How to ask for a favor (and get it)

Consider all of the favors you would possibly want:

  • A job referral from an previous boss
  • A pal to show you learn how to cook dinner a meal to impress your girlfriend
  • An introduction to the founding father of a startup you wish to freelance for

Favors like these can act as turning factors in our life. However generally it’s onerous to ask for a favor — particularly if you happen to’re shy and never too assured concerning the course of.

Right this moment I’m going to show you the 5 easy steps to ask for a favor and truly get what you need.

How one can ask for a favor in 5 steps

Every year on my birthday I ask my readers to do me a easy favor: Remark telling me how IWT has personally helped them

You realize what occurs? I get greater than 500 feedback each time. Folks LOVE telling me about touchdown their dream job, eliminating $45Ok of debt, incomes $10Ok on the aspect, and extra.

That is the most effective present I may hope for. I don’t want cookies or new garments. I simply love listening to how my materials has helped different individuals.

That is only a tiny favor. I’ve additionally requested for larger ones like getting a bunch of my entrepreneur associates to contribute to an e-book I used to be engaged on.

So how do you ask for a favor and get nice outcomes?

Use the next 5 steps:

Let’s get began.

Step 1: Contemplate how your favor impacts them

Whenever you ask for a favor, you’re basically doing gross sales. You’re promoting another person your wants at the price of their time, power, and/or cash.

And that’s what you’ve bought to comprehend: It’s not all about you. Whereas this favor advantages you not directly, you’re placing this individual out in one other means. It’s essential acknowledge that and compensate for it.

Having empathy like that is completely mandatory for 2 causes:

  1. It allows you to discuss to the individual you’re promoting to on their phrases. You may relate to them and communicate their language. Give it some thought: The way you ask for a favor out of your boss is quite a bit completely different than the way you ask for a favor out of your pal.
  2. It allows you to adapt because the sale occurs. Whenever you care concerning the different individual’s feelings and wishes, you’ll be able to see if what you’re asking from them is an excessive amount of, or possibly if you happen to’re asking it in a means that makes them really feel bizarre. So cease weirding them out and relate to them.

Take a look at this superb electronic mail I bought from a reader some time again that did precisely this.

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This electronic mail is the right instance of all the things that goes into studying learn how to ask for a favor:

  1. He confirmed that he truly is aware of me. Nothing goes to make me wish to trash your electronic mail quicker than a boilerplate message. The man who despatched me this message showcased how he knew me and the way I’ve helped him.
  2. He made me care. Most certainly, the individual you’re attempting to get a favor from is busy. That’s why it’s good to make them give a rattling. That incentivized me much more to work with him. He additionally touched on a topic that issues to me (on this case, the sender knew that I’m all the time looking out for gifted builders).
  3. He made it simple to say sure. The reader who despatched me the e-mail made it clear that, although he was on the lookout for paid work, he can be keen to work “to community and obtain a bit recommendation” whereas acknowledging that I did have a couple of tasks that I didn’t have time for.

By the point I completed the e-mail, I used to be clamoring for the cellphone to name him. THAT’S the way you ask for a favor.

Step 2: Ask with the expectation that your request will likely be granted

Nevertheless, if you happen to really feel such as you’re placing them out by asking for this favor, cease. You’ve already failed.

Your psychological framework issues. It’s essential consider you’re going to get no matter you ask for. For those who’re going to play, play to win. Don’t strive. Don’t hope. You’ve already determined to do it … you would possibly as properly do it proper.

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Go in with a winner’s mentality.

It’s best to go in ACKNOWLEDGING that you’re asking them to exit of their means. However that doesn’t imply you go in considering that you simply’re “bothering” them or that this can be a waste of their time.

That’s why I wish to go over the “What if I had been good” method.

I’ve talked about this method earlier than but it surely’s vital to say once more as a result of it has all the things to do with confidence.

Let’s say that you simply had been attempting to turn out to be extra assured about public talking, or cooking, or operating, or beginning a enterprise. No matter.

With these targets come a set of crippling obstacles:

  • What if I screw up and make a foul meal?
  • What if I by no means drop some weight?
  • What if my enterprise fails?

And plenty of occasions, that’s sufficient to screw up. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That’s what occurred after I was youthful and I believed no one would ever present as much as my private finance class — and no one did. That’s as a result of I already set myself up for failure with my psychological obstacles.

