Beyond the Build


The Ask: Timing. Communication.

Each year, I send notes to a fair amount of folks I have never met but have read about, and many times I am asked, “Why would you send a letter to someone you do not even know?” The simple reason is because I care. I care about meeting new people who have been successful, or have accomplished something positive for their communities or those around them.

You would be surprised at the number of responses I get and friendships I’ve made this way. While I do not necessarily do this to gain opportunities for the company, as I believe one should not expect something in return from a simple note, the reality is we’ve earned some business this way.

Should an opportunity arise, then one of the more difficult hurdles is “the ask.” Always try to be clear and transparent. Try to figure out the best medium, and email is the answer probably less than 50% of the time. If it is email, think about the day and the time.

As someone said, one misses 100% of the pitches when you don’t take a swing. It’s about timing, communications, and of course, having confidence to just do it.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.