How To Ask For What You Want – Part 2

I wasn’t expecting to do a follow up to my post on how to ask for what you want but I guess many people just don’t get it. I got up today to over a dozen emails like this one.

Hi please could I have a mac book air ? I really want to start a blog ( I’ve been following yours for the last year) but my family can’t afford my own laptop ( we only have a toshiba that is 11 years old ) yes I no ancient . I would be very grateful. I would love to be given the chance to show what I could do. Really hope you reply thanks

Before you go sending off an email like the above (and getting rejected), ask yourself if you’ve answered the number one question the receiver wants answered.

What’s In It For Me?

Neil Patel didn’t give me a Macbook Air because he was such a nice guy. He gave it to me because there’s stuff that I can do for him that is worth far more than the cost of an Air. Trade shows like the Affiliate Summit don’t give me $10,000 of passes every year out of their goodness of their heart. They do it because of the coverage I provide. If I didn’t blog about the event, what do you think would be the chance of me getting another free pass next year?

When someone comes to read your blog or subscribe to your RSS, they’re not doing it because you’re such a great person. They doing it because there’s something in it for them. Ever wondered how some small time bloggers manage to secure interviews/flavors from big time bloggers? They did it because they answer the question the big time bloggers had when the email came in – What’s in it for me?

I like to think readers comment on this blog because they want to add their views. However, I know the real reason is because they’re trying to get traffic back to their blogs and get on the Top Commentators list. Most people do things because it’s to their advantage to do it and they get something for it. People don’t get up to an alarm clock, deal with rush hour and slave away at a job because they love their boss. They do it because it makes them money. People are not going to read your blog because they love you. They’ll read it because there’s something in it for them.

What’s in it for your readers if they read your blog, sign up for your RSS, subscriber to your newsletter, follow you on Twitter, etc.? If you can’t answer that question, then you have the answer as to why you are where you are right now.

You Want To Get, You Got To Give

Matthew 7:7 states, “Ask, and it shall be given to you.” But, Luke 6:38 states, “Give, and it will be given to you.” If you want something from someone, you have to consider what you can give in return. I have received over $100K of free stuff in the past five years, but I guarantee you I’ve given back more than $100K in return.

The next time you decide to ask me for a Macbook Air, put yourself in my shoe and ask what’s in it for me? Why should I send a Mac Air to you and not the other dozen begging emails? You have to ask for what you want, but you get what you give.

84 thoughts on “How To Ask For What You Want – Part 2”

  1. fazal mayar says:

    this is one of the best post ive read recently. I mean, nothing comes free in life besides if you over deliver. That email made me laugh a bit, its pretty funny. I cant blame him though if he is poor. Anyways, good stuff.

    1. d3so says:

      I should get a MacBook air because I’ve been a loyal reader and will continue to support you 😉

      1. PPC Ian says:

        Nice, d3so! I hope you get it! 🙂

        1. Kevin Kimes says:

          I think John’s point reiteration here is that there needs to be mutual benefit in order to get something “for free”.

          When I comment here, it’s definitely motivated by the link from Top Commentators. However, I strive to make my comments provide true value in return. I would feel ashamed if I just posted a bunch of “hey this is the best post ever, thanks!” or other space-filling text.

          I wish everyone would do that, because this could be a great forum for real discussion of the topics – which are usually interesting and worthy of conversation.

          Part of the lesson was indeed the confidence and assertive attitude. I even “asked” for a Macbook, in the comments, in a manner which demonstrated that lesson. This post alone is almost article-length!

          However, I left a key phrase in my request, “I’ll owe you a favor”. Of course, in my current status, a favor from me isn’t demonstrably more valuable than a Macbook. Someday it will be, but not today.

          I’m actually quite surprised, though, that people sent emails hoping or thinking they could ask in just the right way and actually get one. That’s clearly not what John was trying to do.

          Movie stars and pro athletes, etc, get ALL SORTS of free stuff. Free stuff of great value practically rains down on their heads. Why? Their fame provides a mutual benefit to the provider of the free stuff.

          A celebrity showing up at an event driving a particular new car is incredibly valuable advertising for the manufacturer, so it is certainly in the interest of the manufacturer to give the car to the celebrity.

