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2 Rules For Making Powerful Requests

by jenny sansouci on April 11, 2014

My writing brain won’t let me sleep lately. It’s seriously the weirdest. I’ve been waking up at odd hours with blog ideas and once the idea starts writing itself…forget it, there will be no falling back asleep, no matter what time it is. I like sleeping, a lot, but I’m rolling with this for now because I’m certainly not always in this mode. Plus, if I press “publish” on a blog while my sleep mask is still pulled up on my forehead…that just makes me feel extra happy. Like yo, I don’t even have time to take this thing fully off my face, I’m feeling so damn WRITEY right now. YEAH!!

Anyway. #sleepdeprivation

I love directness. When people are direct, it just excites me because it’s courageous and confident and EFFICIENT. That’s why I’m obsessed with my best friend Jeanne. She will cut through your BS so quickly. I love listening to her talk. Do you know anyone like that? Someone who just gets right to the bottom of what’s REALLY going on? It’s awesome. And powerful.

A couple of weeks ago I completed the Landmark Advanced Course. I don’t know if I’m gonna write a full blog recap about it because it was one of the most intense experiences of my life — I don’t wanna freak you guys out more than I already do. What I will do, though, is continue to share the lessons I learned there. Yay.

Before I went through it, someone said to me, “I know this guy who went through the Advanced Course — he can get anything he wants! Everyone always says yes to him.” Well, that sounds pretty dope, right? What the heck did he learn there?!

I found out. One section of the course is about “making powerful requests.” When we got to that part, I knew this is what that person was talking about. And now I’m here to share it with you, my little requesters!!!

To teach us about powerful requests, our course leader asked someone to come up to the microphone and practice making a request. A man gets up on the mic. 

“Is there anybody here who might be able to help me with my financial situation…or perhaps knows somebody else who might be able to help me?”

Course leader stops him. “What are you asking for?” 

“I am having some problems with a certain financial issue. I am looking for someone who might be able to help me, or knows someone who can?”

“What are you really asking for?”

“I need money.”

“Ask for what you really need. Be more clear.”

“I need $5,000.”

“Be more specific about the terms of your request.” 

“I need $5,000 by Tuesday.”

“Great. Now, say it again, with consideration for the person who might fulfill your request.”

“I need someone to lend me $5,000 by Tuesday. I’ll pay you back by ____ date with ___% interest. If you can do that, please meet me in the lobby at the next break, next to the water fountain.” 

THERE YOU GO. THANK YOU. See what just happened there? That was so freaking awesome.

Right after that, a girl in the course stood up, and in the spirit of powerful requests, she proposed to her boyfriend. Literally. In Landmark. He said yes.

Do you find yourself making requests or invitations to people – and your requests are rejected, aren’t taken seriously, or they just completely go unanswered?

Chances are, you failed to meet 2 criteria:

  1. Your request was unclear.
  2. Your request didn’t occur as an opportunity to the other person.

We all make unpowerful requests. I do it all the time. Often, the way I see it, we make unpowerful requests for a few reasons: fear of rejection, fear of commitment, or just pure laziness about crafting a clear and direct opportunity.

The 2 areas I’ll focus on here are business and dating, but you can apply it to whatever you want.

Dating example: I met this guy, I thought he was cool and we had a good conversation. He would text me every so often — “It would be fun to hang out sometime. Let me know if/when you might be free.” I would always respond “Sounds good!” and then nothing would ever happen.

What’s the issue with this request? Well, quite frankly, unless you’re Adrian Grenier, or someone else I’m DEFINITELY, 100% “fuck yes” interested in dating, I’m not gonna sit around brainstorming all day about if or when I might be free.

This text scenario went on for a few months, until one day he texted me this: “Hey, I’m hitting up the farmer’s market in my neighborhood at 11am on Saturday. Have you been to that one? It’s AWESOME. Do you want to come?”

Ah, yes. THANK YOU. When you say it like that, of course I want to come. And we had a great little day together.

You get it, right? The farmer’s market request was so much more powerful. It was very clear, and it occurred as an opportunity to me. I LOVE farmer’s markets. Either way, even if I wasn’t sure about a romantic connection with this guy, I knew I’d have fun there. Boom. Done.

Flirting for months over text might be cute, but being direct is hot.

Business example: As a blogger, I get emails all the time with the following kind of requests:

“Hey! I’ve been following your blog for awhile, and I would love to meet you in person and have a green juice and just pick your brain. ”

“Hi! I’m in the wellness field too, I also graduated from IIN. I was thinking we could collaborate on something! Let’s brainstorm.”

“Hi, I know you don’t know me, but I was wondering if you could take just 20 minutes of your time for a phone call to tell me all about how you started your web site?

“I represent a brand I think would be totally aligned with Healthy Crush. If you could write about it, that would be awesome! Please check out my site.”

What’s the issue with these requests? While I appreciate every person who reaches out to me (I really do), usually these requests are pretty unclear, and it makes me feel like I have to do extra work and thinking just to figure out what our potential relationship could possibly be. Most people won’t spend time doing that unless they know you, you’re friends, or it ALREADY occurs to them as an obvious opportunity. 

Therefore, the person you make the request to will probably think to themselves, “I’ll look at this later, when I have endless hours available to brainstorm and answer emails.” (AKA, never). The emails sit there and people forget about them.

So what’s the answer when it comes to making POWERFUL BUSINESS REQUESTS that get answered immediately? Again:

1. Clarity

2. Opportunity.

Let’s change it up so these requests REEK OF POWER. 

