I recently shared Dan’s story with you. He took a client to lunch and after lunch he asked the client a favor. In case you are still wondering whether asking a favor works I want to share a second story with you.

A few weeks ago Matt Sanderson, a lawyer I coach in Dallas asked me how to get a meeting with a client for whom he had not done any recent work.  I advised him to put himself in the shoes of his client and ask: “What is in it for me to meet with Matt?” I mentioned I had blogged recently about asking the client for a favor having nothing to do with business. 

For example, I said: “Tell the client you want to meet and pick his brain for ideas to blog about.” After our coaching call Matt used that approach and here is a portion of what he reported:

 Just yesterday, we discussed my dilemma in (A) getting prospective clients to “buy-in” to both meeting with me and discussing their legal needs and (B) obtaining from these prospects additional names of other prospective clients.

After taking the advice you gave me, I implemented it this morning in a meeting with a client who has not provided work to us in about 18 months. By the end of the meeting, this prospect provided me with (i) at least 5 new topics for our restaurant blog, (ii) an invitation to meet all of the tenants in his commercial shopping center at their monthly meeting, and (iii) two specific names of restaurant owners that he wanted me to call with his endorsement of our services. I believe that these results were directly driven from the advice you provided.

 Why did asking a favor work for Dan and for Matt? More than any other reason they were both sincere and were not trying to take advantage of their friend. They sincerely wanted to learn and sincerely wanted to get to know more people they could help. Your clients and friends will help you also when you sincerely ask a favor.

P.S. After posting this, I saw a blog post  What’s Important When You Refer People  by noted referral expert Ivan Misner. What would your answer be? Based on a survey of 12,000 business people character was most important. Character is demonstrated in part by sincerity.