How To Get Me To Help You Out: Part One

Yesterday, I got an e-mail about a possible blog sponsorship opportunity. This is not a huge deal; bloggers get these almost everyday, sort of like if you have an e-mail address, you get wire transfer offers from unknown Nigerian relations.

Anyway back to this link exchange offer. Top of the letter: Dear Sir…

Whoa there, cowboy! You didn’t even click twice to get to my contact info and bio? Even just notice my girly headshot or the fact my name is Nicole? Delete.

Rewind to a month ago when one of my friends was having some kind of employment fiasco and telling me about it.

Friend: Well I told her to call the Department of Labor to verify it.

Me: So you told her to call a bottomless crazy huge government agency, essentially resigning her to an afternoon of being put on hold and transferred around the office?

Friend: Well, I have a contact there that I’ve been dealing with.

Me: Did you give her the direct extension and your contact’s name?

Friend: (long pause) No…hmmm. I will now though!

Okay two unrelated situations but the same basic idea. Someone wanted someone else to do them a favor. The favor does not happen. Why?

We usually have to think that people are pretty reasonable and want to help you out. Here are a few things you can do to get someone to be more likely to do a favor for you:

1) Make it easy for me. What a letter of recommendation? Ask nicely. Give me a generous deadline and a copy of your resume. You want to show the person doing the favor that you are doing the legwork and allowing them to simply finish the job and get the credit. And who doesn’t like that?

2) Do your homework. Know what you need for me, and what you have to give. I do not want to link to “three casino websites”. Give me the URLs. Tell me if you want link or an ad on my site in return. Tell me how much you want to pay me (money conversations are awkward enough; I don’t want to initiate it!)

3) It’s not all about you. I gave a talk today to our local Rotary about promotion online and the cardinal sin of making it all about you. It really isn’t and if you give someone that impression, good luck getting a worthwhile working relationship. Approach it in a way that’s not just a favor to you but will help the other person out too.

Tomorrow, Part II and a fabulous example of someone who knows how to ask for a favor so well, I think she should do a class on it.

Nicole Ouellette
Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she's not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

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