          John is a celebrity. The rest of us here, mostly, are not. Or, perhaps, “not yet.”

          Also: Nice, John quoted what I mentioned in the comments of part one. 🙂

          1. Kevin Kimes says:

            Sigh, I added an extra sentence to the wrong paragraph. Ah well.

          2. Joseph Ritchie says:

            To piggy-back on what Kevin said, he hit a lot of the key items in his reply. There has to be reason and substance to your request. Not just “Gee, I’d really like (insert something you don’t have)” But it goes one step beyond that. If you take the winning post in Part 1 and use the same directness, yet take out a little punctuation and fail to do a spell check…you’ve just placed yourself back at the bottom. I’m not saying it has to be perfect grammar. Even John has admitted to not having the best grammar, but he checks his work and uses built in spell check.

      2. Hey D3so,

        I think you are joking. You know well that John has too many loyal readers to give all of them an Air. Plus, if you are a loyal reader to get something more out of it then the info John provides and any obvious benefits that come out of that then you may be waiting forever.

    2. Louie Sison says:

      You really have the power from your words. I have been following you since day 1 of my blog and there has been so much in return just from visiting your site everyday.

      1. I’ve actually won a few things from John’s blog contests. He does give out a lot.

  2. Abhik says:

    Thanks John, it’s really a nice post.
    What I know is Nothing comes Free.

    1. Yes everything comes with a cost some with hidden and some apparent.

      1. Abhik says:

        Yes, that’s the way the world runs.

      2. There’s more to asking for what you want? Why not just ask?

    2. Ya I agree with you John,nothing comes free but one thing comes free.Free knowledge and advice.If you start a topic,we can take part of it,can discuss it and obviously we can get many advices and opinion free of cost.It worth value less.

  3. Nice follow-up and nice social manipulation, John 🙂
    Guys, who asked a couple of dozen Airs doesn’t see the other side: how many times You were rejected. This is a good example how to spark in the air and show up the bright side.
    Beggers, don’t forget: there is no such thing like something for nothing. If you are enjoying free lunch, remember there is some guy paid for that.
    Once again, John: amazing. Made my day 🙂
    Keep goin!

    1. Andrea says:

      Great point “some guy paid for that”. I often forget when I receive something for free, that someone had to pay the price. I have a coupon blog, but I love to read John Chow because he’s brillant. I share with others how to get things for free with coupons, but I never really thought about someone having to pay the price because I didn’t. So I bet when a company puts out a coupon for me to “try” their product for free. Their intentions isn’t for me to get 20 for free lol 😉

    2. You are talking about relativity.One is getting and another one is giving.So who are getting free lunch when another one paying it.So its relative what are you getting or paying.

  4. Logo guru says:

    Great, i have read the Part-1 and now complete the second Part too. Such a Great post. Just carry on John.

    1. Yes this one comes with humoir touch … Really like it.

      1. Abhik says:

        John do have a high sense of humor. 😀

  5. great john …. You really know how to call back your readers with these kind of titles.

    1. Abhik says:

      It’s not only the title buddy.. It’s also the content which matters.

  6. Sergio Felix says:

    Received a lot but gave even more… hmm doesn’t that puts you in negative numbers? j/k

    Anyway I happen to agree a lot on the “Ask, and it shall be given to you” part, because a lot of people (me included) tend to assume a lot of stuff without even asking first.

    I’ve found that whenever you ask for something, there’s a higher chance your request is going to be accepted than declined (this doesn’t apply to picking up girls in a bar) and the reality is that people these days would rather walk away from an opportunity and assume they were going to fail anyway.

    So I’m asking you now, can I please have that MacBook Air now? 😉 haha

    1. Many people is keeping an eye on your Macbook Air.

      1. MacBook Air’s are nice. Love the one I have.

    2. Sergio Felix says:

      Never mind, I just read the first post. LOL

  7. Joel Brown says:

    John you are a champion, thanks for posting this info! Always good to learn a thing or two from the more experienced blogger such as yourself =)

  8. fas says:

    I am sure all the emails stop right away.

  9. IM Nick says:

    Hey John,

    as usual nice post and this time I am leaving out my website URL. I want to show you that it’s not all about the traffic. I read your blog a lot, and I comment here and there (actually twice now I think?) anyways – I see what you are saying. But I doubt you built a list of 128,000 RSS readers who all own blogs, and if you did then you should start sending out GoDaddy and HostGator offers left and right!

