Hello, hello. This is Courtney Sanders here with another episode of the Think & Grow Chick podcast, and today we’re talking about a word you probably don’t like to hear but might be hearing more often than you’d like. It is the word “no”, namely, why they said no, the do’s and don’ts of getting others to work with you.
This is so important because no man is an island. All of us are where we are today because in some respects we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. I don’t know of any success story that doesn’t have some element of having a person looking out for them, opening the door, and was really helpful and hugely beneficial.
Having a network or a support system is helpful. However, I found out that a lot of people are doing it the wrong way. Honestly, I’ve been on the negative end of the stick in that lately, because I’ve been receiving a lot of requests from people to help them do things or promote their products. But I don’t know them and we don’t have a relationship. They are not letting me know what’s in it for me. It’s strictly cold email asking me to promote it on social media and on my email list.
That’s not how you go about things. The first time I got an email like that made me think like maybe it was just that individual not understanding how it works. But it has gotten to a point where I’m getting enough of them that I felt that making this podcast is necessary. I really do want everyone to succeed. I think people just don’t know the protocol or the ins and outs.
It’s like having an unspoken rule about getting others to work with you and support you. It all centers around developing a relationship. I want to make sure that you’re not one of those people who’s out here trying to grow your business or get success in your career and you’re making these mistakes unknowingly, right?
You might be thinking you’re making perfectly reasonable requests and you’re not even realizing that you’re turning off the very people who if you develop a relationship with, might be your biggest advocate. I don’t want to ruin any relationships before they get started. So if you want others to work with you and you want them to say yes, stay tuned to the rest of this podcast.
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People do business and they work with people they know, like and trust.
No one is going to bat for you if they don’t know you and trust you, even if you’re trying to get by strictly off that charm of like, “Oh, if I can get them to like me.” You have to be able to develop the full know, like and trust. Don’t reach out to people without developing a relationship first and understand that it is your job to reduce the risk for those you want something from.
It is in bad form to cold email people telling them to promote your stuff or to give you money. You have to understand the reputational risk that person is taking by even considering your request. This is what people don’t think of, coming from a place of self-centeredness, asking from people the things that she needed, just because the other person has it. You have to appreciate the enormous risk that they’re taking on in doing that, which is why know, like and trust factor is so important.
People don’t know who you are. They don’t have an idea if you’re a professional, scammer or if you’re going to do things correctly. So you making this big ask is not only in bad form, but it shows that you don’t really understand what you’re asking. You’re asking not only for support, promotion or money, you’re also asking for them to put their reputation on the line in order to work with you.
Understand that it’s your job to reduce the risk for them. And you only reduce the risk by developing a relationship first. That’s why a relationship is so important.
Here are the five reasons why they said no.
You have to come from a place of giving something, which I know is counterintuitive because essentially, you’re asking somebody for something. Recognize that there’s always a two-way street, and there’s always a part for you to play. So even though you are asking for something, make it worth their while. What can you give in exchange for whatever it is that you’re asking?
The worst thing is when people not only pitch and don’t offer values to the other person, but it’s even worse when people pitch and offer the wrong value to the person. Meaning, they don’t understand what the other person would consider valuable.
It requires you to do your research first and determine what is the value that person is looking for. So stalk them online, listen, watch, or read whatever materials they put out and understand what’s going on in their world right now and what is top of mind. How can you be of value to them and be of value first without offering something?
2. You’re not demonstrating exceptional excellence.
People who pay attention, collaborate, support and meet you will only ask when you are really good at what you do. You don’t just need to be good at it, but you need to be unique.
There are so many “me too” businesses right now – someone saw someone else doing something and thinks, I could do that too. Me too. And then they start the business. While there’s nothing wrong with offering a product or service that’s already available, be unique about it. Add your flair, put a twist on it that no one else is doing. You can be excellent but if you’re the same as everybody else, then that is not enough.
Strive to be excellent and exceptional. Yes, it is a high bar—but if it were easy, then everybody would be doing it. Be willing to do things that others are not in order for you to stand out from the crowd. Because when you do, you also stand out to the person that you are making an ask from. No one wants to collaborate with someone who just wants to do the same thing that everybody else does, and doing without excellence.
Part of the reason why you want someone’s support is because they have reached a level in their field where they are excellent at what they do. So you admire them because they’re well respected where they are and they got there by being excellent themselves.
People who are successful or striving to be successful run in circles with other successful, excellent people. So not only do you need to develop a relationship, you need to develop a relationship really as a peer. Even if you are not quite on the level where they are just yet, you can still be considered a peer in their eyes if your work is on the same par.
If you want an excellent person to support what you have going on, you need to be excellent yourself and you need to present yourself as a peer.
3. You’re being needy.
This is what I mean by you need to present yourself as a peer. I always say present yourself as a peer and not a charity case, okay? Do not come at people right when you need them. That’s a huge tip.
No one likes a needy person. People are looking for collaborators, not charity cases. People don’t like when you come at them from a needy place, because when you come at a person from a sense of desperation, it’s awkward for the person you’re coming to. Sometimes people erroneously think that if they can give some sob story, they can kind of guilt somebody into supporting them. But that’s not how it works.
No one wants to partner with you if they feel like they’re your only opportunity for success. It’s just way too much pressure. It’s way too big of a burden and responsibility on a person. And again, no one wants to be everything to somebody else.
So present yourself as a peer, as a collaborator, not a charity case so drop the whole, oh- please- please-please-needy needy- give me a chance type of thing.
4. You’re moving too fast.
Slow down. Take your time. Your goal should not be to try to get them to do something for you immediately. Develop a relationship first. If you develop a relationship first, the person you are connecting with will want to do things for you naturally in due time.
I don’t understand why people recognize being fast in a dating situation, but not in business. They do this all the time in soliciting help from others. Things will start off well enough, maybe they do send a friendly email without asking anything, asking to meet up for coffee or something, just really benign. And then before you know it, they’re immediately pitching the other person and asking for all this stuff, and it just gets super awkward. Give people time to get to know you, and not only will you be able to make bigger ask, but people will be happy to do it for you naturally.
Realize that there are no shortcuts. People spend a lot of years and thousands of dollars to build their audience. Recognize the hours of nonstop studying, testing, tweaking, and again, the thousands of dollars they’ve invested to get to the point of where they are right now.
Asking someone for something like that further demonstrates that you haven’t done the work, because if you did or at least attempted to do the work, then you would know the magnitude of what you’re asking. So slow down, take your time, don’t rush it because you might end up killing what would have been a natural partnership from that person or something even better that that person was naturally willing to do for.
Don’t do that. Start where you are. You don’t need a big sponsor right off the bat. I see a lot of people when they’re getting started, they kind of disregard the smaller opportunities to partner with their peers. That’s a huge mistake.
I know from personal experience because I got to speak at the White House based on a relationship I have with someone that I went to college with. I got a feature in Essence based on another blogger I connected with years ago before either of us were doing anything significant with our brands. So it’s really important not to look at your peers and people who are on your level, or even a little below your level as not worth it or not someone that you want to partner with.
Ask yourself, how many little people have you been stepping over to try to get in front of the big name? Oftentimes, it’s “the little people” that can do more for you than the big fish because it’s the little people that are behind the scenes in making everything work. Never be rude to the big guy’s assistant.
No one is going to want to partner with you until you’ve had an opportunity to build your body of work. Use partnerships with people on your level as an opportunity to build your body of work so that you can bring something to the table.
So those are some of the reasons, the five reasons why they might have said no, and these are the do’s and don’ts of getting others to work with you. So hopefully, you’ve really taken this to heart.
But again, really, it’s all about relationships.