People who tell you that there’s no harm in asking are either stupid, naive or con-artists. There’s ALWAYS a risk/reward balance in any human endeavor. When someone says, “You should ask. There’s no harm in asking.” This is a con-artists way of saying to you, you expend your goodwill for my benefit. If the person giving you the advise isn’t trying to con you then they are stupid or naive, because obviously they have no idea about the concept of goodwill or don’t believe in it. Let me give you an example: Someone you know comes to you and says, “I hear you know the CEO of Big Company. I’ve got a great business idea, and I want you to be in on it from the ground floor. And, I could expedite my business success if I could get a meeting with CEO of Big Company. Can you help me out? There’s no harm in asking, so could you make the call on my behalf?” You should think about it very carefully before you make the call. If the business plan is dumb or the person wishing to execute it is suspect then asking for the Big Company CEO’s help could reflect very poorly on you, because you couldn’t screen these issues and shield the CEO from a dumb call. I guarantee you, the next time you place a call to the CEO of Big Company, you’re not going to get through as easily and may not get a call back, period. Even if the plan is great and the person wanting to execute the plan is aces the CEO still may think you’re off your rockers for trying to get hem involved.

So, always think before you ask; think about the risk/reward balance of what you’re asking for before you ask the question then think about it again. Goodwill is like respect, something that takes years to build-up, but only a moment to destroy.

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