“Hi Jenny, I own a water filter company and I’d like to send you a free one. If you try it out and like it, it would be great if you could post about it on your blog or instagram it (if you do, tag us here @____ ).

We also have an affiliate program – if you love the filter and want to sell it on your site, you’ll get 15% commission on every sale. Here’s the link to sign up for the affiliate program. There are text links, banner ads, and sample copy available there.

If you’re interested, please send me your mailing address.

If you decide to post about it on your blog, we’ll share your link on our Facebook page (link)!”

FABULOUS. Done. Clarity. Opportunity. I need a new water filter, I understand EXACTLY what they are asking for, and I never have to do any “brainstorming” or back-and-forth about it. All I have to do is respond with my mailing address and it’s game on.

Here’s another:

“Hi Jenny – I would love to interview you about your outlook on _____ (vegetables, love, whatever). Here are 3 questions I came up with. If you could write back with your answers by Friday, I’ll post about it on my own blog (link here) and I’ll blast it out to my Facebook and Twitter followers, too. I don’t have a big following yet but I’m working on building it, and I’m a huge fan of your work. I’ll link to your site, of course.”

DUH, I’ll do that.

Get the difference?

YES. I know you do. The reality is — most people are just really busy, so streamlining your requests this way is just a more powerful and effective way to live. And if you notice that you mostly make unpowerful requests, it’s ok – we all do. Like I said, I personally make unpowerful requests all the time. Every day.

It’s a muscle that’s gotta be flexed. This is no guarantee that you’ll get a YES to every request, but at least you’re putting something real and tangible on the table.

Mmm. Sweet, sweet clarity.

So next time you’re making a request, ask yourself if it’s CLEAR, and if it will occur to the other person as an OPPORTUNITY.

This is a game changer when it comes to getting what you want. I promise. :)

If you have any examples, please share!!! I love this stuff.




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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Leah Heine April 11, 2014 at 12:22 pm

This totally hits home for me. Especially a guy saying we should go out sometime let me know when you are free. Sounds good. Then I hear nothing. This makes total sense!!!!! You rock!

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jenny sansouci April 12, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Yeah! Totally. :) Glad you found it helpful!

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Regina April 11, 2014 at 3:03 pm

YESS!! I love this. Thank Jenny, this is a true game changer!

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jenny sansouci April 12, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Thanks, Regina! Changing the game is my favorite.

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Mary April 11, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Great blog, Jenny! I am very guilty of these kinds of requests and I do it for fear of being rejected. But it’s funny because while the response is usually not outright rejection but silence it delivers the same effect. It certainly doesn’t achieve the result I was after. How ironic that in my attempt to be polite and non-aggressive I actually bring about the very response I was trying to avoid. Ha! So enlightening. Thank you!

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jenny sansouci April 12, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Happy it helped, Mary. I totally feel you on that. Everyone does it. But how much more efficient and clear would we all be if we just asked for what we really wanted!? HUMANS!!!! We live in bonkersville.

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Kelly May 2, 2014 at 8:48 am

I’m embarrassed because I just sent you an email like the ones above asking to think about collaborating after gushing on how I love your site ( which is the heartfelt honest truth). There’s alot of conflicting teachings out in the online marketing world- especially for us health coaches as we kick start our online presence. I say this because I’ve been previously taught do not ask to work together in the first email. Build a relationship. To me this doesn’t make sense and I am THRILLED to read your post. I am busy too. I want things to launch- now! I don’t have time to be “sold” either. As fun as building relationship can be, it takes time. If I am trying to break out in my business right now I want affiliates to work with me now! I can make decisions instantly. I want to work with others who can too. This hit home and found me at the perfect time. Thanks Jenny~

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jenny sansouci May 2, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Hi Kelly! Don’t be embarrassed!! I appreciate every single email I get! I always just feel so guilty not responding to everyone who wants to brainstorm/collaborate, so I thought I would make it easier and write this blog post. :) So happy you found it helpful. I think building relationships is awesome, but sometimes that type of thing can get lost over the internet/email.

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Patricia May 2, 2014 at 11:11 am

I printed out a copy of “Which version of yourself are you feeding” because I thought it was so powerful and it reminds me to consider that question of myself every day. I shall be doing the same with this posting.
xo, Patricia

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jenny sansouci May 2, 2014 at 1:20 pm

AMAZING. You’re so awesome. I love hearing that. I’ve only ever printed out one blog before, and it felt like a big deal. :)

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Patricia May 3, 2014 at 8:55 pm

“Often, it is audacity and not talent that moves an artist to center stage.” ….Mind = Blown (!!!!) Thanks for linking that!!!

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Molly May 27, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Hi Jenny — how was your experience in the Advanced Course? I recently finished the Forum, and really am happy with my personal results and feel great from it. I signed up for the Advanced Course, but now am wondering if it really is worth it — that is, how much will I get out of it? Should I perhaps see how much I will get out of my experience in the Forum itself, and take time to see how its effects play out in my life?

I don’t want to say that I’m doubting that the Advanced Course is necessary… I’m just unsure. Do you have any thoughts?

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Greg August 11, 2014 at 2:20 am

I asked a girl out by text to go to the movies. She said “yes we can do that, and I myself just answered back with “Let me know when you’re free.” And she replied “Ok cool I’ll let you know.” I don’t know why I did this! Maybe because I know her schedule is not fixed. Should I text her something in order to fix this situation?

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