The Right Way To Ask For A Favor // Black Bow Dress + Polka Dot Tights
You know those people that literally every time you see a text or email from them, you know they’re about to ask you for a favor? I feel like everyone knows at least one person like that, and needless to say, they’re not usually well received. At first, you’re happy to help. After all, favors are essential to growing and succeeding in the business world, but there’s a thin line between asking for a favor and taking advantage of someone. So as always, I’m writing a blog post on the proper etiquette of asking for a favor in the hopes of promoting better business relationships whatever your industry.
- Recognize that goodwill is not unlimited.
Just because someone happily did a favor for you once, it does not mean that they should now be your go-to girl anytime you need something. If all you do is take and never give back, you will ruin what once was a positive relationship.
- Keep your demands in check.
The subject of asking for contacts is a bit taboo (maybe I’ll talk about it in another post), but if there’s a company you’re dying to work with, using proper etiquette, you should be able to ask someone you know to connect you. That being said, regardless of how you ask, you should generally keep your request to one brand at a time and never ask someone to share their entire contact list with you.
- Consider offering to pay.
A true favor doesn’t generally come with monetary compensation, but if you are asking for a fairly large favor where the other person actually has to spend time to help you, definitely cover any expenses that come up, and maybe offer to pay or at least take the person out to dinner.
- Allow the person a way out.
Whatever you do, don’t corner a person into saying yes. I always prefer when people email me business requests rather than text or approach me at events where I feel pressured to oblige. Email is also a great way to explain exactly what you’re looking for and express gratitude. I usually end those types of emails with, “No worries either way!” and I make sure the person knows I mean it.
- Try to avoid making every favor a business transaction.
There are some people I know that get right to the chase and bluntly offer you a favor in exchange for one. This definitely works in some cases and the transparency can be refreshing, but in more cases than not, this usually rubs me the wrong way. I would rather help you out with something and just know that I can count on you if I need anything in the future than start making everything tit for tat. I find that’s the best way to maintain a genuine relationship.
- Be clear about what you want.
When you’re asking for a favor, the other person shouldn’t have to work to figure out how to help. I get a lot of messages asking me for blog advice. When I ask if the person has any specific questions, more times than not, I get the following response, “Nothing specific, just want advice on how to have a successful blog.” I’m not about to start trying to compile my 5 years of trial and error into an email back, so be specific or don’t expect solid answers.
- Never use guilt.
You would be surprised how many times I’ve received sob stories that are attached to favor requests. I feel terrible that your dog is sick, but I’m just not going to use my platform to start raising money for his surgery.
- Never ask for more than two favors in a row.
Even one favor deserves a little reciprocation, but if you haven’t given back after receiving favor number two, hold up before asking for anything else. If you don’t know how to give back, shoot the person an email saying, “I just wanted to say thank you for all your help in the past. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.”
- Give back.
Giving back should be done thoughtfully and with the other person in mind. This is pretty much self-explanatory, but just make sure that what you are giving back is something the other person will actually appreciate.
- Always say thank you.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve hooked people up with PR people, fashion shows, and amazing paid collabs. I’m always happy to do it, but nothing makes me not want to help someone again than when they don’t say thank you or even go ahead and take the credit for themselves.
Black Bow Dress: ASOS
Black Fur Stole: Zara
Black Polka Dot Tights: Item M6 (c/o)
Moonbeam Druzy Drop Earrings: Bauble Bar (c/o)
Black 712 Camera Bag: Henri Bendel (c/o)
Black Pointy Toe Booties: Ivanka Trump (c/o)
Photography: Jackie Baum