At this stage of the game, all of us are old and wise enough to know when we’re being used.
Smart enough to see through the shenanigans.
The event triggering this post happened last Wednesday.
I’m at my desk sorting through Motions and medical records when the following email popped up on my Outlook. Easily distracted, I clicked the little bubble on the bottom right corner of my screen.
Below are the contents of the email with my commentary in parenthesis.
I came across your name on LinkedIn and wanted to say hello. (Stalker!) I found you because I like to meet like-minded folks (oh, so you’re a psychopath too?) in the Tampa area and, in all honesty (as opposed to dishonesty?), form new relationships or connections (that’s not very honest, you want me to help you in some way). We are both in lines of work where we may be able to help each other, or act as a local resource for one another (alrighty, dude, what do you want from me?). Let me know if you’re up for meeting for a quick coffee one day (there’s no such thing as a “quick coffee”.) At the very worst, I’ll cover your coffee (gee, thanks… because my time isn’t worth more than $3) and won’t take up too much time- but hopefully, we’ll get to chat and get familiarized with each other and the work that we do for clients.
Hope you are well!
Aaron (That’s a lie, but his real name rhymes with Derrick.)
The signature line below was a lot more revealing.
Just as I suspected, Aaron is a financial planner. He wants me to invest with him.
“You wanna invest? I got some nice, shiny quarters for ya!”
Aaron, just be completely up front about your motives from the beginning.
I hate emails like these.
I used to receive about five a week when I first started practicing law. Financial planners who wanted me to invest with them right out of the gate, without major expenses and with lots of money to invest. (Or so they thought.)
If I tallied up all of the emails I’ve received like this, there would be hundreds. No joke.
I’m sure any type of professional routinely receives emails of this nature.
My husband has his own structural engineering firm (plug… how’s that for being transparent?), and I know he’s constantly getting approached to join strangers for “beers,” “coffee,” and “lunch.”
It’s only through my experience that I immediately smell the rat and move on. But in my younger days, I would have taken Aaron up on this offer because I enjoy meeting “like-minded people,” only to have been disappointed. It’s similar to the first time you received an email from “The Desk of Mr. [name]” who, in weird Engish, requests a charity donation for a family member who suffered a brain hemorrhage while visiting some remote African country. It’s the same basic plot- there’s an emergency and won’t you please wire them some money? Don’t worry, they will repay you tenfold as gratitude for your kindness and generosity. The first time I got an email like this, I wanted to contact the United Nations so they could send assistance to whatever African country the guy was emailing about so they could please get this poor soul some help.
Now I get these emails and delete them.
I’ve seen it most frequently in the financial planning arena but, don’t get me wrong, have a few close friends who work in this field who I love and admire. Then, there are the ones who are constantly hitting people up in a super sneaky way and it’s annoying.
For instance, one of my college sorority sisters got her feelings hurt a couple years back when she agreed to have lunch with an acquaintance whom she hadn’t seen in a decade. Out of the blue, the girl reached out to my friend, faked an interest in her marriage and birth of twins, invited her to lunch for the sake of “catching up”, and then BAM… asked her to invest with her company with her serving as the financial planner.
My friend left lunch feeling used. Rightfully so. She never invested with the other girl. And she was maddddddd.
Let me be clear. I am aware of and respect that everyone has to use their connections and personal relationships to promote themselves and to grow their businesses. That’s exactly what you’re supposed to do.
Ain’t no problem with the hustle.
I do it too.
The problem is when people aren’t immediately candid about their true motives. The problem is when people try to get what they want using “sneak attack” antics. It’s bad business.
All Aaron had to say to me in the email was “I’d love to discuss financial planning with you- are you already working with someone? Can we have coffee to go over it and, if you’re not interested, that’s fine?”
Then, I would have respected Aaron. I would have told him we don’t need anyone but that I would keep his name in mind if the opportunity presented itself or for referrals for someone else who might be interested.
But nooooooooooooooooo. Aaron sent me an evasive email and tried to trick me into joining him for coffee so he could subsequently launch his sneak attack.
What a turnoff.
Cheers to honesty and transparency!