Have you ever persuaded someone by asking a favor? I am not suggesting asking for business, but there are other favors you can ask that will be very helpful.

A few years ago I read Selling Power magazine article The Persuasion Principle: How to Use Robert Cialdini’s Scientific Research to Close More Sales.The article was based in part on the findings in Cialdini’s book: Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive.

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There was a short sidebar section with the following:

Want to improve your relationship with anybody, anywhere? The key is simple-ask a favor.

Cialdini says it may seem counterintuitive, but research shows that the fastest way to get clients to like you is not to help them…but rather to ask them to help you. I have actually used this approach several times. Here are a few examples:

  • Asking clients and potential clients for their thoughts on what should be in our client service policy.
  • Asking clients to come to a quarterly all associate lunch to discuss what clients are looking for in their lawyers.
  • Asking clients to come to our practice group retreat (we paid travel expenses) to share with our group their ideas on how we could better serve them.
  • Asking clients and potential clients for their ideas on topics for articles and presentations.

I have a favor to ask:

What would senior associates or junior partners in your law firm most want to learn and implement in their client development efforts?

What favors are you asking your clients, potential clients and friends?