    Anyways, I think you know what I’m saying – we don’t all just comment for traffic – every once in awhile somebody actually reads your whole post and absorbs it like a sponge because a lot of us just want to learn from you – the backlink is just a bonus nothing more.

    Besides, if you have really played that game and commented for traffic you will or at least should quickly learn that your time can be more useful doing more productive tasks.

    1. Graham Lutz says:

      Hey Nick – I think it’s pretty clear who’s commenting for the traffic and who is here to learn from John and connect with other bloggers.

      The ones commenting for the traffic say “nice post” or some other butt kissing one liner with a ‘me too’ kind of sentiment – then their sites are super spammy looking.

      The rest of us, know that the traffic is secondary to building relationships and our own education. right?

      1. Kevin Kimes says:

        Exactly. I don’t think there’s a problem with those of us who leave real comments to include our links. “Give and take”, you might say. As I mentioned above, I wish everybody would treat this as a real discussion medium, rather than “ooh, I can has links?”.

  10. AT says:

    Yes its true .. Only Hard work Pays You……

  11. Hi John,

    Appreciate your including the scriptures, ones I know very well from walking with the Lord for 18 years after surviving a car accident at 15 years old, and now a proud GrandPa to a two year old beauty like Sally Chow.

    I remember your walking around the EXPO restaurant with that WAD of Shoemoney’s bills from the dollar-booth grab at #BWE 2008.

    That little grand-girl of ours would love a MacBook Air, or an iPad 2 and she can already operate YouTube on our PC! Minnie Mouse videos are her favorites to date.

    It would not take much more time for her to write comments on your blog too!
    Imagine your next “Guest Post” written by my two-year old grand daughter!
    Ok enough of the “soft-sell” technique, just send it along!

    Nicholas Chase – future Super Affiliate

    1. Kevin Kimes says:

      Grandpa at age 33? Or maybe the first sentence’s structure is a bit misleading (unintentionally of course). 🙂

      1. Who has become grandpa?Is it John?No no,I think we are making confusion.

  12. Jonathon says:

    Almost biblical. “Ask and you shall receive” is still alive and well in the 21st century. Of course you might need some gall to go with it.

  13. Fantastic work done by you John,i am inspired from your article and every thing is well managed.

  14. Thank you for writing a follow up post to explain your initial position further. You saved many unsuspecting businesses from receiving emails like you received. As you stated, any transaction has to be a win-win on both sides. Many bloggers brag that they received free events passes but then don’t take the time to write a fair unbiased review of the event. I know if I were the event planner, I would not invite them back again. There is nothing wrong with asking for things, but make sure you have something worth giving in return.

  15. Cpa websites says:

    that was one desperate guy , giving away mac for free for someone out there help him stsrt a business is stupid , comon ! at this age assembling a pc doesnt cost much , most can do it , if they are ready to stretch a bit.

    but freemium is definitly a good startegy to build traffic and get yourself introduced in your niche…

  16. Very well said. That’s what networking is all about, advancing yourself and helping others advance in the process (but mainly the former).

    1. Incidentally, not interested in a Macbook air (I have a netbook I just received for my birthday that I love). I’ll take an android though! 😉

  17. Holly says:

    It’s really surprising how many people only think about what they want and not how they can help others. When I pitch to review products I always state what I can do for the company and ask if there is anything they would really like included in the review. It’s really all about them and how you can help them get their brand and/or product out there.

  18. ZPTsotetsi says:

    Thanks John. You have answers some of the questions I have long been asking myself. In most times, we always want to get something without receiving and end up with nothing. Again, most people don’t want to be associated with beggars and if you going to beg for things, you will not get anything. That’s why I leave by the motto “I rather die on my feet than to leave on my knees”. And I can assure you that releasing that has generated more traffic for my sites, more recognition and generated money from my sites. “Blessed is hand that give, thank the hand that receive”

  19. Tom says:

    I and others seemed to have gotten the point in the first post and it was only hilarious to read the comment in this follow-up post.

    Another good quote to add “it’s better to give than to receive”.