As a substitute, simply ask your self, “What if I had been absolutely the grasp of this area? What if I had been good and had all of the information — on this planet — what would I do?”

You wouldn’t get overwhelmed by going to the shop, shopping for onions, and studying learn how to chop them. You wouldn’t get overwhelmed by going to the gymnasium and hitting the treadmill. I positively wouldn’t have been bothered by getting individuals to attend my private finance class.

And also you wouldn’t get psyched out by asking somebody for a favor.

You’d simply do what was mandatory to perform your targets. This method helps you get previous your personal psychological obstacles and say, “If I had been good, how would I deal with this challenge?”

Utilizing this train is a good way to turn out to be extra assured over time.

For extra assist, try my video beneath on learn how to develop pure confidence. It’s solely six minutes however you’ll study some nice psychological frameworks.

Step three: Don’t lie

Many individuals assume that you need to lie or a minimum of inform a white lie (like these 7 cash lies) in relation to asking for one thing. They consider you’ll be extra profitable if you happen to butter somebody up and provides them a bunch of phony causes to do one thing.


Being truthful is what makes individuals consider you and wish to assist you to. Research present that whenever you come at individuals from a spot of honesty you not solely make your self and your relationship with that individual happier but it surely’s additionally higher in your psychological well being (per UC San Diego’s Emotion Lab).

Give it some thought. If I would like my brother-in-law to introduce me to his boss, he’s going to be pissed if I come to him with the pretense of asking how his Thai cooking courses are going.

“Hey I noticed that pad thai you made on Instagram the opposite day. Superior stuff. Do you assume your boss likes pad thai too?”

Fail. As a substitute he’ll respect me if I’m direct and inform him, “Hey, I really need an intro to your boss as a result of I feel I may assist him with XYZ aim.”

Step four: Leverage your energy

No person likes a needy individual. However if you happen to act such as you don’t actually need your favor granted, you’re extra prone to get what you need.

I‘ve defined this earlier than within the context of negotiating your means out of paying financial institution charges. Banks need your cash nonetheless they’ll get it, however if you happen to threaten to go away the financial institution they’ll clear any costs very quickly.

I’m not saying threaten to terminate a friendship or partnership as a result of they’re not presenting what you need on a gold platter.

As a substitute, lead into the dialog with one thing natural. For instance, “Hey, do you continue to need these tickets for the sport on Thursday? I’m glad to offer them away since I do know you’re keen on the group — however I hoped I may ask you for a favor. Would you’ve a few hours to assist me transfer this weekend?”

It’s like my system for asking for a elevate out of your boss or elevating your freelance charges in your purchasers: At all times do it after you’ve added worth.

Did you simply crush a venture at work that elevated gross sales by 100%? Good time to ask for that elevate.

Did you create an electronic mail in your consumer that doubled leads for them? Strike whereas the iron is sizzling and lift your charges.

This isn’t all to say that you ought to be doing favors for different individuals strictly so you’ll be able to have a bargaining chip for whenever you want a favor. What I’m saying is your possibilities of having your favor granted enhance immensely whenever you’ve executed one thing good for the opposite individual.

Take into consideration my birthday instance. It doesn’t truly matter to you that it’s my birthday. However, due to how our society is ready up, you are feeling such as you owe me one due to the worth I’ve offered you. It’s completely okay to leverage conditions like that.

Step 5: Be very particular about what you need

Whenever you ask for instructions, would you go as much as somebody and say, “How do I am going someplace?”

In fact not. Not solely would you sound like an fool, however you wouldn’t get what you need. As a substitute you ask particularly, “How do I get to the Farmhouse Restaurant?”

The identical goes whenever you ask in your favor. Ensure you have a really particular ask in thoughts.

Don’t ask: “Are you able to get me a job?”

Ask: “Are you able to give me a heat intro to Ross Currier? He’s your head of accounting at Firm XYZ, and there’s a place opening up below him that I’m serious about.”

Don’t ask: “Are you round this weekend?”

Ask: “Are you free on Saturday afternoon? I would like to select up a sofa from ABC Retailer and I used to be questioning if you happen to may drive me over in your pickup to get it.”

Be direct. Be succinct. Whenever you say precisely what you need, individuals know precisely how that will help you.

