The more people who ask me for things, the more I start to discover the things that really turn me off, so for all of you today I am letting you know about some red flags that I notice that you can watch out for when asking and when granting requests.
Here are the 5 fastest routes to a big fat No:
1. Not asking my permission: Nothing is more aggravating than getting an email in my inbox that is a form letter from someone's mailing list. I usually have no idea who it is from and I also am unclear as to why the content is valuable or useful to me. If you'd like me to be on your email list, I am more than happy to take a look and see if it is a fit, but if I haven't explicitly told you that it is ok to add me, please don't. My inbox is like my home. I do not randomy invite people in without knowing who they are, please respect that.
2. Hiding the compensation plan: I am always happy to look at the value of a particular good or service and see if it is a fit for me or my friends. I am not interested in selling someone else's products or services unless we have made an agreement and that agreement is completely transparent. If someone is getting a commission on a sale or a referral fee, I completely understand, but what does not work at all is if no one in the interaction knows that is happening. If you are getting a cut, let me know and we'll discuss it, but please do not pretend that you are just recommending someone out of the goodness of your heart and forget to mention you will financially benefit from the transaction. This does not sit well with me and will destroy trust.
3. Asking for an introduction without assessing the value-add- Introductions are meant to be mutually beneficial. That means that both parties should benefit from the interaction. If one party will benefit more, that is totally fine, but that needs to be communicated before the intro. If you ask me to connect you with someone, take the time to figure out what you're offering to the conversation. It may not be much, but doing some prep work, goes a really long way. If you are not willing to invest the time to see how you can add value to the intro, why should anyone else take time to make the intro itself?
4. Being rude- It seems so simple, but you'd be amazed at how many people forget about simple things like please and thank you. I am happy to help, as are most people, but there are limits to what I can do, so please respect those. I have had numerous times where I have politely explained that someone I know is not in the market to take on new clients and the other person had pushed back saying that they should change their mind. Always respect the people you are connecting with if you want them to help you in the future. I also have had numerous instances in which I have helped someone significantly and then heard radio silence. Don't be that person.
5. Not respecting someone's preferred style of communication- If you've been reading this blog, you know by now that calling me is usually a bad idea. Email me and I'll be in touch pretty quickly and message me via Twitter and I'll usually respond fast as well. If you send me a Facebook message, good luck. If you send me a LinkedIn message, it may take a bit, but I'll usually get to it. Nothing is worse than getting a call from a number I don't recognize and then having a message asking me to do something for that person with no context as to who they are or how they got my number. Many of my colleagues feel the same way. Find the best form of communication for someone and use it as needed.
So there you have it. This post may sound like a bit of a rant, but I'm really hoping to educate more people on the proper ways to reach out. If you're respectful, you'll save everyone a lot of time and you're more likely to get what you want, so avoid these pitfalls and I see many Yes's in your future.