“You Need ID??? But I’m 43!!!”

Every time I drop in the grocery store with my Dad, the cashier asks to see his Driver’s License when he unloads a 12 pack of beer (usually Beck’s) onto the checkout counter.
MED-_ID Required
Of course, we all know the law requires individuals to be 21 years old in order to purchase alcohol and asking to see ID is reasonable. But come on…my Dad is 70 years old!


He says as much each time to the cashier…he jokes about how he hasn’t had a full head of hair since the early 80’s and that no person under 50 would wear the kind of bifocals like the ones he wears around his neck with a cord so he won’t lose them.  It makes for fun checkout line banter with most clerks and only gets a shut down response every once in a while.  The funny thing is that despite the glaringly obvious fact that my Dad is old enough to buy beer, the same cashiers at the same grocery store ask to see his ID and verify his age. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. It’s not just for show either.  I’ve seen him denied his age old rite to buy beer because he left his license at home.

The same thing happens sometimes in our local chapters of BNI.  Quality professionals thirsty for new business show up week after week asking for referrals but never show an I.D.

This has become clearer to me over the years as the result of an exercise I do at every single BNI chapter I visit. When it’s time for the weekly presentations where members and guests get an opportunity to tell us about one of their products or services and tell us about who are good customers for us to refer to them, I pull a pen out of my coat pocket to take notes.  My goal is to write down who each member wants to be referred to so when I leave the meeting that day, I can sit down in my car and make phone calls or send a message to quickly follow up and start creating opportunities they’re looking for.

The key: Which presentations helped me clearly ID what the member is looking for.
I only write down specific “asks” whether they be introductions to referral sources, prospective clients, speaking opportunities, etc. I don’t skip writing notes on the presentations by others because they’re unprofessional or I don’t like them.  I simply don’t have a clear starting place to find a good connection for them. When I leave the meeting and jump into the rest of my schedule, if I don’t have a reasonably clear idea of what I can do for them next or who I can be proactively looking for as I go about my business, it gets lost in the shuffle.
This is why it’s so important to be specific when asking for referrals and other opportunities.  You may be surrounded by people who are willing and able to help you but if you can’t give them a next step to take for you, they’re likely to focus on the next step they need to take themselves.
To start getting more specific with your presentations, start changing your words:
  • Small Businesses. Picking an industry of the types of small businesses you want is infinitely more helpful. Ideally highlight one specific company.
  • Somebody/Anybody/Everybody. If you truly serve everybody, then you must not need any new business. Seriously though, it’s great you can serve so many people. Help us easily bring them to you by describing the different types of people you serve and share stories of how you’re able to help such different people using the same solutions. Tell us stories of how your current clients came to do business with you.
  • You know what I do. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe not as well as I should. I bet the cashier knows my Dad is over 21 but that doesn’t mean he’s getting the beer he wants without a valid ID.
It’s funny that whenever I leave the grocery store and walk across the parking lot with Dad or I leave a BNI meeting and walk across the parking lot to jump in the car and head to my next appointment, I leave with the same impression…

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how well you think people know you and your business. Giving a valid I.D. is the difference between getting what you want and going home empty-handed because you didn’t take the time to help others give you what you want.


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2 thoughts on ““You Need ID??? But I’m 43!!!”

  1. Hi Clay, Actually what brought me here is that I need to get more familiar with this website. I don’t get here enough. I know some of whats here but I know theres more info here to learn. You might say I’m just grazing. I will continue to do so. Sincerely jw