How to ask for something big and get it
Have you ever wanted something desperately, but could not afford it, and thought…
“What if I just asked them to give it to me?”
There’s a good way and a really bad way to ask for something you want badly.
And every year, I hear both versions from people who are eager to attend Copy Chief Live but swear they can’t afford the ticket.
That was the case during the last in-person CCL back in the “easy times” of 2019.
Two hundred happy, copy-loving souls entered the Hilton in downtown St. Pete and proceeded to have an insane level of fun. Fortunes changed for many copywriters that week.
But only one of them got in for free.
I’ll call him “Tom,” for privacy. He’s a member of Copy Chief, and here’s why he scored the “golden ticket”…
First, he never asked directly for anything free.
Instead, he took bold action toward the thing he wanted, then wrote to tell me about it.
“…you’ve sold me hook, line, and sinker on Copy Chief Live being the place to make that happen.
So, I’ll be in St. Petersburg at the end of the month.
And since purchasing an event ticket isn’t possible right now, I’m running through all of my options for getting face time with my fellow chiefs.”
Then he described some comical scenarios where he disguises himself as me, or poses as a delivery person, etc.
Next he gets logical and offers himself as a volunteer…
“This is an event, right?
And events take a TON of effort to put on.
No matter how much we plan, it always feels good to have another person step up and join the event crew.”
This part really won me over because that is EXACTLY what I offered John Carlton when I desperately wanted to meet him and attend one of his events but could not afford it.
It worked with John, only because there had been a bit of back-and-forth previously. So it wasn’t completely out of the blue. (Or maybe Carlton is just secretly a big softie 🙂
With Tom, I pushed back with logic…
I love just about everything in this letter. Much respect for your determination in coming and your creativity in offering ways to legally crash the party
Volunteering at the event is a privilege held by the ambassadors in the community. Beyond that we are fortunate to have many long time members who offer to help, even after buying a ticket.
So, while I sincerely appreciate the offer, it’s not a valid solution. It wouldn’t be fair for me to just hand you that position after one email when others do so much for the community every day.
Let me ask, what is your #1 goal for the event?”
Tom went on to explain his situation… recently lost a good job, applied quickly for a new one, lost out to another candidate, few other options in his field, decided to go all in on copywriting, and
“Yes, I have landed one copy gig. And that’s exciting and great.
But it’s not enough to pay the bills for me and my daughter.”
That’s the line that got me. But not just because it’s emotional to picture this guy raising his daughter (alone I assume by the phrasing), but because he threw it in so casually.
That is good writing.
The context of his scenario had been established, so there was no need to grovel or go into specifics about his single father scenario.
Instead, he trusted me, the reader, to fill in the blanks and supply my own creative drama to his situation.
Displaying THAT level of restraint in writing shows me this guy has the goods to be a great copywriter.
Add to that his writer’s ability to get my attention, entertain me, and ask for a free way into CCL without ever expecting for a second that he should be given something just because he had the audacity to ask.
When I ask high-level Copy Chiefs what they look for in new copywriters, they consistently say…
- Hunger. Show me you really want this and are willing to sacrifice to get it.
- Character. Show me you are insanely curious and lead with integrity in everything you do.
- Writing ability. Show me you can write a letter. Move me, make me care, sell me on something.
Tom showed me all that and more in a short, three-email exchange.
So, I was thrilled to call the number and personally invite him in as my guest.
My mission with CCL (even more so now that we are virtual this year)… is to create an environment where life-changing relationships happen naturally.
Hundreds of writers and biz owners have had that happen to them over the previous three events.
This year will produce even more fruitful partnerships because without travel standing in the way, EVERYONE can access the live keynotes, the hands-on workshops, and of course, the 5-Star Client Round Table meetups (where great companies pitch YOU on coming to work with them)!
And, to let a secret slip… the price this year is guaranteed to make this event possible for anyone who wants to be there…
So, this might be the one year no one asks to be “gifted” a ticket.
P.S. In case you’re wondering, “Tom” did make some very fruitful connections at Copy Chief Live and has spent the year since expanding his copy career in a big way.
He was so grateful for the experience that he brought me this amazing bottle of Two James Gin. It was off the charts delicious, and apparently can’t be bought anywhere but in his hometown of Detroit. Which makes it one of the greatest and also saddest gifts I’ve ever received 🙂
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