An incredible instance of this was after I requested a couple of of my entrepreneur associates to contribute to an e-book I used to be writing.

I knew that every one these individuals had been extremely busy, so I wanted to supply worth to them and present them that the favor wasn’t a waste of their time.

Right here’s a personal electronic mail I wrote to NYT bestselling creator Ben Casnocha after I wished him to assist me with my 15 Little Life Experiments e-book. My feedback are in brackets:

Hey Ben,

I’m placing collectively a brief free e-book with fascinating/actionable check outcomes (e.g., materials on advertising, enterprise, way of life design, social dynamics, profession hacks, and so on). [Quickly introduce what I’m doing and get them excited about it. Note how I skip over introductions because I already know Ben. If I didn’t, it would be important to introduce who I am and why he should read this email.]

I’d like to have you ever contribute, and wished to see if you happen to’d have an interest. I have already got an amazing thought of what your check outcome may very well be. [VIPs expect you to want something from them. Get to the point. Again, this is not the approach I would take with everyone, but it works here because Ben is (1) insanely busy and (2) a friend.]

I’ll be placing IWT’s advertising muscle behind it — we’ll be sharing it with our record of 200,000+ and we count on to have a minimum of 500,000 different emails going out. The emails could have hyperlinks to your web site. [Benefit. Why should he care? Note that almost anyone would love to get this kind of exposure. (And note the meta-lesson of me promoting Ben in this very email.)]

All I would wish from you is ONE nice check/outcome that you simply’ve run. For instance, one of many following record:

1. How I began waking up earlier (way of life)

2. One phrase I all the time use after I meet somebody new (social dynamics)

three. How I bought extra individuals to affix my electronic mail record (enterprise/advertising) [Anticipate the needs of the reader. As he reads, he’s saying, “Hmm…so what would this require?” BOOM — proactively hit him with specific examples.]

(For you, I’m fascinated by conversational methods you used to turn out to be extra /fascinating … or the way you elicit individuals to turn out to be extra open by being clear your self. Additionally, you had that AWESOME tip about talking, the place you’re taking a mid-talk break and inform them 5 books to put in writing down, and everybody wakes up. Folks love that.) [Personalize it. I personalized every email I sent and got a tremendous response rate of over 90%. Use my motto — “Don’t make the busy person do your work for you” — and suggest ideas to them. There’s more to this principle that I outline in my e-book on writing winning emails (see below).]

We’ll embody ~300-word case research a couple of profitable check you’ve run. Right here’s a earlier e-book we did with examples from individuals like BJ Fogg, Mark Sisson, and Josh Kaufman: [Include a finished result, if possible. This also shows him big names I worked with in the past, so he can see this will be a gathering of renowned contributors.]


Our deadline is Wednesday, September 18th. What do you assume?


P.S. For those who’re however unsure what you’d contribute, let me know and I can provide you a fast name to share some concepts. [VIPs get swamped with emails. Sometimes, I prefer to hop on a 5-minute call while I’m in between errands. So I offer that option here.]

A couple of takeaways:

  • Be particular however temporary. VIPs are busy and don’t wish to learn your tortured expository essay in your life historical past, meals allergy symptoms, and the mole in your again
  • Deal with what’s in it for THEM. Profit-driven, targeted on profit to THEM (“placing the total IWT muscle behind it”)
  • Provide a transparent CTA (name to motion). You wouldn’t consider how many individuals finish their emails to me with “Yeah, so … wow, I wrote greater than I believed” DELETE
  • Anticipate each objection and counter it earlier than they’ll consciously voice it. Who’s going to be on this? Oh, listed below are previous individuals I labored with. I don’t have any concepts. Oh, let’s get on a name and I’ll assist you to provide you with some, and so on.

Get what you need

I’ve simply given you the 5 steps to asking for a favor and getting what you need. This technique works for something.

And if you would like particular scripts for emails that get outcomes too, I’ve 5 you should use to:

  1. Arrange an informational interview
  2. Ask for suggestions for individuals to speak to
  3. Chilly electronic mail a stranger for recommendation
  4. Pitch for a consulting gig or a job interview
  5. Attain out to others in your organization to get to know them

Simply enter your info beneath, and I’ll ship you these 5 word-for-word scripts without spending a dime.

Sure, ship me the FREE scripts!

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