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It’s Not My Job To Do Your Job!

by David Brock on March 18th, 2022

I get dozens of requests a day. Most are people wanting me to do something for them. They may want to sell me something. They often want my help in providing introductions or referrals. Where it makes sense, I’m glad to help. But most of the time, I really struggle. I ask, “What are you truing to accomplish? Why do you think I even have a need for this? Why do you think these people would be interested in a conversation?”

A couple examples, just from this morning. I sit on a couple of boards, apparently people see that on my profile. I got one request from a sales person with a logistics management company (They ship heavy freight). This sales person wanted an introduction to the appropriate people on one of the companies. It’s a SaaS software company. The majority of their “freight” needs are handled with a first class stamp, every once in a while a Fedex letter pak. I asked the sales person, “What is it about this company that makes you think they need logistics management services?” I haven’t heard from him yet.

Another, had an interesting software tool. He also wanted an introduction to the right people at another company I’m involved with. “Why do you think they have a need for your software?” He replied, “Here are the functions and features of our software…..?” I replied, “I know that, but what should I be saying when I suggest they talk to you? Why might they be interested in a conversation?” The sales person was getting a little frustrated with me, “Don’t you understand our software? Can’t you tell them it’s important for them to be considering this?”

And then there are the people that want to sell me something. “This is what our products/solutions do….” But when I ask, “Why do you think we need this? What is it that makes you believe this is interesting to us?” Usually, they reply adding more features and functions. Sometimes they say, “Microsoft and Google are big customers….” I reply, “But we’re not Microsoft or Google, why do we need this?”

Sadly, the majority of these outreaches make it my responsibility to figure out how we might use or get some benefit from what the person is selling. Too often, they describe what their product is, what it does, but they can’t tell me why they think we need it.

They may ask me a few “discovery questions,” but usually they don’t discover much. For example, “Do you need to do some sort of outbound prospecting to find new customers?” “Well…….Yes……..” I reply. I figure “Duugghh” would be impolite. Now that they have discovered that we do outbound prospecting, they launch into a description of their product and how many customers use it for outbound prospecting.

When I respond, “But why do you think we need it?” The response is, “You do outbound prospecting so you will get benefit from our product….” They’ve never asked about how we do it, who we target, the challenges we face, what we’d like to change, or even what it might mean to us. I suspect they think I should ask those questions, so I can figure out whether it might help.

That’s not my job! My job is very different, so it’s not my job to figure this out. It’s not my job to do your job! I’m already incredibly busy, I’m not willing to take on your work as well!

It’s so simple. I’m glad to talk to people who have done their homework. I’m glad to talk to people that have some insight into the issues our company is facing, or the companies/people they want me to connect them to. But make it simple and obvious to me. Help me understand why it’s important, why I should pay attention or care. I don’t have the time to figure it out myself. And if I already have figure it out, I’ve probably solved that problem already.

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