Asking Busy People for Help

Have you ever felt like you need help from a person who is already inundated with requests? You know this person has a full inbox, but you still need help and you know this particular person has the specific help you need.

Avoid Taking without Giving

When I first started reaching out to people who I knew received many messages, I would get back messages with template responses.  Something along the lines of “Hello Broderick! We’ve received your message, and someone will get back with you shortly!”.  They rarely did, and it had to do with my energy.  I wanted to take, take, take and not give.

What consistently helps me get answers to my questions a lot faster now is helping the person on the other side somehow…some way.  Thinking win-win.

Another way to put it is Law 13 from Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power.

Law 13:  When asking for help, appeal to people’s self interest, never to their mercy or gratitude.

Give and Take by Adam Grant is another good book that addresses this.

Put yourself in the other person’s position and think about things from their point of view.  What would be valuable to them?   What do they want or need that you could provide?  Money could be one thing, but you can also look for things that aren’t monetary.

Maybe they have a course or a book and they need feedback.  Maybe they’re already inundated with feedback and they need a way to manage the feedback.  Maybe they need a way to have more free time.  Maybe they need new shoes.  Maybe they need a Covid19-free hug.  How can you be of service to them?  How can you create value for them?  If they have a website, they might mention what they need or want.  Coming from a space of service when I need help has been a much more effective strategy to get the help I need.

Show some commitment if you want mentorship

If your question is a how-to/mentor kind of question, show some type of indicator that you’re committed to actually implementing the advice they’re going to give you.  If they have a bestselling book (or multiple best-selling books), its likely they’re receiving many messages.  Each message answered is a time investment.  Again, put yourself in their shoes and imagine someone comes to you for genuine advice.  How would you feel about giving advice to that person knowing it’s falling on deaf ears and that they will just ignore it?  If you want to increase the likelihood that they’ll invest their time in answering your question, show that you’ve already got the ball rolling in some form or fashion.

When I was into self-publishing and I wanted some advice from bestsellers in my genre on how they gained such visibility in the Amazon Kindle Store.  I emailed 4 authors with best-selling books.  Two didn’t respond.  One had an email assistant respond, and the last author directly responded with the exact answer I needed.  An important part of this story is that I had already published books that just needed more visibility, and I led with that in my message to these authors.  I wanted to show that I’m not some person thinking about doing self-publishing, but that I’ve already got works published.  I’m in field.

Whatever you want, give it

If you’re having a tough time getting help from the specific source you’re looking for, consider releasing your attachment to finding your answer in that direction and consider giving help to someone else.  You want advice or help?  Give advice or help.  That sounds crazy right?  Like one of these crazy counter-intuitive solutions I keep rambling about.

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