Recently I received an email from a person I had not heard from in months. The subject line read “Help requested – new book.”  I was flattered. When I launched Upside Down Selling, I made MANY mistakes along the way. I was quite fortunate, humbled (and especially lucky) that the book hit #1 on Amazon. Even though I had not heard from the sender in more than half a year, I was happy to help her avoid some of the headaches I had experienced.  So, I clicked on the email to see the nature of her request.

I opened the email to discover that she was writing a book that she noted “would be an excellent holiday gift.” The email did not include an abstract. It did not include reviews. It did not include a sample chapter. It did, however, include a link to a page that says “Happy Holidays. Support [author’s] upcoming book. Purchase your copy today. ” I guess her thought was that people should purchase the book simply because she wrote it and wants to sell them. What an interesting approach.

Then something occurred to me:  If it is such a great holiday gift, then why is she not giving it away to her “dear friends” from whom she had no hesitation to ask for help? This falls into that trap of using the holidays as an excuse for business.

What about the subject line

Perhaps the author knew that if she wrote “help requested” that she would get kind-hearted people to open the message. It should have said “purchase requested.” At least that would have been honest. This is the same old-school tactic as when salespeople call saying it is a “survey” when they really are trying to sell something.  If you start without integrity, do you really think I’d do business with you?

Three important points to remember when you have lost touch

  1. Own it: You messed up by not keeping in touch with someone valuable in your network. You cannot erase the past six months where you did nothing of value for them.  You didn’t even bother to check-in. You can simply start by saying “I have been doing a terrible job of staying in contact with you. What remarkable things have I missed in your life and business?”
  2. Offer to help: When you reconnect, start by asking about them and offering to find areas where you can help. If you have not read “The Go-Giver,” by Bob Burg and John David Mann, now would be a good time to start. This confirms the notion that it is better to give than to receive.
  3. Discover Mutual Benefit: If you are looking for something from them, be sure to take the time to find areas of mutual value. In other words, what’s in it for them?

Your friends and close contacts are always willing to help you succeed. Once you expand beyond your closest circle, take these steps to ensure that your message does not sound like “Gimme, gimme, gimme.”

I look forward to reading examples of “out of the blue” requests you have received.