In almost every class I’ve ever taught in the relationship-building space, there is a question that comes up more than any other when I talk about reaching out to people at higher levels for things like mentorship, advice, etc.
What If I have nothing to offer that person because I’m just a ______________?
Before I get into the weeds with this, let me first say that everyone deals with this on some level. We all have people who we see as doing such great things we imagine anything we could suggest or offer them would pale in comparison to what they already have.
But here’s the thing.
We are AWFUL judges of what other people value.
Sure there may be moments when we get it right, but most of the time we’re just making assumptions about what matters to someone we’d like to connect with which leads to a default of feeling like we have nothing to offer.
And if you’re sitting there nodding your head as you read this, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
Here it is:
The only way to understand what you have to offer is to make an offer.
It seems simple right?
There’s this concept in the startup world called customer validation and it works like this. If I tell you about a product I am building and you tell me that it sounds interesting, I haven’t nailed the product yet.
If I tell you about it and you take out your credit card and ask if you can buy it now, THEN I have the product.
The same goes for your interactions with people at higher levels than you. If you offer them something and they ignore it or don’t express an interest, it doesn’t matter how important or valuable YOU think that thing is, it only matters if THEY agree with you.
We never know what people are going to value until we show them what we have.
And showing them takes courage because there will be trial and error involved, but
Once you land on what matters to someone, you become someone who really matters to them.
So stop worrying about what you have to offer because you don’t have the answer.
Your market does.
So get out there and start learning from them.