EXCERPT FROM FORBES ARTICLE I wrote:
It’s not what you know; it’s who you know. It’s a platitude, but it's true. Our world is about who can we connect with to sell, influence or build with. Thus, when your moment comes, when you finally have the email address of (insert celebrity, influencer, business leader), you grin like a Cheshire cat. Now is your chance to secure your dream job, opportunity, interview and riches. One small step away from them, one giant leap for everyday humans everywhere.
"All influencers and leaders share one thing: a keen understanding of the extreme difficulty in building relationships, businesses, assets and success."
There's just one big problem. Successful people are inundated with one-sided asks. I get on average 25-30 asks a week. And let’s be clear, I’m nobody special. I asked my friend, a leading VC fund manager, how many she gets. It’s innumerable. I asked a friend who runs a Fortune 500 company. He gets hundreds.
"Successful people are inundated with one-sided asks.
How do we stand out from their crowded inbox?
Let me give you the inside scoop.
All influencers and leaders share one thing: a keen understanding of the extreme difficulty in building relationships, businesses, assets and success. Business building isn't for the faint of heart. Beneath the surface, we’ve all failed 100 times to succeed that one precious time.
Funny enough, something happens when you start having any sort of success. You go through the grind, you come out on the other side a bit scarred, but it doesn’t show, and like birds to bread, people come along and they want in. They want in without having to go through the obstacle course.
You get asked questions like (these are all real):
- “Can you introduce me to your top clients/your sponsors/that famous person you just posted with?”
- “I need a job. Can you hire me? You seem to do well.”
- “Will you invest in my startup even though we have no product yet?”
- “I just want to pick your brain over coffee. Do you have a few minutes?
- “Will you be my mentor?”
Every time you are engaging with someone influential, your first question should be: "What is in it for them?"
I still can’t figure out what exactly it means to mentor someone.
Does that mean hand holding?
Weekly meetings? Dinner dates? I have no idea.
On one hand, I absolutely admire the guts it takes to throw out your wants. However, if you actually want to be given these items, you must understand what is involved in giving. And if you’re like me and you get these questions, you can now send them this article with a sweet note saying, “I want to help you get better at requests and getting what you want. Read below and get back to me.”
How To Get What You Want Without Being Labeled A Taker
Every time you are engaging with someone influential, your first question should be:
"What is in it for them?"
Instead of asking how can they help you, think how you can help them.
If you take one thing away from this article, let that be it.
"Hello Codie, my name is ______, from Mexico. I am currently studying B.A. and Finance. I am really interested in getting the chance to work in N.Y. in trading or capital markets. Could you give me advice as I am a foreigner to achieve this goal? Thank you."
I don’t know this person. There is no context. In addition, I don’t live in New York and don’t work in trading or capital markets. Make sure you do your research on your target.
"I have a rule of thumb. I don’t ask for something until I’ve given 10 times the value of my ask to someone."
I noticed that you had a new product launch on your website and hadn’t yet (insert whatever you can give according to your unique talents). So I created an explanation video for you. (you can do this on Fiverr for pennies). Also I edited this error on the website and included this article on your competition I thought would be relevant. I don't like to ask for something without giving in return.
I am a student in Mexico and really interested in your industry. You’ve built an incredible foothold in finance, I was wondering if you had one initial step, resource, book or contact you think would make sense for me to start with.
Follow the 10x Rule
I have a rule of thumb.
I don’t ask for something until I’ve given 10 times the value of my ask to someone.
Every time I have broken this rule, I have been told "no" and generally embarrassed myself.
For the next 10 days, try giving something professionally daily without asking for anything.
Don’t Ask What You Can Do To Help
What can I do to help you? I have no idea. I don’t know you.
What are you good at? What do you have to offer? Are you trustworthy? Remember, it is definitely not the job of the person you are engaging with to tell you how you can help them.
This is your mission, should you choose to accept it.
Your mission is to use your intellect to truly help another. Your mission is to find solutions. Your mission is to be one of the few who does, not the many who speak. If you can do that; if you can provide real value as opposed to desire masked as value, the doors will open. I promise.
And no, I’m not your mentor.