    I think some people’s values are changing more and more and basic values are slipping away.

  20. Chris says:

    I wouldn’t have thought you needed to write a follow-up post either! At least they got the “asking” part down… they just have to refine their technique a bit.

    You are spot on about the “What’s in if for me?” question. I only have time to read a limited amount of blogs and I come back to yours because I appreciate your no BS style. You help newbies cut through the crap and you offer solid, useful advice that you can immediately implement.

    If you are ever in Austin, let me know… they have Phở here too.


  21. Colin Tyrell says:

    Hi John

    Your two posts on “How to ask for what you want” are great. The points you brought out are things that many of us have heard before, but it is always good to be reminded of these fundamental concepts. Sometimes we get so caught up with our day to day activities that we forget the basics.

    Thanks for reminding us to be positive but realistic at the same time. Let us never forget that if we want something we have to give something. It’s as simple as that.

  22. Andrew says:

    Very good article I like the way, that if you want to get something you have to give something.


  24. Melissa says:

    I have to agree with Nick. Mostly, I don’t comment to get the back link, I comment when I feel like I have something to contribute. I don’t want to waste my time (or others) if I can’t add value. If you go into any relationship, always look to see how you can help the other party first. I usually give away something for free to potential clients so they can see first the value they will be getting. If they don’t want what I am offering or can’t afford it, often they will refer me to others. I always remember those people who have helped me and it makes me want to help them more!

  25. Well I guess you had that coming after the first post :D. Btw I wonder what an old computer has to do with not being able to start a blog? Heck one can even blog from libraries, internet cafes and even mobile phones! One just needs the drive to be able to do it, not some fancy computer!

  26. Steve says:

    Great post, its true nothings free. love your post man… now can I have my macbook?

  27. As usual John, Great post!

  28. I have found that volunteering locallly helping feed people, i and has been a great way of networking with social service groups and the legal community. Give and you shall receive. Love your emails and blog.


  29. Very insightful.

    There’s a *reason why* you’re one of the best in the business,
    because you understand it’s ALWAYS about the other person.

    I built my business on the same verse, “Give, and it’ll be given
    to you”. I NEVER assume anyone joins my lists or buy anything
    from me out the goodness of their heart.

    I get paid because of what I GIVE to others and the learning to
    put MY desires to the backside and focus on OTHERS desires.

    Ironically, doing this fulfills all of my desires anyway without
    thinking about it.

    I secured big deals and sold many products because I get that
    its’ always about the other person. And naturally…

    it’s *tough* for any human being to focus COMPLETELY on the
    other. Our NATURAL instinct is to think about OURSELVES.

    It’s NATURAL to want MORE money to buy a brand new car…

    natural to think YOUR problems are bigger than any one elses
    and therefore it’s YOU who should be GETTING (not giving).

    Ultimately, we’re stuck in our own heads and as entrepreneurs
    you HAVE to get outside it if you want success.

    Funny how you mention people posting their comments, not
    purely out of interest, but also motivated from the clicks they can
    get because you have a high-traffic blog.

    And you’d be right.

    As I scanned through some of the comments, I noticed some ppl
    trying to make a *point* that THEY don’t do what you know they do:

    Leave their website to drive more traffic for themselves.

    It’s their way of PROVING their not motivated by anything OTHER
    than doing it *from the bottom of their heart*. And, they’d be the big
    -gest hyprocrits I know.

    It’s okay to admit you benefit from posting here, because by us post-
    ing here, John, YOU benefit from the traffic and popularity WE give
    you that helps make the blog so popular…EVERYONE benefits.

  30. Nice follow up to the first one! Right on the money you could say. 😉

  31. I think it’s pretty obvious which ones are commenting for backlinks and/or to get/stay in the Top Commentators list. It’s not just the ones that give “quick liners”, but also the ones that reply to lots of comments because they think they’re going to get more people to notice them & their site. It’s actually a huge turn-off & I don’t even look at their sites at all.

  32. Raymond says:

    Well written John.

    It’s all about projecting an image of success to actually realize that success. I know it and it’s still not easy to do just that :-).

    I’ll see how I can give to others and see what it brings me. Well, at least I’m providing free laughter on my blog :-).

