How To Get What You Want By Asking The Right Way

Have you ever asked for something and got rejected? A couple of friends wanted to attend Ad Tech in San Francisco next week but didn’t want to pay the $1,695 it takes to get a full conference pass. Since both friends ran blogs, I told them to email Ad Tech for a press pass. The friend with the bigger blog applied and was rejected. The friend with the smaller blog got approved within an hours of sending the email.

It’s All In How You Ask

Why was the bigger blog rejected and the smaller blog approved? The answer becomes clear once you read the emails each site wrote. Here is an excerpt from the bigger blog.

I was hoping I could receive a free press pass to the San Francisco Ad:tech conference. I am a web entrepreneur and blogger, and would be covering the event from my popular blog which has an RSS readership of over 1,400.

It will be my first conference ever attended, so I am a bit unsure as to how the process for press passes goes. Would I be correct so assume that it would be equivalent to the Full Conference Pass?

And here is an excerpt from the smaller blog.

Hello this is [insert name] from [insert blog] and I need a press pass to cover Ad:Tech. I was notified by ValueClick and Google about your show. They said we should check it out.

Our site covers [Insert fluff here]. See you in San Francisco.

The bigger blog made several mistakes. The first mistake was he wasn’t sure of himself. Instead of saying, “I need a press pass,” he was “hoping” he could receive one. His other mistakes were saying his blog was “personal” and admitting he was a trade show newbie.

Posture and Control

In the PR business, perception is everything and service will always go to the site or blog that the PR rep perceive as better for the show. If you come across as unsure of yourself or on the verge of begging, you can bet your bottom dollar you won’t be getting an invite. The last thing a PR rep wants to deal with is an inexperienced newbie at her show.

It’s all about posture and control. If you wanted to be treated like a somebody, then you have act like a somebody. While it might seem the best way to go about asking for something is to be really nice about it, in real life, being nice usually puts you in last place. This is not to say you should be mean. That would be stupid. What it does mean is you should project an image of good posture and control.

When I want something, I assume the position that I am going to get it without question. Instead of asking, can you, would you or could you, I like to say I require, send it to, put the following names on the list. People like to see confidences. It’s a natural magnate. An email that display it will always be put in front of an email that is timid. Keep that in mind the next you ask for something.

67 thoughts on “How To Get What You Want By Asking The Right Way”

  1. Monopowiki says:

    Thats pretty genius of the smaller blogger.

    Being sure of yourself and properly portraying yourself in communications is more important than people realize.

    1. I don’t know if it was genius, but definitively he knew what he wanted, what was he going to be doing from that free pass and what inspired him to get in the show.

      Its not only in business, but even in real life, when you ask about something you should be convinced why you ask, why you need it and what are you going to do with it. If doubts take your control how can you convince the others?

      Insightful example John 😉

      1. That’s right. Act like you belong, expect to belong and you will belong. As in all things, confidence is respected and responded to.

    2. Yes, especially as he claimed he/she “needed” the pass rather then saying he/she was “hoping” for a pass

    3. DeboHobo says:

      Great post but not new news,

      1. Hannah says:

        Nonetheless, people don’t necessarily know this is how to get ahead. The blog is about teaching and I’m sure this was a very useful blog post to many.

    4. MR. NICE GUY says:

      That’s true. I’ve been a Journalist for more than 10 years. In order to convince a big company that you will be covering their event you should portray yourself as somebody who can do the job professionally. In this case the bigger blogs should pay respect to smaller blogs. Lol. Don’t underestimate the capacity of smaller blogs. Talk with confidence and be smart.

  2. It seems like communication, networking, and knowing how to send a good email/write well are an important part of being an online entrepreneur.

    1. Monopowiki says:

      All those skills are pretty necessary of any entrepreneur. I guess many (most) online entrepreneurs assume they can drop those skills since they sit behind a computer?

      1. CarFan says:

        No one in this world can success without this skills… 😀

    2. This is not only true in the blog world, but very much in the business world as well! If I were to approach my clients saying that I was hoping to increase their profits, they’d give me the boot… and fast!

      Great post! :mrgreen:

  3. Caren says:

    That’s right. In the net I can’t just act all sexy and get my way.

    If I wanted something I’d actually have to think about how I write!!! Maybe that’s why I’m so reluctant to ask for help online 😀

  4. Jarel says:

    Good info., thanks JC.
    Now, I’d like to ask you to do a video chat similar to the ones ProBlogger does. There are so many people who would love to get a chance to ask you a quick question. 😀

  5. Ya I agree with you.
    Confidence and right way of communication matters a lot.
    Nice posts.

  6. Azrael says:

    Basically confidence is what would make us big in the blogging world!

