Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Asking For and Receiving Help in Your Tribe

Similar to how you can sometimes think of receiving as something for weaker people, it can be even more challenging to ask for help on your projects. I mean, you know that everyone is so dadgum busy with their stuff, what an imposition to ask for anyone's help, right?

Asking for help is actually a phenomenal strategy to get more of what you want, whether it's a better job, more sales, your paintings in more galleries, or party invitations.

The truth is people love to help you. It makes them feel important.

In Jill Lublin's book, Get Noticed, Get Referrals, she suggests a specific tool for getting other people involved in your business; she credits the idea to Mark LeBlanc. Both Jill Lublin and Mark LeBlanc recommend this practice for getting referrals.

It's called an Advocate List.

Write down the names of the 25 most important people in your life who are in a position to affect your business. These are your top advocates. Your strategy is to develop a way to contact each one each month, just to remind them of you and what you can do. This is not the time to ask for referrals. These are extremely busy people and you're just making a friendly connection.

Each month send them something tiny: a postcard, a newsletter, a cartoon, an article, a chocolate bar, a personal note. The idea is to keep in touch in a way that reminds people of your business.

You could also phone, fax, mail or e-mail your advocates. It's nice to catch up with people.

Lublin advises to keep your list strong and not to expand beyond 25 people. She also maintains a larger alliance list made up of friends, associates, and business contacts whom she contacts less frequently, on a quarterly basis.

If you're new in business, review your list every quarter, otherwise go over it each year to add and subtract names.

People want to help you; make it easier for them.