It’s easier than you think. 

Most people don’t get what they want because they don’t know how to ask the right question.

Someone who asks:

“Can you buy my ______?”

“Can you try out my product?”

“Can you check my work and tell me what you think?”

will often be rejected or ignored because that request doesn’t give any value to the person being asked.

Let’s say a stranger walks up to you and asks for $20. Most likely, you’re going to reject, because why should you give them $20? What value do you get out of it?

On the other hand, if a stranger asks you for $20 because his daughter has Stage 4 cancer and he wants to buy her a stuffed pony but can’t afford to spend on anything else other than medical fees, you’d be more inclined to help.

Why is that? Because you find value in helping — by knowing you’ve made a difference and contributed to a greater cause, you’ll feel good about it and that’s value.

It’s a hard truth but most people aren’t going to help just because you want them to. It’s not how the world works. People help when you give them a reason to, when they receive some kind of value from doing so. It could be some kind of emotional or physical benefit, but either way as Robert Cialdini says it in his book, Influence, “people simply like to have reasons for what they do.”

The next time you ask for a favor, don’t just ask with the benefit of taking. Ask with the intention for giving.