Connecting with Others: What Have You Done for Me Lately?

February 28, 2007 - Get free updates of new posts here

This post is not what have you done for me but for everyone you deal with in your day.

I like connecting with others. I like meeting people. There are others like me. The problem I am realizing is that when people try to connect with others it is very 1 sided. For example:

Noah: Hey God, I would love to be able to fly. Big Props. Thanks!
God: Uh, Thanks, delete email.
Noah: Dang, why has God not responded to me. This blows.
God: Wow, my life rules.

People completely forget about the other persons busy schedule, life problems, struggles, challenges and other things. Consider offering a benefit or some valuable reason for the person you want to chat with you in person. I get an email every few days to chat and I LOVE people reaching out to me. Read about the BEST cold email I ever gotI would LOVE more if they were very specific about what they wanted and where there is a reason to meet. I HATE when people ask stupid questions. Questions that they can 1) find the answer to online or 2) don’t really help them, and 3) is terribly boring for me to answer. Questions can be powerful if you ask the right question and in the right way.

For example:

Random person: Noah, I see you worked at Facebook and I am creating a great product too. Please post about my site, give me exact product feedback and I would love an introduction to Mark Zuckerberg.
Noah: Yes, anything you say. I was also going to give you the keys to my Honda Del Sol. Anything else?
Random person: Could you also invest $5,000?
Noah: Why not? And then I can sell you my soul for a twenty.

You need to make it easy for people to say YES to your request. Here is what the person should do when contacting a stranger for help:

1- Flattery – Hey Noah, love your site
2- Research – I saw you worked at Intel and I did a summer internship there.
3- Benefit – I passed along your site to 10 friends because I thought it was awesome.
4- Request – I would love to hear more about your life and possibly see what you think on this project I am working on.

guy kawasaki


A lot of people asked me how much it cost me to get Guy Kawasaki to speak at Community Next. Too much! Just kidding.

Here are the benefits I offered while bugging him to do an entrepreneur27 event with me over the past 2 years:

  • Helped him with marketing his portfolio companies
  • Invited him to lunch at Facebook
  • Bought him a hockey jersey
  • Said many nice compliments
  • Tons of hugs if he wanted;)

Bottom line: If you ask someone you don’t know for something try to offer them some benefits. That’s how to convince people.

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30 responses to “Connecting with Others: What Have You Done for Me Lately?

  1. Damon Billian Reply

    Hi Noah,

    The same thing applies when contacting someone for real help. You would be surprised at how many emails I get like this:

    “I need help”. (with what?)

    “This isn’t working.” (what’s not working)

    “I’m having problems.” (what’s the problem)

    What, when, where & why are also valuable pieces of information that folks often leave out.

  2. Tony Chung Reply

    Great post Noah. I recently got an e-mail from an acquaintance asking me to teach them to use Pro Tools / Garage Band (music production software) — something I’ve more or less mastered over the years. It was a random e-mail from a person I don’t even know that well. Bad move… The least she could’ve done was touch base first, etc. I was tempted to delete the e-mail (I think I did…).

    On a sidenote, it usually becomes pretty obvious when someone is contacting you for ulterior motives. I think the bottom line is to be more mindful when contacting someone for a favor. i.e.:

    How many other people have already done what I’m about to do?

  3. Christie Reply

    I am cracking up reading this….this is my life and I am so not popular like you 🙂

    Anyhow, I keep waiting to read about your new place. Did you find a place to live/move?

    Cheers

    Christie

  4. Chris Mullins Reply

    Great ideas Noah. I recently experienced “what have you done for me” while doing some marketing for my website. I was posting, what I thought was, useful information to a yahoo group, with only small mention of my company. The group moderator banned the post. I chatted with her but couldn’t convince her that I didn’t have an ulterior motive. In hindsight I should have tried to build a better relationship with the moderator first. Flattery and benefit will get you far.

    You RRS feed has been in my reader for a while and I have recommended your site to friends. Done.

  5. Noah Kagan Reply

    Christie,

    I am now sleeping at my friend Prashanth from saynow.com place in Mountain View. Following that my friend JT said I could stay with him at his parents house. Then Sasha’s house (he lives with his parents) for April. Then a few places lined up but not confirmed following that. I will do a more thorough post in a while about my living=)

    Tony, great question to pose for people. One amazing thing is Seth Godin who responds to EVERY email. He only says a few words but that is some amazing customer service. At least your friend could have sent one oh you are the greatest singer email. After that maybe she could take you out for lunch and then garage band time.

