When you land on a website, you make an immediate judgment. You’re noticing a number of things, but what it really boils down to is whether it’s a giving page or a taking page.

It’s really simple to tell. People are tuned to recognizing it almost immediately. It’s all in the language.

We make an immediate judgment:

Is this offering value to me or trying to take something from me?

Websites with popups asking for your email address are taking pages. They’ve provided you zero value, yet they’re asking something of you. We’re sensitive to that. We immediately see it as a taking page.

We’re very quick to tune out noise and we’re quick to recognize spam. Robert Cialdini in his book, Influence, talks about the Hare Krishna technique of giving a flower to passersby and say that it was a gift. Once the gift was accepted, they would ask for a donation.

The is the Rule of Reciprocity in action.

Reciprocity is simply a form of the word reciprocate—which is to respond in like gesture. Do for someone else as they have done for you.

Buy A Coffee, Get A Lunch

Let me give you an example: If you buy someone coffee, the other person feels like they owe you. However what’s interesting here is that they not only feel they owe you a coffee, but this sense of indebtedness transcends the actual value of the original gift.

People are so opposed to feeling a sense of obligation or debt to someone that they will go above and beyond in reciprocating that favor so as to wipe any trace of indebtedness.

Here’s how this plays out in reality: when you buy someone a coffee, rather than them merely buying you a coffee in return, they will be inclined to get lunch the next time the two of you go out.

Emails – You’re Doing It Wrong

This same psychology applies to emails as well. Every day I get emails asking for things. I give with my videos, I give with my podcasts, and I give with my newsletters—all centered around helping you. If anything, you would think people would be giving back to me! But instead, I get these taking emails—people using up my precious time to solicit something from me.

I can recognize this in under 1 second. Like I said earlier, it’s all in the language.

  • Here’s what they contain:
  • “I want, we want, give us, give me, take my, send me, promote my, sign up for our.”

  • Here’s what I hear:
  • “Me me me, me me me me. Me me me me—me me. Me. P.S., me.”

How to Get Influencers to Respond & Promote You

The biggest problem is people are not providing value before they ask for something. That’s not how this works! You are not going to reach anyone that matters this way.

I get these taking emails every single day. You know what happens to them? They get ignored. Also, if they email me again in the future, I’m going to see the last one they sent and it taints their image. There’s a 99% chance I’m going to dismiss them even if they do everything right the second time.

You only have one chance to make the first impression.

Let that first impression be you offering to help, you providing value, you giving and not just taking. If you mess this up, you’re automatically labeled as a taker. Takers get ignored. Nobody likes takers.

Here’s the worst one: people that reply to my newsletter, where I just provided value to them, and ask for something. They want to take more. This is working against the Rule of Reciprocity.

1-Step Formula to Building Relationships

I want to share my 1-Step Formula to getting someone with influence to either:

  • Respond to you.
  • Help you.
  • Maybe even promote your stuff.

That’s right, I said 1-step Formula. Here it is:

  1. Give them something of value, no strings attached.

Period. The end. Nothing else. This is the only way you will even get a chance at getting a response back or help from someone. You can’t ask for it first, you have to provide value. Even then, that’s just the cost of entry. Chances are you still won’t get anything from them because they probably deserved whatever you gave them because they’ve already given you so much value. That’s why you’ve even heard of them in the place.

You have to build the relationship first. If you even want a fighting chance, you have to establish yourself as a giver and not a taker. The only way to do that is to give with no strings attached.

  • Do not ask for something in the first email.
  • Don’t even ask for something in the second email.

I don’t even want to see the words “me” or “my” in your entire message. The language should be about you. You, you, you, you.

  • How can I help you?
  • Is there anything I can do for you?
  • Do you need any assistance with [x]? (your specialty)
  • Hey, I noticed this. I went ahead and did this for you.
  • Thanks for everything that you do.

Step 2 is repeat Step 1, keep giving more. You have to get this through your head or you will be ignored. There are a million people out there that all they want to do is take.

They want to take my time, my money, my attention, my resources, my advice, my exposure, my audience, my endorsement—they’re a dime a dozen—they’re cheaper than a dime a dozen.

You want to stand out? Be different. That means giving.

It’s Relationship Marketing 101.

I’ve had people reach out to me and say, “Hey, if you ever need help with [x], I’m your guy. Let me know if I can ever do anything for you.” Period. We ended up talking more. We starting chatting, back and forth. They provided value, I provided value, and a relationship was built.

Eventually, they interviewed me for their show. Then I highlighted them with a post dedicated specifically to them. I promoted them to my entire audience and put them in the spotlight. I’ve done this numerous times.

Motivated To Out-Give

Compare the objective value: They gave me some advice for maybe a few minutes. I gave them exposure to tens of thousands. It’s not even close to the same thing! I gave them way more than they gave me, but that’s the beauty of the Rule of Reciprocity. Once I see you as someone who is a giver, now I am motivated to out-give you.

See, you’re so focused on getting whatever you can, that you straight up ask for it without even providing value. In doing so, you blow your chances of getting anything because you’re labeled as a taker.

What you should be doing is incentivizing someone’s inherent generosity.

Giving incentivizes giving.

By offering value to them with no strings attached, they’re now motivated to out-give you. Not only do you feel good, but you made them feel good for giving, and you get more than you could have even hoped for in the first place.