Jason Freedman proposes an approach for people who are looking for job referrals:
Whenever you talk to someone about job search stuff/career advisory stuff, give them a very specific interest. For instance, tell me that you're interested in joining a seed-stage team focused on mobile payments. Or a post-Series A startup doing social discounts. Or a high-growth startup in advertising optimization. Whatever! Just make it very specific.
This is spot-on for job referrals, no doubt, but perhaps Jason is applying his own trick there in being so specific to that field.
Whenever asking someone for help, or for a sale, or for almost anything, being specific about what you want is almost always a great thing.
For example, when doing business development, you can approach it two ways:
- Approach lots of interesting people, have meetings/coffees/discussions with them, and let a cooperation emerge.
- Figure out what kind of business deal you want, draw up a list of people who might be able to help, then approach them with this plan in mind and let the goal drive the discussion.
Method 1 will certainly yield you more meetings - but guess which method will get you more deals?
Be specific: know what you want, and ask for it clearly.
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