    Damon, it should be a requirement to say how can I help you before they ask for anything. I would be MORE than willing to help them afterwards. The same goes for my commenters/readers, seriously a few have asked me for things and I am more than willing to do it because they comment and read my stuff. That is all I ask for.

  6. Will Reply

    One of the mantras I try to live my life by is treat others as you expect to be treated. This goes a long way if you think “hey, would I want someone to ask that of me” before you go off and ask them, if your answer is no, then do not bother them. A little common courtesy goes a long way!

  7. Noah Kagan Reply

    Chris,

    I think the formula is build first, ask later…Okay you subscribe now I will do whatever you want=)

    I think one general key is to be authentic and sincere. Fakeness will get you no where.

    Will,

    I think that is a reasonable way to think about it. How would I want it….

  8. Marshall Middle Reply

    Noah, I’ve been reading your great site, before it got it’s total extreme makeover and it’s sweet. What I can and will do for you is promote MyMint on my site because I think that it’s a cool idea (who doesn’t like free programs). The value to you and MyMint is that I am somewhat active in the personal finance blogosphere and will be able to reach a lot of people (hopefully a bunch will sign up). I also will continue reading your site because it’s freshing. What I ask in return is nothing, except keep writing about interesting things, people, ideas, and companies and don’t stop kicking ass.

  9. Will Kern Reply

    One thing I forgot to mention in my previous comment is that it is all about reciprocity. The world is a two way street, but unfortunately there are a lot of people that think it is only one way!

    Will

    BTW, just dugg it!

  10. Jon Speer Reply

    Noah,
    I feel like your message could be directed at me! Is flattery after the fact acceptable? I do love your site and did forward it to 4 (not just 2) friends. I like how you add “customer service” to all who comment and send you an email. I caught your presentation to Berkley recently. You mentioned a couple of projects you have in the works that sound frickin’ cool. Please share!
    Cheers,
    j

  11. Jason H. Reply

    Great Post, Noah 🙂

    This is called “Principle of Reciprocity�—i.e. You reap what you sow, or you get what you give. In other words, people will reciprocate in kind based upon the way you treat them, and the world gives you what you give to the world.

    $20 for Noah’s soul. What a bargain. I’ll take it, or can you gift wrap that 🙂

  12. Robert Franklin Reply

    Noah,

    You have truly been a source of enlightenment for me. How did you get so smart at such a young age? Perhaps the other way of asking that question is why did it take me so long to get this concept? I maybe slow but I am always trying to learn new tricks 🙂

  13. Jeremy Reply

    Noah, most USEFUL post i’ve read in quite a while. you hit the nail on the head here. in fact, i like it so much i’ll buy you a burrito.

  14. Prince Reply

    Hi Noah!

    That is a brilliant advice! We are all human and want to know whats in there for me. You forgot even to forfeit your Austin Apartment Keys to that “Random Person”; together with the Honda keys.

    As for dumb questions and request about intro to Mark; this response I think would serve the random-being beautifully . Noah: “About intro to Zuckerberg; what about befriending him on facebook?”

    We should learn to take offer value first; before we EVER ASK for anything.

    Thanks Noah!

    P.S: And I am serious on this dude: “Did you know the “SINGLE MOST REASON” I subscribed to your email list; and connected to you is because of the HUG you gave to a nervous dude in your INTERVIEW with Tim Ferriss about ‘Validating Your Business’?(I hadn’t learn much about your amazing practical advice on marketing. It was the first time to see you) You truly give those big Hugs. keep it up!

  15. armslem Reply

    Hey Noah

    I find all your articles great and one thing i particularly like about them is that they are fun yet professional, which made me write the post why conventional marketing fails. Wonder what i can offer you though, but i enjoyed your interview with Andrew Warner at Mixergy.com the course relating to HR. I am yet to make my first dollar on-line as i keep hitting stomps that is part due to NO Budget haha “i guess you can’t get something out of nothing”. Thanks for this post it definitely will help me with cold emails