Want Something? All you have to do is ask! 5 Ways Asking Works.

talking-boxesI was recently at a Cincinnati Web Entrepreneurs Meetup, and we had a brief discussion about asking people to do something for you.  The reality is that if you are nice and respectful and people like you, you will probably get the best results just by asking.

In the PR and Marketing world we often get caught up with “if I want someone to do something, what incentive can I offer them?  What can I offer them?”

Here are some examples:

1. User or Customer Feedback – Ask For It!

When I worked at photrade we had customers who would send us pages and pages of ideas and feedback on our site.  Someone even read our terms of service and pointed out some typos.  If you ask people for feedback and actually show that you care and will use it, average people can give you better advice than paid consultants – all for free!  You don’t have to spend tons of money on focus groups – people who like you will help you for free!

2. The Science of Re-Tweets – Just ask!

Dan Zarella recently wrote a post on the science of retweets.  The findings?  The most commonly retweeted phrases include “please retweet”.  Just by asking people will tweet about you.  Apparently *asking* is a scientifically proven way to get retweeted!

3. Want Comments – Ask for them?

A number of professional bloggers provide tips on how to get more comments on your blog.  One of the most recommended ways?  Ask for them.  Both problogger and copyblogger advise readers that just asking for comments will actually increase the number of comments on your site.

4. PR Efforts?  Quid pro Quo Seems Lame.  Just Ask.

In recent work with a client we offered an exchange – post about us and we’ll give you something free.  A number of people responded and said – I love you guys – I’ll post about you and I don’t want anything back.  Some bloggers and tweeple don’t treat their streams as an advertising platform and they may feel cheapened or offended by these kinds of requests.  Want people to talk about you?  Just ask them to!  If they are fans or supporters they’ll be thrilled that you asked.

5. Need Help? Ask for it!

A great example of asking in action happened when David Armano asked for help for a friend who his family had taken in.  He initially wanted to raise $5,000 to help her and her family get started in their own apartment and ended up raising over $16,000.  The key is to be genuine, authentic an develop relationships, and you’ll be surprised how many people will help.


It is constantly surprising how much people will give you for free.  Look at wikipedia?  For free, people update it and answer information on it all the time.  People are motivated by a variety of factors – sharing, the kindness of their hearts, validation, feeling like an expert, etc.

These motivations can be much stronger than a free sample or a small amount of money.

So the next time you need something – Just Ask!

Please leave a comment and share your experiences 🙂  When has asking worked for you?


  1. Jeff Ruby has raised $40,000 at the Precinct for the young woman injured while riding in a cab on Columbia Parkway. Just by asking – and offering people something in return. That’s a lot of money just from one restaurant! And all because he asked.

  2. Hi Alex

    I have seen the fundraisers for her. What a great example. Thanks for stopping by the blog – I hope that things are going well with you.

    – Krista

  3. Hi Krista,

    In all my years of recruiting, digital media marketing has to be the most fun. Not a technologist, I get frustrated and find myself in information anxiety trying to connect with people. However, I find the “ask” for help is very effective and I am most thankful that people are willing to refer great candidates.

  4. Hi Sue

    I have seen social media work out well for recruiters. I think that it works because all parties benefit – I benefit by forwarding a great opportunity to a friend, my friend gets a wonderful opportunity and the recruiter benefits by getting qualified candidates.

    I also saw asking work this week – I requested a googvoice invite and got 10 offers in under 2 minutes!

    Thanks for contributing to the discussion here!

    – Krista

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