been exposed to many people from other cultures.

Along the way, there’s been a great stock tip or two… and recommendations on books, movies, travel, and entertainment… oh yeah, and free and discounted tickets to sporting and other events.

It was a ‘chance’ meeting that paved the way to a successful sale of one of our businesses, a twenty month process that could not have gone smoother.

I’ve met with and encouraged people who were at a low point in their career… at the end of their rope… or about to throw in the towel on their marriage. We’ve been told that we have saved lives.

What started as any other anonymous call would end with becoming a trusted advisor to some…, and receiving that benefit from others.

Through various conversations, I had my passion to get my pilot’s license rekindled…, learned from knowledgable people in scores of fields…, and picked up advice on everything from insurance and finance and marketing and real estate… to where the fish were biting on any particular weekend.

There were parents who sent kids to me for guidance, students who interned, and a seat on the Executive Committee for a Detroit-based international charitable organization.

Yes…, we’ve been blessed.


Okay…, so there have also been ridiculous offers, outright scams, and more salespeople than I can remember. There have been bad stock tips from boiler rooms in New Jersey, and nineteen hundred and one network marketing deals.

But those are fairly easy to spot, and very short conversations. And remember…, as a small business owner, they’re playing on your turf so you are never at risk. You can decline any offer you choose.

Certainly, as I look back… and as I look forward… I am thankful for the advice that I received in 1986…

“Be willing to listen to people… it doesn’t mean you have to buy what they’re selling… but you never know where a conversation may lead.”

I look forward to speaking with you.



When dealing with other people, the most important benefits are often different than we originally expected.

You never know where the next great idea is going to come from, or where a conversation may lead.


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