A couple of weeks ago I was having a great conversation with a young executive in the trucking industry and during the conversation he asked what is the number one piece of advice I could give him to help him be successful in the industry? Good question! I thought for a minute, then responded “be available”.
He looked at me kind of funny, “that’s it” he said, I needed to explain. First I asked him what does that mean to you? His response was not good, I knew he didn’t get it and I wasn’t expecting him too. Forget about young executives many seasoned executives don’t understand what being available means. Be available for me means be available when people reach out, become the go to person, be the “I know a person” person. I love being that person. I get calls all the time asking me if I know someone for something. Most of these calls come from industry colleagues who probably know I will be able to help them quickly and direct them properly. Yes, I guess you could google and many do but being able to reach out to someone and get a good endorsement about a type service or product from someone you respect and trust means so much. I like being that guy.
In order to do this you need to be available, not just for referrals or do you know someone when that call comes in, you need to be available for your customers, your industry, your colleagues all the time. I tell people all the time call me anytime, I tell people when I give them my card my cell number is on my card and call anytime. You may think how many calls do you get after hours and on the weekend?Very seldom do I get calls after hours or on the weekend, like I mean almost never. People as a rule will only reach out after hours or on the weekend if it’s an emergency.
Emails, now that’s a different story, I do have a rule that I try to stick by. When I get home from work I have a spot for my phone that is not within arms length, I try to leave it there. If the phone rings I walk to it. As far as emails go I will look at emails in the evenings, I should say glaze over my emails. If someone needs me and has reached out via email it’s not an emergency BUT I will email back quickly and say give me a call on Monday and here’s my cell number. I actually do that on purpose instead of emailing them a response to their question, that way I get to talk to them. You see I love the conversation much more then the email. It’s a connection far better then email and in most cases takes the same amount of time and means more.
At the end of the day “be available“, it is my #1 piece of advice.