I got a text message recently that got me thinking about just how we go about soliciting help in business. I personally believe that there is a lot of support and good will out there but to tap into it effectively, you need to be asking for the help the right way.
This is the text that inspired this message. No offence meant to sender :). This is just a great way to demonstrate best practice.
“…. I hope that you are having a lovely day x. I am requesting from a chosen few to do a few online tasks for me on a weekly basis. Tasks ranging from liking posts on my website to commenting and sharing posts, videos etc. on social network sites and so on. I make it an easy fun task by giving clear instructions by email on what it is for the week that I would like to get done. Your support would be greatly appreciated and valued. Can I add you to my list? Please confirm by a single yes or no reply to this text. Thanks for reading x.”
There are a lot of things wrong with this request for help. Luckily, Charles H Green (CHG) the famed “Trusted advisor” just wrote a timely post “How (Not) to ask for Recommendations, Referrals and References.
The 4 simple and straight forward rules given by Charles H Green in the post on how to ask for favours are:
- Don’t ask for a favor – ask for the repayment of a favor already done” (CHG).
- Assume absolutely nothing – “Do not assume the person has the time, or the interest, or the inclination, to do you the favor you want.” (CHG)
- Don’t over-specify the favour – Being too specific can be annoying or insulting to some people if not asked the right way.
- Treat it like a big deal – Be strategic about what you ask for and ask for things that really matter and can make a real difference to you.
The only thing I would ask to get a better response to your requests is to make it personal!
I once attended a weeknight party arranged by a medical doctor we shall call “Jonathan”. Everybody knows that week nights are not ideal times for parties and it is also notoriously difficult to get doctors to turn up for events. On this occasion however, I was really impressed by the turnout. I just had to ask Jonathan how he managed to get some many of his colleagues to turn up on a weeknight (some turning up right after a long day’s shift and others on their way to work!). My husband dragged me there even though he was tired as well.
Jonathan’s approach to getting people to show up at this party was to send a very personal invitation and then followed up all non-replies either via email or phone. That is how to get people to respond to requests. Make it personal. A lot of people struggle to turn down personal requests so you’ll get a better response this way.
How to get more social media likes
As for asking for more social media “LIKES” I can only refer to The Oatmeal blog post http://theoatmeal.com/comics/facebook_likes/trackback. Its funny and hits the nail right on its head.
People are tired of being asked to LIKE something (I know this because I made this mistake too) the best way to get more response is to make your social share more interactive, thought provoking or funny. People naturally want to share those.
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