    Is this what you are trying to imply?

  7. Posture and Control is correct. When asking for anything you need the confidence of a winner. 🙂 😀 😆 ❗

  8. Liane says:

    Asking for something is definately not an easy thing. Mainly because when you ask, you want someone to give or do something for you. And it’s hman nature to care less for others. Pretty evel? 😈

    I think it’s all a matter of how well you ask. That or on how good you twist words.

  9. Now this is a good post, and it has applications far beyond blogging and business. Learning how to act confident, even when you’re really not, is a good skill to have.

    – Dave

  10. Yeah, the self-confidence will open many doors for the man/woman who have it and express it! 🙂

  11. Berry says:

    Maybe that guy was so shy or to polite? We could learn how to handle PR correctly, we must confidence with what our doing by having a enough knowledge. 😆

  12. CY says:

    … that’s very true.. PR is PR after all ^^


  13. Simon Lau says:

    Hm, I usually don’t go with the need mentality. Going to give it a shot with some of the new PR people I deal with.

  14. Fitness Site says:

    lol. very correctly said.
    The small blogger was decent with his language…. its old saying – speech influences 😉

  15. Sha says:

    Good post because it’s the truth. The same goes for requesting interviews with someone. Of course it depends on their schedule, but if you were to say something along the lines of what the big blogger said, you’d have at least a 5-10% chance of getting it.

    Not good.

  16. says:

    Is is not what you ask.. how you ask is more important

  17. Azrael says:

    Asking is never easy, you should consider and think a lot before having the right words.

  18. Wait is this a “how to make money online” blog or “how to be a successful with women” blog. Cause the same strategy applies.

    But it’s true, most people are so scared of getting banned they wont stand up straight and confront them. And when adsense was giving me those bad context ads for MONTHS that’s how I approached them. The minute I made blog post last week embarrassing them and sent them a link to it in an email saying poor content matching was bad for me, for them, the advertisers, and generally took a more firm and professional approach my ads miraculously changed 12 hours later.

    1. Azrael says:

      The two are almost identical except that the other is geered to create more money and the other get the girl.

    2. Sha says:

      LMFAO at women. It’s true though. I used to get the corniest pick up lines from some guys.

  19. yeu2 says:

    Yup. hate to say it, but if you sound like a noob, you get treated like a noob. If you write like the press pass is just a formality, then BINGO in you go!

  20. Myron says:

    The best movie scene ever was in “Boiler Room”

    “Act As If”

    The three greatest words anyone has ever told me. You have to act as if you have been doing it for a long time and act as if you know what you are talking about. That is posture and communication. Go into every meeting prepared. Prepare for every email. Don’t do anything on a whim!

  21. The advice is not only about how to be successful in business but also how to be successful with women.

    This kind of advice shows us why you have the right to call yourself a dot com Mogul.

  22. Mike says:

    Nice post. Its always better to be forward and direct than timid and meak. People don’t like it when you show weakness in bussiness deals.

  23. technorino says:

    Hey guys,
    Its all about working the words. Everything in life revolves around language, and how you utilize language. Therefore, linguistic skills should be applied to text. Think about these two scenarios:
    1. “Hey, i was maybe thinking…that…you could give me your homework…its ok if you dont want to but you can…”

    2. “Hey John, can i see your homework real quick? I need some clarifications on some problems that i had trouble with last night. Thanks.”

    I would personally think for a moment about the first person, and make a decision. However, as for the second person, i would not even think; just do. This is the situation in the post, the big blogger is #1 and the smaller is #2. The smaller bloggers almost always seem to have the guts to ask for whatever they want. If you want something, then ask with out hesitation.

    technorino (

  24. wisdom says:

    Good post on how words can matter. Nicely done.

  25. There seems to be a timid mindset out there. In life you need balls to get what you want. Can’t be afraid to go get it. You will never get the pretty girl if you don’t ask. Cher was once asked why she went out with only younger guys. She replied. “They are the only one who ask me out.” With that in mind. Hey JC, post my video. Thanks..Mike

  26. It’s strange that the big blogger lacked the confidence to ask while the small blogger was oozing with confidence. Perhaps the small blogger will eventually become a big blogger and the big blogger will remain stagnant.

    Nice reminder post coach!

  27. Andy says:

    I require $1000, John, and I’d appreciate you getting it to me ASAP 😈

  28. Jon says:

    Great advice!

  29. logosamurai says:

    interesting topic.

  30. Posture is the name of the game. I learned about posture in MLM (I hate to admit that) and if yuo wanted to have people join your oeganization you had to act as if you didn’t need them. Same thing when asking for a pass to something like Ad Tech, ask assuming you will get one.

