Getting people to do what you ask, especially people who don’t really know you, is hard.
Unless you make it easy.
Some of the biggest roadblocks that keep people from saying "yes" when you ask them to do something is that what you’re asking is too involved, too complicated, takes too much time, or they don’t know how.
In other words, it’s too hard to say yes.
In order to get past those roadblocks, you need to compensate for three underlying factors that are present in every human being.
1. What’s in it for me?
You’ve probably heard marketing advice that says your marketing needs to answer the question "what’s in it for me?"
There’s a reason that advice won’t go away…because it’s true.
As people, we all have a certain amount of selfishness inside of us (some more than others). And one way that selfishness comes out is when we’re asked to take action, we ask why. Why should I do this? What’s in it for me?
In fact, if you really dug deep into the human psyche, you could make the argument that everything we do has a selfish motivation at its core. We make donations because helping others makes us feel good. We care for our loved ones because we want them to be safe. We volunteer to help causes we believe in. We only take action when we think it’s worthwhile to do so.
So if you want people to do what you ask of them, you need to address this central issue by clearly conveying what they will gain by helping you.
2. Resistance is futile.
Just like natural forces such as water and electricity, people follow the path of least resistance.
In other words, we’re all just a little bit lazy.
So if you want people to do what you ask, you need to make it easy for them to do so. You need to do the work for them.
Regardless of what you’re asking someone to do, if it’s too involved, has too many steps, or takes too much effort on their part, they will most likely say no.
In order to get them to say yes, do as much as you can so they have to do as little as possible. Just like the Staples "easy button," if you can make saying yes to your request as easy as pushing a button you’ll have much more success getting people to do what you ask.
3. Busy little bees.
Everyone is busy these days.
We rush to work, rush home, throw together dinner, get the kids ready for bed, take care of whatever additional tasks or obligations we have, collapse in bed, then do the whole thing over again the next day.
That leaves very little time for doing something for someone else, especially if it’s someone you barely know.
So if you ask someone to do something that takes too much time, chances are they will set it aside until the can get around to it…which will end up being never.
We’re all just too busy.
If you want people to say yes when you ask them to do something, you need to have things set up and ready to go. You need to prepare whatever it is you’re asking them to do so it takes as little of their time as possible.
If it’s quick and easy, you’re much more likely to get a "yes."
The bottom line
Whether you’re asking someone to buy something, donate to a cause, volunteer, or just help you with something, if you want them to say yes you need to make it easy for them to do so. Remove the roadblocks that keep them from helping you and you’ll have better success in your efforts. Plus, by making it easy for the other person, you’ll seem just a little more awesome to them.
How have you got someone to say "yes" to a request in the past just by making it easy for them to do so? Share your story in the comments below.