When you need something from someone, you must be worthy of their time. In this series’ third installment, Ken Courtright highlights the importance of building a positive reputation before asking for something from somebody. Taking time to study and doing some research and development is necessary when you want a mentor to say yes to you or a bank to approve your loan or any organization to welcome you.
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The Ask Is Everything Part 3
Build It First
This is episode 59. It is called The Ask Is Everything Part 3, with the subtitle of Build It First. We’re hitting every possible angle of things that affect business growth. We can agree, going back to some of the greatest business books of all time, specifically Think and Grow Rich, that is the pivotal book that spawned the age of the mastermind group. The book of collective wisdom. The mind that got you into the challenge, can’t get you out of the challenge, etc. There is a lot to be said for seeking and asking for mentorship. No matter who you are, there is a right and wrong way to ask for mentorship and it only happens if you ask. Let’s get clear. Mentors don’t come to you. It doesn’t work like that. You ask for them. That’s how it goes.
The title of this episode is The Ask Is Everything. Let’s do a couple of comparisons. I’m going to start with an easy one. For anybody reading this that’s ever gone for a bank loan, I don’t mean for a car, I mean for a business. A good 90% of the time the bank is going to require a business plan even though they won’t necessarily read it. What’s interesting is you do this exercise. It’s three to a million pages long. It’s got all these compartments. The bottom line is you build something before you ask for the money. Meaning, you go out of your way, you structure, you forecast, you look at history and you build something. When you hand the banker that well thought out business plan, you then ask for your check, your money, whatever you’re looking for.Mentors don't come to you. It doesn't work like that. You ask for them. Click To Tweet
I remember back in the day, this has nothing to do with a business plan. This is way long ago. I remember talking to a high-end marketer and he said to me, “I’ve tried to get seven governmental links to our websites and I’m all for seven.” I said, “Let me get this straight. You want to get the government to link to your site, why?” He was educating me that a .gov link to a website can instantly raise traffic and revenues sometimes overnight. I said, “Why is that?” He said, “Usually a .edu and a .gov website are trusted by Google more than anything. If you could get a website listed in the tools and resource section of a .gov website, it could make you a fortune.” I remember saying to myself, “I wonder how he’s asking for the government to link to him.” I said to this gentleman, “How did you go about requesting those governmental websites to link to you?” He says, “I asked.” I remember saying to myself, “I’m not going to tell this guy, but the ask is everything.”
Instantly, my brain went to a business plan. If I’m going to ask for $100,000 which I’ve done before, I wrote a business plan and I got the money. I built something first before I asked for something. In our company’s history, we’re seven for seven asking the government to link to something of ours. The reason is this. In every single case, we physically built something of substance. We spent thousands of dollars in each case building something that we knew beforehand the government would use. They would like it, they’d love it, and they’d find it incredibly valuable. When we presented it to them and said, “Would you review this for us? Would you list this in your tools and resource section?” They were like, “Of course, I will. This is amazing.”
To give you an example. On a moving company website, where it was moving intrastate and interstate, we built an incredible app that continually updated the approved movers in a seven state area. The government said, “This is going to save us so much time and money keeping track of all these moving companies. Of course, we will list it in the tools and resource section of our website.” Let’s relate this to mentorship. If you know that someone who you think is unreachable, they’re the apex of your field, they’re twenty steps above you, they make infinitely more money than you, but you know they would be your perfect mentor. Can you imagine if you called them out of the blue and said, “Would you mentor me?” What do you think they would probably say? My guess is, “I’m busy. I can’t do it right now. Let’s have a coffee.”
What do you think would happen if you took the time and study this person? Even if they’re a total stranger. You track them down for two months. You know where they speak. You know their last book inside and out. You read their blogs. You’re on their podcasts. You know this person. What if you reach out to them and you say, “I’ve been following you for six months. Where I’m incredibly weak, you seem to be incredibly strong. I can tell by how you hire these people at your company.” You build them up and you say, “It’s probably too early to ask that you mentor me, but is there any way I could take you out for coffee and ask you a series of questions to see if I’m right in my assessment that maybe we’re a perfect fit.”
I’m making this part up as a figure of speech, but what if you said, “I’m the president of your fan club. I don’t know if you realize it, but I’ve got about 400 people following you on Twitter. I’ve got 60 people that hear your podcast every week or have read every book you’ve ever written.” What if you built it up that way and you treated it like a business plan and you built something first before you asked for something. The point of this episode, The Ask Is Everything Part 3, is before you go ask somebody for something, does it warrant that you take some time and study and do some research and development, and you build something first that could be presented to that person that would make the ask an inevitable yes. I hope this helps. See you on the trail.
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