  31. This is another cool bonus for someone running their own niche blog, not having to pay for courses and seminars within their niche if they properly ask. This is almost worth having a niche website devoted to your passions just so you can review products and services for free without having to pay for them! I’ve never gotten into a seminar for free, but then again – I never asked 😳 I definitely agree that asserting yourself with confidence will win over asking for something in a weak and feeble way.

  32. Paolo Gaspar says:

    I went through a course on effective business writing, and the moral of the whole thing was not to BS, but instead get to the point. Good post!

  33. I didn’t think about it this way, yea perhpas its important hwo you ask ppl for some things, great post.

  34. Erik says:

    that makes a lot of sense. Will use these tips next time I ask for something 🙂

  35. Ashley says:

    I had a friend just get “industry passes” into the San Diego Comic Con after “executive producing” a small independent film – all it took was a few credits on the IMDB! It’s amazing what you can get if you just ask.

  36. Robert says:

    Good post. You have to be assertive and confident if you’re going to succeed. No one wants to be associated with wishy-washy businessperson or blogger.

  37. james says:

    But how will you know that being confidence all the time will get you what you want. You can’t be %100 sure that it will work. Its like being over confident.

  38. SEO hosting says:

    Also the number two guy did the right thing by correctly dropping the Google and valueclick reference. Notice he said that he was contacted by them (ie I havea very strong relationship with two exhibitors). Number one didn’t stand a chance. Maybe if his lead was I have 10,000 readers who I’ll be reporting to.

  39. pennyblogger says:

    It’s true that confidence is key.
    Maybe it was just a small mistake John, or no one else noticed, but the Big Blogger never said his blog was “personal”…

  40. That’s ture that sometimes we are too humber and sell us short 😳 is a great web2.0 service. 😈
    Welcome everybody 😀

    ~ Connect Tutors with Students & Parents~

  41. Mark Wilson says:

    Hello John
    I need to make ridiculously large amounts of money so I am going to need a free review or some free advertising on this site. I have been told that this blog is the best an therefore come straight to you.


    1. Syed Balkhi says:

      haha nice try … let me know if it works

  42. Jcyreus says:

    I agree 100%

    Just last week I used the same posturing and positioning strategy in negotiating for the purchase of my next new home. By delivering a clear and confident message, without coming across as an arrogant a-hole, I was able to drive the seller down to a price that left them less than satisfied with what they had to give up.

    Great post John, thanks!
    – Jcyreus (

  43. Mike says:

    “I need to make ridiculously large amounts of money so I am going to need a free review or some free advertising on this site.”

    I think that’s could be used as an example of being too forward and direct. If your overconfident, your liable to turn people off as well.

  44. Mark Wilson says:

    Haha, ya I know, but it makes the point that there is a way to ask that is TOO forward.

    (but hey, I still wouldn’t mind a free review or some free advertising)

  45. Great post, and good examples. Assuming someone will say yes is a good first step as it makes you write with a certain authority not found in a ‘begging email’.

    Just goes to show, it’s not the size of your blog, it’s the size of your balls. 😉

  46. germz says:

    I REQUIRE. That you give us bloggers the domain names of your friends.
    I also REQUIRE a giant banner on top of your blog linking to for FREE.
    Nah I’m just kidding lol the domains please 😳

  47. Mike Huang says:

    This isn’t always correct. Some companies love straightforward requests, while others hate it.


  48. Bob Rutledge says:

    Read the “Aladin Factor”. Most don’t get what they want because they don’t ask. Simply asking will often get you much of what you want. Then learn the skill John talks about to gain a competitive advantage.

  49. How you express yourself online, whether it be in blogs emails, comments, etc says a lot about your charactar and self confidence. Same applies in real life.

  50. Miker W. says:

    I think if the first blogger had just said,
    “I am a web entrepreneur and blogger, and would be covering the event from my popular blog which has an RSS readership of over 1,400.”
    he would have gotten the pass. This could also be an indication that less is more in certain cases.

  51. Bennie Randall says:

    You are right on the head with this one……when i use to be in the music business and wanted to get into the big shows i would always come as press or i would offer my service to help out in the conference to not only meet new contacts…but get to enjoy the conference from the inside out. And i would always end up with alot of free stuff that vendors would ship in for the show but did not want to take back home….a win – win all the time

  52. I’d just like to add one more thing. Even though the first way of asking didn’t produce a results, at least the person ASKED.

    Most people in life don’t even ASK in the first place. Even if you’re not good at asking for things, if you ask enough times you’ll eventually get a yes anyways. Most people, however, are too shy to even ask at all.

Comments are closed.