There are people out there who can help you grow your business – as customers or vendors – that you aren’t talking to because you are prejudging them based on flawed assumptions. Consider that young tech entrepreneur who doesn’t follow you on Twitter because he’s not using it for business or the executive who doesn’t reply to your email because he gets 10K of them a day and missed it. You assume that all young people are on Twitter. They aren’t. You assume that your email makes it to everyone’s attention. It doesn’t. Its human nature to react negatively toward people you’ve valued worthy of your time and who don’t seem to reciprocate. But the truth is, most everyone is just as busy as you are.
So here’s the advice. Try to talk to everyone and see if there is a fit. But make the effort to talk to people you’ve heard negative things about to see if those comments are justified. If you’ve heard something about someone from a lot of people you tend to assume its true. But what if only one of those people has actually interacted with the “negative” person and the others are sharing opinions in a game of telephone? There is plenty of time in business to be cynical about relationships. I’ve run into my fair share of genuinely negative people in the business world and occasionally the person who can only claim a win if someone else claims a loss. But by and large, most people I’ve encountered are looking for a win-win and a long-term partner. Don’t let what is possibly one person’s opinion from one meeting on one day derail a possibly great relationship.
Stop wasting time and energy reacting to people you haven’t even interacted with and stop chasing people who won’t interact with you because of their perceived “value”. After all, the guy in the Lexus you think is going to invest in your business might be over-leveraged, while his plumber with the stained knuckles just cleared 1M last year.