When I first ran for the Oklahoma House of Representatives I wanted to win! One of my strategies was to get as many yard signs with my name on them in people’s yards as possible. I succeeded. I was told by many political observers that they had never seen so many signs. I won the election.
How did I get people to agree?
I asked for a favor.
Every time I talked to anyone when I was ending the conversation I said, “Could I ask you for a favor?” Let’s think about that for a moment. Have you ever asked someone if they would do you a favor and have them say “no” without at least considering it? I haven’t either.
Why is that? It’s because people are basically helpful! If someone can help you out and it doesn’t cost them anything or inconvenience them, they will almost always do it.
Three Free Keys to Offering Favors
So, if we want someone to do us a favor we need to do three things:
Make the favor free of cost to the grantor
Make the favor convenient or easy to grant
In my political race I was never told no when I inquired if I could ask for a favor—even when the person I was asking planned to vote for my opponent(s)! Human helpfulness is powerfully ingrained. Now, interestingly to me, when I asked for a simple favor of being allowed to put a yard sign up I got a “yes” answer 50% of the time from people who were planning to vote for one of my opponents!
The Power in Asking
Asking for a favor is an extremely powerful thing. What favors can you ask of people you encounter in building your agency? Here are a few ideas: “Can I quote your business?” “Will you let me use a testimonial?” or “Will you refer me to _____?” There are many others. Use your imagination.
Let me ask you something. How many of the people with my yard sign in their yard walked past it on Election Day to vote for someone else? Not many, according to the race results! How many people will do business with you if they’ve given you a referral or a testimonial? How many of them will leave your agency for a few dollars when they’ve done that? Not many, I’ll bet.