  33. Coupon Codes says:

    Hi John,
    Please send me my Free Macbook Air so I can check my email for all your fantastic offers and buy some of them rather than saving for a Macbook Air.

    I wonder how many emails like that you will now receive – I think the main point of this Blog is that to always be on the take is no good – you need to give away as much as you can to build things up to start making a living.

  34. Marco Lee says:

    Value begets Value.

    1. Abhik says:

      Very true..

  35. Clark says:

    Excellent post. I’ll have to remember that next time I ask for a raise 🙂

  36. Hey John,
    I read both posts on asking for what you want. You are successful because you know how the system works and you don’t B.S. around about the fact.

    On a side note, when will you start your personal development blog?

    1. Abhik says:

      Yes!! I also wonder when he gonna start that.

  37. You only have one shoe? If only I had a shoe blog, I’d give you the other one for free.

    Nice karmic post, J.

    Your altruistic

    Bass Player

  38. Hotdogman says:

    An old sales manager of mine always said “Ask for the sale. If you don’t get it, take it.” It took me a while to figure out what he meant- but once I did, my sales more than doubled. Anyone out there want to take a stab at what he meant?

  39. PPC Ian says:

    Great post, John! I couldn’t agree more. It’s those who provide real value that will get the free stuff! 🙂

  40. Good points, heh I guess you know your readers. Nice use of the Bible verses as well.

  41. Wamiq Ali says:

    hahaha John nice post 😀

  42. Fusiondiary says:

    We have all heard or read about “The more you give, the more you recieve”. However, this idea is very difficult to comprehend. It is only a lucky few who are lead by either by circumstances, personal drive or just pure luck into the real meaning of this concept.

    I must confess that I am still far away from understanding this. To me this concept is like a mirage which I can clearly see and understand but do not want to believe till I have actually verified it as real and tangible.

    Another reason why people have difficulty understanding this concept is because most of us have been hurt while giving.

    Thanks John for trying to explain this concept in such a direct way. The number of comments that you accomodate in your posts is a living example that you do practice what you preach.

  43. Kent says:

    You’re right. It would be cool to get to the top of any Commentators list!

    But I feel that commenting blogs I like is similar to being in the same room with a bunch of like minded people. I don’t really think people get much traffic (if any) from commenting blogs or forums. Maybe like 5 views. Haha

    Hey, whats the deal with that little smiley face at the footer of your website? Now that’s funny

  44. Kavya Hari says:

    It’s really great to heard such types of tips on here 🙂

  45. Yeah John i always prefer to you,and i think Neil is also great man and Blogger….

  46. Well said!

    Too often, I fall into that trap such as I wish I had more traffic to my blog , but then I try and think “what’s in it for them?” I try and force myself to think of creative ways to bring traffic to my blog and reduce my bounce rate.

    I had to realize that even though I may have killer content, I am still competing with the other millions of bloggers in the world. So what makes my blog different than the others. What’s in it for them to keep coming back and stay a little longer? =)

    **BTW…my traffic has been on a slow and steady increase since I changed the way I thought. Thnx John.

  47. Its good hear this type of news

  48. This is so true. I personally believe that you have to give, to get. I have been covering the Affiliate Summit for the last 3 years, but had never thought to ask for free tickets to give away. so this year, I thought, well it’s worth a try, since I have been giving to them, it was time to collect on my investment.

    All I had to do was explain how I had been giving to them over the years and asked for free tickets to giveaway to my readers and they sent them right away. Now I am currently giving away these tickets on my blog.

    Thanks for the great post.

  49. Thank’s for sharing

  50. Matt says:


    Before asking for something, first walk a mile in the other mans shoes.

    If he doesn’t give you what you want, well, he is a mile away and you have his shoes.

  51. Forex News says:

    It’s really surprising how many people only think about what they want and not how they can help others. When I pitch to review products I always state what I can do for the company and ask if there is anything they would really like included in the review. It’s really all about them and how you can help them get their brand and/or product out there.

  52. enzo testa says:

    The only thing I want is to be able to wake up the next morning and say “I’m still alive and the world is a great place to live” yeah right BS LOL
    What do I want? I want to network with people and blog together. After all isn’t that what blogging is all about? A network or opinions and gossip?
    Take care..

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