Have you ever had to call the fire department? It’s very easy to figure out when to pick the phone. Unless you want to get in trouble, you call the fire department, when and only when you’ve seen a fire.
What happens if you call the fire department and there is no fire? Calling in false alarms causes many problems: it wastes the time and limits the availability of a precious resource, it bothers an important contact with frivolous solicitation, and the person who calls-in the false alarm looses credibility. Call-in enough false alarms and key resources will stop responding.
So, when should we call the fire department? How about when you see a fire? In networking seeing a fire is analogous to not just seeing someone else’s problem, but also having their request for help.
When someone relates a problem that they are having to you, such as; “my payroll company is under performing,” simply ask them “is that something that you're looking for outside help with?” and they will let you know if they need your fire department.
Imagine making connections that solve significant problems and that your key resources really value. Your fire department is a precious resource...activate them wisely.