I'm thrilled that my friend and colleague, Erin Giles, is here dishing invaluable insights on the fine are of the Good Ask today. She has amazing street cred when it comes to big asks too. I'll be implementing these tips myself as I gear up for something big this fall.
How to Ask for Help with Ease
As entrepreneurs we’re constantly taking in new information for our business’ success. Marketing, systems, accounting, blogging, social media, conferences…you name it, we’ve bought it, taken it or had someone on our team learn it.
What if I told you there’s one skill that’s an extremely valuable asset to your companies growth and you already know how to do it? You just need to put it into practice in a smart and passionate way.
That skill is asking. Whether it’s asking for referrals, connections, coverage, cash, collaborators or ideas, a good ask is something we all need to utilize more in our business.
“I truly believe a good ask is the key to growing your business.” – Tara Gentile
My making the good ask let to me getting 60 amazing contributors, such as Seth Godin, Tara Mohr, and Carol Roth to say yes to me for writing for the End Sex Trafficking book (someone they had never heard of), raising $28,000 in 37 days with the help of hundreds of people and landing on USA Today, Marie Claire, Inc.
After pulling this off, I started to be asked more and more “how did you do that?”
It was as simple as reaching out to some big names and asking some big questions…and it just so happened that I write amazing emails that have led to some incredible relationships with beautiful people.
Here’s my 5 tips to amp your ask when emailing big names:
Always connect with the people you want to email first. Follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook, comment on their blogs and buy their stuff. The point is, give them an opportunity to see your name once or twice before they get your ask email. Be yourself, don’t overdo it and never ever ask them your big question over social media.
Always let your passion show, these big names will catch on to sucking up a mile away. When I emailed friends, family and potential sponsors during the fundraising process for the End Sex Trafficking book to get published, I was incredibly passionate I included statistics, quotes and the feeling I deeply felt when I became aware of just how big of a problem sex trafficking is today. You can never go wrong with passion.
Not everyone will say yes to your big questions, or even respond back but building relationships is what it’s all about. You must continue to build relationships even when you don’t get the response you were hoping for.
For example, in October of 2012 I was interviewed by a USA Today reporter who was hoping to run a story and include what I was up to at the end of October and it never ran. I wanted to lose hope but instead I continued building our relationship. I helped her on Twitter when she was asking for for help and even emailed her some important dates regarding human trafficking. Three months later she emailed again saying how much she still wanted to do a follow up and asked if I had time to be interviewed yet again…of course I said yes and in February of 2013 she included me in an article on USA Today.
Question Your Motives
Never choose to ask someone for a big yes because of an icky motive. For example, “so and so has 10,000 followers and for this reason only, she would be great to ask!” This will leave you both feeling nauseous. Do both of you a favor and ask someone you relate to, are inspired by, learn from or just feel pulled towards.
Be Brief and Clear
Chances are, the people you email are busy and get a load of emails so keep it brief and they will be appreciative. See an example below from my eBook, Amp Your Ask for a script I used for the very busy and successful writers I invited to the write for my book, like Seth Godin.
Dear (insert first name),
I promise I will keep this email at 5 sentences, I know you must get hundreds of emails daily.
I’m inviting (insert number of writers, speakers etc.) to (insert name of event date).
Will you join me (insert who will get all of the proceeds) and (insert number of other participants) to (insert what your projects purpose it).
(What is due and when it’s due)
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you,
We gain so much from asking for help and these tips are just the beginning. An ask I didn’t think I would send ended up turning into a yes and a huge mentor for me that pushed me to turn my dream of publishing the End Sex Trafficking book into a reality.
Dive into your fears, move forward on your dreams and never be afraid to boldly proclaim what you’re up to and anyone that says no isn’t meant to be along for the ride (their loss, I promise).
Erin Giles is the Founder of End Sex Trafficking Day and a Business Coach that helps entrepreneurs change the world, starting with themselves first. She just opened the doors to her program #GOODASK and can be found at eringiles.com.