Don't Waste Opportunities to Connect
Lost opportunity . . . Several years ago I was at a new restaurant with my friend and former boss from years ago, Rick Botthof, in a suburb of Chicago. The owner of the restaurant came around to introduce himself and see how our dinner was. He asked if we were from the area. Rick said he was; I said I was visiting on business from New York. He immediately shifted his attention to Rick, trying to find out about his business and whether he would refer colleagues to the restaurant. He ignored me and the possibility that I might be the visiting president of a large company who could refer my sizeable Chicago staff to his restaurant, or that I might be addressing more than 200 people from the area on networking and creating relationships the next day––which I was. Lost opportunity.
To add fuel to the fire, before he walked away, he gave Rick his card and said to him, and not to me, “Feel free to call me.” If he had been savvier and truly interested in business development, he would have taken both of our cards and then dropped each of us a note or email, saying, "Thank you for your visit, hope you enjoyed it and please come back." We would both have recommended his restaurant had he made this small gesture. Instead, I was very slow to even think about recommending the restaurant. In this case, no 'buzz' was created by either me or my friend, Rick. This may seem like a small thing, yet I looked at it as a wasted opportunity for new business.