Asking for Favors Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
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When is the Right Time to Share?

Today’s guest blog is an extract from Andy Lopata’s book, “Just Ask”, about when was the best time for me to share my cancer diagnosis with others.

When Ivan Misner was diagnosed with prostate cancer, working out how to fight his illness was just one challenge he faced.

Ivan was the figurehead and CEO of the world’s largest face-to-face business networking organisation, Business Network International (BNI). As much as he might have liked to focus on his medical challenges with just the support of family and close friends, he didn’t have that option. Particularly as he had chosen to fight the cancer naturally, by drastically changing his diet.

Ivan told me how he planned to share the news with his wider network and different stakeholders in his business. “People are going to find out, they are going to ask, ‘Why are you eating so crazy? Why are you losing weight?’ I’m going to doctor’s appointments all the time, so I figured just talk about the elephant in the room, calm everyone down and tell them that you have a plan.

“I made a list of eight different levels of people. Number one was extended family; my wife and kids were technically number one but they found out immediately. Number two, close family friends. Number three were key management people in the company, the top managers in BNI.

“Number four were the employees at headquarters. I literally called a staff meeting and said, ‘Hey, this is what’s going on, I just wanted you to know, what questions do you have for me? That was really important; if you don’t let them ask their questions, they are going to be asking each other and they are going to be making stuff up.

“Franchisees worldwide were number five. The sixth one was global employees and independent contractors. Number seven was an email that directors could share with members and number eight was a public posting on my blog.”

Ivan was inspired by self-development guru Brian Tracy, who had suffered from throat cancer a couple of years before and who had been very open on his blog about his journey. Ivan resolved to share ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’, making sure that people would know at all times how he was progressing. He posted every three or four months for the first year and then once a year after that.

“It calmed everyone down. This may not work for everyone but I liked it because everyone knew I had a plan. I kept saying to them, ‘If it doesn’t work, I will go and get surgery, I promise.’

“You can’t control the message but you can manage it. I was constantly managing the message, to the point of writing a book sharing the full story and the recipes that I used to completely change my diet”.

Timing is a key factor in ensuring that you benefit the most from sharing with the people around you. Leave something too long and you may find that you’ve missed the moment when other people’s help would have been most effective or their suggestions would have worked. You also face the risk, as Ivan observed, that people notice for themselves that something is wrong and you start to lose control of the message.

If you ask too early, you may feel that people will see you as someone who is not able to find solutions for themselves, who panics or who overshares. Every situation is different. Ivan calculated when he should share his news with each interested party to remain in control of the conversation. Think about the best time to share and whether different people need to be involved at different times.

Andy Lopata‘s book, “Just Ask”, is available now.

The book is available to buy on Amazon (UK) and via Amazon (US) and from booksellers around the world.

Digital copies of Just Ask are available via: http://lopata.co.uk/justask/

Please click here to find a list of online outlets.

You can also order it from an independent book retailer in your area. 

Ask for a Favor

When Is It Appropriate to Ask for a Favor?

Most of us have been in situations where someone asked for a favor long before they built the social capital to make that kind of request, if they built any capital at all. Building deep referral relationships is almost completely dependent upon the social capital you have built with someone. Social capital is similar to financial capital in a very important respect. To amass financial capital, you have to invest and grow your assets. You have to have money in the bank before you can make a withdrawal. Relationships are very much the same – referral relationships in particular.

How Alex asked for a favor

Alex was what I would call a casual business associate, but from early on after our introduction, every time I spoke to him, he invested in the relationship. He gave me ideas, gave me his time, he even did some work on a website for me mostly as a favor. He invested…and invested…and invested.

I kept asking how I could help him, to return the favor and reciprocate for all the kindnesses and great help he’d been to me. His answer every time was, “I don’t need anything. I’m happy to do this.”

This went on for almost a year. Every couple of months, Alex would show up on my radar and do something for me.

Then, one time, he phoned me and said, “I have a favor to ask…” and I stopped him right there.

“Yes!” I said.

“But you didn’t even hear what the favor is!” laughed Alex.

I replied that I didn’t have to hear what the favor was. I told him I knew him well enough to know he was not going to ask me something impossible, and that he had invested so much into the relationship that I would do anything in my power to help.

You may ask for a favor

Before you ask for a withdrawal, make sure to make an investment, and build a deep referral relationship. If you can answer “yes” to most or all of the following points about a person and his or her business, you would have a pretty deep referral relationship:

• You trust them to do a great job and take great care of your referred prospects.
• You have known each other for at least one year.
• You understand at least three major products or services within their business and feel comfortable explaining them to others.
• You know the names of their family members and have met them personally.
• You have both asked each other how you can help grow your respective businesses.
• You know several of their goals for the year, including personal and/or business goals.
• You could call them at 9 o’clock at night if you really needed something.
• You would not feel awkward asking them for help with either a personal or business challenge.
• You enjoy the time you spend together.
• You have regular appointments scheduled, both business and/or personal.
• You enjoy seeing them achieve success.
• They are “top of mind” regularly.
• You have open, honest talks about how you can help each other further.

X
Throughout my career, I have had huge number of folks come to me and ask me to promote something for them. The thing is, the majority of those who contact me have never met me, never had a conversation at all. They’ve never invested in the relationship, yet they want a withdrawal from it and ask me for a favor!
Ask a Favor

When to Ask a Favor (classic video)

When is the right time to ask a favor? Building a relationship takes time, and cashing in your relationship capital before it has earned enough interest can be devastating.

The following video is classic rebroadcast of my “Ivanism” Garage to Global series, hosted by Entrepreneur.com, where I expand on catch phrases I have used frequently over the years. Originally published on March 30, 2016.

In this video, I discuss how to identify and prepare for the appropriate time to ask for a favor within the context of a business relationship. Social capital is a key factor when it comes to asking for favors from others.

Most of us have been in a situation where someone has asked for a favor before the social capital to make that kind of request. If you want to amass financial capital, you have to invest and grow your assets. Social capital works the same way. You have to invest before you can withdraw.

Throughout my career, I have had a huge number of folks come to me and ask me to promote something for them. The thing is the majority of those who contacted me had never even met me, had never had a conversation with me. If they did, they met me once and we had the briefest of conversations. They never invested in the relationship and yet they wanted a withdrawal from the relationship.

You may be shocked at the level of personal knowledge required for a deep referral relationship. You may want to argue that referrals should be all about business. I completely disagree. It takes a lot to develop this type of relationship. Those who do will certainly succeed at building a business from referrals.

When Is It Appropriate to Ask for a Favor?

So the answer to this question of when should you ask for a favor, before you ask for a withdrawal, make sure you make an investment and build a deep referral relationship.

It Never Hurts to Ask . . . Right?

How many times have we heard people say that it never hurts to ask? Surely more times than we can count. 

Well, in this video, I explain why it definitely hurts to ask sometimes–especially if you ask to soon!  I share a personal story of a recent time when a stranger contacted me via LinkedIn wanting to connect and accompanied the connection request with a note asking me something which I found inappropriate to the point that I decided right then that I was never even going to consider connecting with her.

Watch the video to hear the story and to find out why I flagged the woman’s LinkedIn request as problematic on three significant levels.  Let me just say that this is ‘Networking 101’ and if I were her teacher, she would have gotten a failing grade–this is not the way to network!  Whether you frequently participate in face-to-face networking, online networking, or both, you’ll definitely want to hear this story so you never make the three mistakes that this woman did.

I’d really love to hear your feedback on this.  What are your thoughts?  Also, please share any similar horror stories you may have in the comment forum below–I’m looking forward to hearing from you.  Thanks!

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