It Never Hurts to Ask . . . Right?

How many times have we heard people say that it never hurts to ask? Surely more times than we can count. 

Well, in this video, I explain why it definitely hurts to ask sometimes–especially if you ask to soon!  I share a personal story of a recent time when a stranger contacted me via LinkedIn wanting to connect and accompanied the connection request with a note asking me something which I found inappropriate to the point that I decided right then that I was never even going to consider connecting with her.

Watch the video to hear the story and to find out why I flagged the woman’s LinkedIn request as problematic on three significant levels.  Let me just say that this is ‘Networking 101’ and if I were her teacher, she would have gotten a failing grade–this is not the way to network!  Whether you frequently participate in face-to-face networking, online networking, or both, you’ll definitely want to hear this story so you never make the three mistakes that this woman did.

I’d really love to hear your feedback on this.  What are your thoughts?  Also, please share any similar horror stories you may have in the comment forum below–I’m looking forward to hearing from you.  Thanks!

13 thoughts on “It Never Hurts to Ask . . . Right?

  1. Greetings Dr. Misner,

    Oh boy I can totally relate. Interestingly, this kind of experience happens more so on LinkedIn than any other platform. Ironically, this platform is specifically for business networking. My method is always as you shared in this video — always seek ways to provide value to the people in your network.

    Many thanks for your leadership and mentorship.

  2. WOW… Seriously????!!!??

    So I just re-opened my LinkedIn account because I got tired of being endorsed by people who barely knew me and for skills they’ve never seen me exhibit for themselves. This guy out of nowhere wants to connect – he’s in my industry and may make a good vendor so I agree.

    First thing he does is endorse me for networking, then he tries to meet with me so I will buy his stuff. I promptly called him out on it and his response was pretty much, “oh, I thought that’s what you’re supposed to do here.”

  3. Fabulous rant! I took a call from a “sales training” provider who, when I invited them to our chapter, asked me if I would circulate his fliers for me as he couldn’t see the value in attending.

  4. This video made me giggle! I have been a part of BNI for over 9 years in Baton Rouge. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. You are the business networking master and a guiding light in the industry. When I get solicited, I tell the person to meet me at my BNI meeting and after the meeting I will meet with them.

  5. Great story and a perfect example of what not to do. A lot of sales people cant see past making a quick buck so their ‘networking’ approach is usually exactly like that. It might take you longer to build a relationship but its worth the investment.

  6. I have a client who is well into retirement age and the reason she became my client is because the IT person she used to do business with all of a sudden stopped taking her calls. She was in desperate need of help and since it was clear her IT guy wasn’t going to call her back she reached out and found me. We hit it off great. It was about a year after her falling out with her old IT guy that he finally reached out to her out of the blue one day and called her to let her know he was no longer in the IT business and was now working for a funeral home. He wanted to know if she was interested in buying a burial plot from him. She said she was completely shocked and insulted to the point that it was almost comical to her that he had the nerve to try to sell her anything at all but a funeral plot…really? It just added insult to injury. She couldn’t wait to get off the phone and call me and share this story. Luckily she had a really good sense of humor about the whole thing and we both laughed for a good 10 minutes about the whole situation. In short, yes I can relate to “It never hurts to ask” topic. By the way, I joined BNI in April of this year and it has been the smartest business decision I have ever made. Thanks for providing a easy to follow guide on how to grow a business.

  7. The lack of homework is the funniest aspect of this story. The solicitation was clearly premature. But to ask YOU about deploying those kinds of tools in your company? Thanks for sharing a great laugh.

  8. Must say this really did match a few LinkedIn connections I’ve had in the last month.

    Very appropriate. They really needed to just review your profile quickly. Almost seems like a cold call connection process.

  9. Hi Ivan. I enjoy the twinkle in your eye when you tell this. That’s more than I can muster sometimes. This very thing happened to me—on LinkedIn—last week: The sincere request to connect, followed by a pitch that actually overlapped with my own business. Why would I need that? The homework issue, again.

    I also just heard a complaint from a friend who had received a cold call from an associate of mine— a FORMER BNI member, (and the “former” is pretty understandable)—who thinks he knows a tremendous amount about network marketing. He called my friend to pitch an MLM opportunity with no relationship and no knowledge of her financial situation. She was offended.
    No surprise, when Dawn Lyons visited our chapter, and even though he had been warned not to pitch her, he did that very thing within sixty seconds of meeting her. Needless to say, he did NOT make a sale.

    So thanks for the reminder about “asking” and having the grace to keep it light. I appreciate it and you.

  10. Hi Ivan,

    I’m writing this response some time after you originally posted this blog. This happens to me once or twice a week. The problem with it I have is not so much the pitching in itself. No, it’s more to do with the fact the pitchers don’t weave a story or give us some background to what they do and why they do it.

    I guess this goes back to the relationship building process we both believe is so fundamentally important.

    I’m interested in hearing what the lady is doing now, some 6 years after the event.

    Best regards,


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