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It Doesn't Hurt To Ask, Until It Does.
I want to show an example about how easily you can sabotage your efforts when asking for help.
A friend recently shared a note she received from a LinkedIn contact.
Hi [name redacted]! How are you? I wanted to let you know that I'm on the market pursuing a full-time position. My goal is to utilize my marketing, business development, client relations, and operations experience to increase a company's revenue and growth. If you know someone or a business who could use my particular type of services, I sure would appreciate the lead or an introduction. Thank you! Please keep me posted how I can help you as well.
My friend, the recipient, asked, "What am I even supposed to do with this? Is this in poor taste?"
The fact that she asked tells us it is.
Let's take a look at why.
Request is not personal.
It is easy to imagine this same message cut and pasted to dozens of LinkedIn contacts. Nothing about this request is specific to the person to whom they are asking for help. As a result, the request is easily dismissed. Craft an ask that feels like you came to this person for their specific knowledge.
Request is not specific.
Look again at the request; marketing, operations, biz dev, or client relations — to increase company revenues.
That covers nearly every role at a company. 🤦♂️ And the outcome (increase company revenues) goes without saying. Stop casting a wide net.
Your request need to be specific. Think about how someone can help you in under five minutes.
Let's say you are interested in CPG marketing. You might ask,"Do you recommend any great meetups or local events for marketers interested in consumer packaged goods?"
Notice how this is not asking about job openings? The chance that someone knows of a job opening is slim. And making a job recommendation is a big request on someone's social capital. Which brings me #3.
Request fails to give first.
“Please keep me posted how I can help you as well.” — this is lazy.
Instead of sending a high volume of impersonal emails, make deliberate efforts with fewer contacts. Giving first can be a small gesture.
Giving first helps you leverage the reciprocity rule: a social norm of responding to a kindness with a kindness. This rule has the power to trigger feelings of indebtedness even when faced with an uninvited favor or gift.
By failing to follow these three guidelines, you run the risk of being off-putting. That’s not the reputation you want to build.
Learn to ask bite-size specific questions with the “How Might I?” exercise.