Make it worth your while that you’re doing them a favor.

Someone asked me for a favor and I had a few options:

  1. Ignore it.
  2. Reply with a no.
  3. Reply with a yes.
  4. Reply with a yes and a favor of my own.

If you are asked a favor, do you have anything to lose if you ask for one back? [Darmstadt, Germany]

If you are asked a favor, do you have anything to lose if you ask for one back? Maybe this company would benefit from an English grammar teacher … [Darmstadt, Germany]

I planned on #1, but see #2 below which convinced me that at least this wasn’t a robot but a human. As I wrote him back, I was going to do #3 above, but as I wrote, I thought about #4 above so I just asked. I also gave him a Soft Sell and suggested that what I was asking was also probably beneficial to his audience.

Does this mean that #3 is “bad”? That you can’t just do something for someone with nothing expected in return? Of course not. #3 is wonderful. But at times, #4 could be “more better” for both sides.

Here’s what happened.

I got a contact form response from my marketing company website. The guy followed this structure:

  1. Complimented me on a post I wrote.
  2. Proved that he actually read it by making the email personal (either that, or he’s very skilled at mail merge) through mentioning something about the post and how it was relevant to my audience–and his.
  3. Soft sold his ask by not even really directly asking, but suggesting that his infographic might make my post even better (and he was right), ” … if you want to make your post more visual, feel free to use my infographic … “

His infographic would make my post stronger. So instead of just doing it and saying yes, I thought about how I might help his clients as well (yes, through also helping me, but helping me helping them … you know what I mean).

I wrote back suggesting that his clients, now that they’re all set up with their brand new WordPress site and hosting, would be better off using Google Apps for their email rather than the email provided by the website host. I also let him know that, because I’m in the Google apps reseller program, I can offer his clients 20% off per user per year Google apps for their domain.

I helped him, I asked for help back. Both of us are voluntarily helping each other out. No strings attached, no tit-for-tat, just do this if you’d like to.

We’ll see how it goes. What do you do when asked a favor that you’d like to just delete? Has it sometimes worked out for the better of both parties if you didn’t just ignore it?

  • Possible: ask
  • Impossible: wait to be asked
  • Repossible: ask back