Six Steps to Make Any Written Request More Persuasive

Posted on / by Natalie Sisson / in Media and PR Tips / 15 comments
Amy Harrison Headshot

This is a guest post from Amy Harrison who followed her exact steps to impress me enough to publish this! She practices what she preaches. Enjoy.

The Internet has allowed us to connect and reach more people faster than ever. And if you’re a suitcase entrepreneur (or aspire to be one) you know how valuable this style of communication is for seizing opportunities,  creating joint ventures, generating affiliate relationships, securing interview requests and making other partnerships that can benefit your business.

But many people make mistakes when sending emails or written proposals to people they really want to connect with and as a result some great partnerships were never made.

If you want to increase the power in your written communication when requesting something from someone, make sure you follow these six simple rules:

Respect their rules

If you are trying to contact someone for the first time, make sure you know how they like to be contacted. Do they use Twitter a lot? Do they provide an email address or contact form? If you’re looking for a JV partner, affiliate partner or a guest post on their site, see if they have guidelines. You really don’t want to blow the chances of whatever you want them to see by storming in with a blatant disregard of their housekeeping rules.

Give them a one line summary

If you’re emailing someone, get right to the point, don’t send them a long and in depth explanation of your vision where they have to pick through 100s of words to try and piece together what it is you are proposing. Even if you have to send quite a bit of information through, make sure they know at a glance what your purpose is. Ideally, within this one line, it should include something that will benefit them.

Let’s say for example that Jane is trying to convince Sally to say yes to an interview request for her website:

“Dear Sally, my name is Jane and I wanted to invite you for an interview as a guest expert on my website. The site is read regularly by 1500 women in your target market, and I’d love to introduce you and your business to them this way.”

This way the person you’re reaching out to knows what it is you are asking, what’s in it for them, and it makes it much easier for them to filter whether or not it fits in with their business strategy.

Offer a specific, sincere and relevant compliment

If the person you are trying to reach gets many requests for their attention, a genuine compliment that is relevant to your request will make your message stand out. It’s really important to make it sincere and specific rather than simply saying “I love what you do” because it’s easy to tell someone you love what they do, but it takes a little more attention to give them a specific example, and it’s that kind of extra effort that really stands out.

For example:

“I’m a regular reader of your business blog, and I admire the inspiration you give to women, particularly through your free “confidence coaching” webinars. I know many of my readers have made great strides by following your straight-talking advice.”

The person reading this email knows that you have taken the time to become familiar with what they do, and now Sally is showing a relevance between her audience and Jane’s material.

Explain how what you propose is of interest to them

One of the biggest mistakes to make is to send a request to someone with too much focus on you and your business, your goals, and what you want. To increase the likelihood of getting a positive response, make sure your offer is attractive to them, and serves their interests as well as yours.

For example:

“I notice that you are launching your tele-series call next month. If you were happy to do an interview on your area of expertise, it would be a great introduction to your material for those who haven’t been to your site yet, and we could promote your upcoming course as well.”

Make it as easy as possible for them to respond

I know a lot of people decline requests because even though it would be a good opportunity, they’re not sure how much work would be involved, or what they would have to do next and they assume it’s going to take up a lot of their time. The best way to get a favourable response is to make it as easy as possible to take you up on your offer.

For example:

“I know you are very busy, which is why I’d only need 20 minutes of your time to do the interview. We can do it by Skype, or by phone, at a time suitable for you in the next 2 weeks. I will edit the audio and have it transcribed and can send you both in case you would like to use it as a part of a product or your own promotions.”

Pleasant persistence

If you don’t hear anything within a week, follow it up. Make sure you are pleasant, but don’t assume that because you’ve heard nothing that they don’t like your idea, it could just be that they have a million things to do and your request has slipped through the net. You could also try another method of communication for following up, such as a simple Tweet or calling their office. You want them to keep you in mind, but you don’t want to be pushy and rude, otherwise they’ll be thinking of you, but for all the wrong reasons!

So in summary:

  1. Respect their preferred way of communication.
  2. Get to the point straight away.
  3. Compliment them, but be sincere.
  4. Show them how it’s going to be amazing for them.
  5. Give them a specific and set out solution  so they just have to say ”yes”.
  6. Make yourself memorable  by following-up.

Amy Harrison is a copywriter for entrepreneurs. In addition to writing for her clients, she also coaches business owners to smash up their copywriting obstacles so they create persuasive and compelling offers. She is also the author of How To Get Your Sales Page DONE! a step-by-step guide to writing and completing your sales page.