One of the most effective techniques for getting what you want is to focus on the other person’s needs.
If you already know what to ask for, write it down. Sitting down to write sounds simple enough, but it’s easier said than done. The first thing you need to do is to say goodbye to beliefs from the past.
When we ask, we can’t do it while thinking only of our own needs. Erase that thought from your mind forever! Of course, we’ll be asking for what we need, but – take note – we do so by placing our attention on the needs of the other person, be it our partner, our investor or our potential donor.
Once you know what motivates them, write your request with that in mind, in the form of a letter, an email or a specific proposal to join forces, using your words to awaken and further reinforce your common interests. That way you can be sure your request will be a win-win all around.
Your request will be a winner because you’ll be building on a winning relationship based on mutual trust and respect.
The 6 keys to writing requests and getting a Yes are:
- Use simple, everyday words
Avoid using technical language, complex terms and acronyms that only you understand. Write in a simple style that is comprehensible to any reader. I recommend you practice your request with ordinary people who have nothing to do with your project or cause. That will be the litmus test to confirm that you are using common, everyday language.
- Short and sweet
Get to the point; don’t beat around the bush. Ideally, use short, easily understood sentences. Place emphasis on the interests or concerns of your donor or investor. Write with their interests and motivations in mind, using their language.
- Tell stories that serve as an example
Put a face to each example. Tell the story from the point of view of the protagonists, using their names (while respecting confidentiality) and describing their experience and emotions. That will keep you from getting too long-winded or vague. Real human stories help the donor or investor get a better sense of the impact and benefits of the project.
- Specify benefits
Let the investor or donor know about the benefits they will obtain in exchange for their support for the project or cause. Benefits are an ideal way of strengthening the relationship over time and setting the stage for even more ambitious projects with them in the future. They are also an ideal way to build the relationship and strengthen trust over the long term.
- Be matter-of-fact about money
Don’t be afraid to talk openly about money. One simple way is to create different levels of support, with each financial contribution being tied to a number of benefits. Naturally, the higher the contribution, the greater the benefits; in turn, the greater the impact and the closer the relationship will be.
- Never stop saying thank you.
Always say thank you. Have an Attitude of Gratitude. Thank people for reading your request. Thank them if they agree to a meeting. Thank them if they turn you down. Yes. That’s right. Thank them for having devoted time and attention to your project, regardless of their answer. Take note: Asking is about serving others; about serving their needs and interests as well as your own.
The secret lies in identifying the motivations you share by speaking and writing the same language. By doing so you’ll support the shared dreams that will build winning partnerships.