How do I write an electronic mail asking for one thing (and really get it)
How do you ask an elite performer / VIP for help with something that is actually getting a positive response?
Maybe it’s to get a recommendation for a job … or to get some time off from your boss … or to be invited behind the scenes to meet your favorite band … or to get into a difficult one To get advice on the business situation.
The answer is surprisingly simple:
Shift your focus from a “me” perspective to a “you” perspective.
For example, years ago I hung out with Charlie Hoehn, who worked with me and many thought leaders like Tim Ferriss.
He told me how working behind the scenes taught him how to work with people like that.
Here’s the secret:
“Everyone wants something from you,” he said. “Now I know how to stand out. Just don’t ask anything! First, add value. “
With this “You First” approach, I was able to take advice from bestselling authors, superstar CEOs, and all kinds of fascinating people.
Let’s take a look at it in action.
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NOTE: I have 5 amazing scripts that you can use to set up an informational interview, email a stranger for advice, and a lot more. Make sure to download my 5 best word-for-word email scripts for free.
How do I write a polite email asking for something
Here is an inquiry email I received from a reader some time ago. I called him within 60 seconds of reading it. Find out why:
The reader was polite, considered my needs, and sold me the benefits of working with them.
However, let’s break down the anatomy of this email so I can show you exactly why it works.
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Step 1: focus on the recipient
Remember: your message to the important person should focus on YOU. This is the key to any polite email that engages the reader.
The reader above did so with a snappy and eye-catching subject line: I want to work for you for free.
YES. You got my attention
He continues to compliment me and gives an example of how my advice has helped him.
What do you notice about it? It’s a real compliment. He doesn’t give me any superficial subtleties like “Your blog is cool” or “Awesome videos!”
He says he has multiple ING Direct accounts, a Roth IRA, and an automated financial system built about me. So write a polite email.
Use the first sentence or two to compliment the person you’re emailing and their work. Tell them how long you have been following them, what their advice has done for you, and / or your favorite contribution from them.
This allows them to read the rest of your email.
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Step 2: Sell Your Advantages
Let’s face it, you are trying to sell yourself here.
What advantages can you offer them? Why should you care?
Sometimes this comes in the form of a warm contact (more on that later).
If you know of a mutual connection, name drop so that the person you are speaking to knows how you know them from. They are much more likely to work with you when you both know the same person.
For this email, my reader knew I was looking for talented developers – so he sold me for it.
Guess what? That immediately set him apart from 99.999% of the crowd.
You have to do your homework if you want to use this technique. You need to understand your VIP’s weaknesses and how YOU can solve them.
Go deep. Get into their heads. See what solutions you can offer to your biggest problems.
Be like Don Corleone.
Notice they are increasing their YouTube presence and you are a video expert? Tell them that and do it for them.
Can you take your social media game to the next level? Sell them to all of the followers and traffic you can generate for them.
If you can’t come up with a specific solution, show the person you’re emailing that you have an understanding of XYZ, the ABC benefits.
NOTE: If working from home is part of your rich life, I’ll show you how to work from home in my article Working From Home: The Beginners Guide.
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Step 3: Make it impossible to say “no”
Your final step is to anticipate any objections or concerns you may have.
My reader knew I had some projects that I wanted to accomplish but didn’t have time for yet.
And while I could tell that he really wanted paid work, he told me that he would “only appreciate the opportunity to network and get some advice”.
That made it impossible for me to say no to him!
He respected the power dynamic. After all, he asked me about my time.
And he demonstrated this by being proactive, offering his phone number and also providing samples of his work from his website.
Also, confirm how many emails you are receiving by ending your email with this script:
“I understand that you have tremendous demands on your time and if you don’t have time to answer, no problem. But if you did that, even one sentence would mean a lot to me. “
This gives VIPs an easy option when they are too busy. Counterintuitively, it also increases your response rate as you show empathy for their time demands.
Remember, this developer’s email worked so well that I called him within 60 seconds of receiving his message.
Just follow these steps and you can see the same results.
I then encourage you to use the Closing the Loop technique to contact your VIP two weeks after receiving your response. You can use the following script:
“Hey, you told me about ABC. I’ve dug in. I found you were right and so I took your advice and just wanted to thank you. I will keep you updated on the new XYZ in a couple of months. “
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ACTION STEP: Contact your VIP
- Brainstorm A busy VIP that you would like to contact and email them.
- In the comments below, do share your story and the response you received.
Get what you want
I just gave you the three steps to asking a favor and getting what you want. This strategy works for everything.
And if you want specific scripts for email that also get results, there are five you can use to:
- Set up an informational interview
- Ask for recommendations to speak to
- Cold email to a stranger for advice
- Pitch for a consultation or an interview
- Reach out to others in your company to get to know them
Just fill in your details below and I’ll send you these five word-for-word scripts for free.