I have a friend named Jack. That’s not his real name but, for the sake of privacy, let’s call him Jack.
Jack loves to email me and lots of other people he knows asking us to introduce him to someone or to make a connection for him. To be fair, Jack is also great at making connections the other way too. Jack is happy to ask for and give help all day long.
Sometimes it’s annoying, but overall, since I like Jack, I’m willing to follow up and help him out.
I have another friend named John. (Same deal; his name’s not really John.)
John loves to email me and ask me for advice. For free. All the time. Even though he knows I charge lots of money to give business advice. He still asks, all the time. He even asked me the other day to serve as an advisory board member, meeting quarterly to review his business with him. I politely declined.
The point is … Jack and John … they ask for what they want All. The. Time.
WE ALL KNOW THAT THE JACKS AND JOHNS OF THE WORLD FIND IT EASIER TO ASK FOR HELP THAN THE JANES OF THE WORLD.
So for all my Jane friends out there, here’s the secret to asking for help, and getting someone to do it.
For starters, remember that this is a two-way street. Just like Jack, you must also be willing to help others too, not just yourself.
But more than that, the single most important part of asking for help or an introduction is to be able to articulate what that person would gain from talking to you. How does your “ask” benefit them?
Too many times someone asks me to introduce him or her to someone so that she or he can “pick their brain” … and, at this point, I just delete the request.
You absolutely must be able to articulate what you have to offer discussion-wise that would make anyone want to hop on the phone with you.
How you can make this a valuable experience for them too. If you can do that, you’ll make me feel comfortable sending the email so that the person on the receiving end doesn’t ask themselves why I think it’s okay to waste their time!
And, if you’re asking someone to facilitate that intro, make it easy to do! Write it out so that we can easily tweak the message.
The days of “let’s have coffee so that I can pick your brain” are LONG GONE. You don’t want to be that guy or gal who still thinks it’s cool to do.