June 13, 2020

What does it mean to make an “ask from nowhere?”

Let me define the term first:

It’s when you ask someone for their time, their expertise, or try to sell them something with no relationship established…or you simply want to “pick their brain.”

My friend Joe Polish says “when they want to pick your brain they are actually picking your pocket.”

That is, of course, if it’s an “ask from nowhere.”

And you should know that when you ask for these things from others—who are busy, possibly an expert, maybe even “famous,” or just people that have something you want—they are often not sitting by on their phone, email, LinkedIn or Facebook waiting for you to ask them.

So, what if you could always make those kinds of “asks” with confidence, knowing that when you ask you will always get a “yes” to your request?

I maintain that you can…although you can’t be a “non-stop asker”…and it takes time and effort to develop the skills and precision to make it happen.

Why do you (maybe) get more “no’s” than “yes’s” to most of your asks?

It could mean you’re a “taker”—someone who is only interested in yourself, what you can get from others, and you have no intention of giving anything in return.

It could mean you’re a “matcher”—that is, you feel “owed” something from the person you are asking because you have given to them previously and it’s time for them to pay their debt to you; or vice versa (“I can give you something if you give this to me”).

But if you are a sincere “giver,” over a long period of time (and “long” is in the eye of the beholder—let’s say if you have a deep rather than a shallow relationship), you will get more yeses for sure.

(Note: The terms takers, matchers and givers are from the book Give and Take by Adam Grant—which I highly recommend.)

How do you get to a place in your life and career where youcan develop these deep relationships and never make an ask from nowhere?

Even where people say yes before you even get your question out?

That’s what my 4-part video series is about (the fourth has just been released today)…and if you haven’t watched it, you can do that by clicking here.

But if you like the written word better than video (I know I do!), let me give you a summary of each of the videos so you can have this formula without needing to “go to the videotape.”

Video #1: Get the right people in your corner

You’ve got to start with a blank slate.

When beginning your journey (especially with your career), find the people who you want to learn from the most, never ask them for anything, and absorb as much as you can from them any chance you get.

This first step is easy. Just be curious and be a sponge.

And if you get to actually meet them, it’s a bonus.

And if you aren’t able to meet them (e.g. they are no longer with us) the same rules about absorption of what they left behind is just as meaningful.

There are only two questions you should ask them if you get to communicate with them, both of which are about them, not you:

1. Anything to do with a specific piece of knowledge they have shared with you, whether live, in a book, anywhere—and simply listen to the answer without trying to show how smart you are.

2. If you happen to have a super power where you think this person could utilize you, offer it up (only in the context of the conversation and of course free of charge)—with 100% conviction and zero expectation of a return from your offer.

And I repeat, free of charge.

Only do this if you really have the chops in something (i.e. you are world class at it)–and it needs to be something this person can practically use.

If you don’t have something you can offer with those criteria, then it’s only #1 above that you can do at this stage.

Note: You are not, at this point, accumulating people; rather you are accumulating knowledge.

If the people come along for the ride it’s gravy at this stage.

Video #2: Who you are looking for is you

In this video, based on a brilliant concept from Dan Sullivan (the top coach for entrepreneurs in the world), I created an exercise that’s a little different (but related) from the way that Dan uses it.

The most important point:

This is not a testament to your ego—it’s actually the opposite.

Let me explain.

The exercise: Make a circle in the middle of a piece of paper and extend 8 “spokes” out from that circle.

Write “YOU” in the circle…and then write the names of 8 people who you admire, look up to, or you simply love a particular attribute about them that you would like to incorporate into your own personality.

Any of the 8 can be living or dead.

Then—write the ONE attribute that made you put that person on one of the spokes (although there might be many attributes that you could choose for each).

Choose the most significant to you.

Do that for all 8 people.

The attribute can be a mindset (e.g. “contribute to connect”) or a habit (e.g. “voracious reader”)—anything that binds you to that person in the biggest way.

Note: Not only is this exercise not for ego purposes it’s also not to create envy either.

And if you put someone on the wheel that you feel envy for, you must keep them on–but you also must go to “gratefulness from envy.”

That is, this person (who you might be envious of), would probably share with you—even teach you– their secret to the attribute you would want to have. Envy comes from you, not them.

Remember, envy kills; gratefulness thrills.

 (I just made that up but I won’t take credit for it)! 🙂

The next step in this exercise is to rate each of the 8 people on a scale of 1 to 10 on the mindset or habit you chose–and I would assume that each of those people would be a 10…or a 9 at worst.

Then you should rate yourself in each of the 8 attributes as well, 1 to 10.

Pro tip: I had one person on one of my spokes who I greatly admire and rated him a “10” in “protects privacy/values time as his most precious commodity.” However, my goal would not to be a 10.

 I just want to get to a 7 from a 4. That’s a legit way to deal with the wheel if it’s what you want.

The result: You now have 8 characteristics that you want more of to make your life more robust. And where you need more work to get there.

And…the additional plus is that you will have a more precise description about the kind of person you might want to attract as a client, subscriber, member or friend as well.

Wouldn’t life be grand if you could do both of those things?

I will maintain that it’s possible…but it takes work…even just pulling in those attributes into your own life in a bigger way.

And when you can interact with those who have some (even all) of the same mindsets, but all with a different knowledge base, your life will be much more complete and fulfilling.

Video #3: Your mentors choose you

I won’t go into everything about this video except to say that if you do everything I talk about in the first two videos, you will be “paid” in five different ways, with the fifth being “Reward.”

This is another concept I have borrowed from Dan Sullivan (and Joe Polish) who live their lives this way.

When you’ve got your “knowledge” and a great team in your corner—and you’ve gone deep on all of the characteristics, mindsets, attributes, habits you want in your own life and in the lives of the people you work with (and note that you can make multiple “wheels of 8”), you are ready to have everyone you interact with use you for your highest talents.

1. They UTILIZE you at your highest level

2. You ENHANCE everyone around you (and over deliver to them as often as you can)

3. You APPRECIATE everyone you come in contact with

4. When applicable, you are the first to REFER others

5. You receive your REWARD (which may be money).

Here’s another lesson from Dan Sullivan and why REWARD is #5:

Money is good but money is about the present and it is fleeting; your skills, relationships, resources are about the future…and they never go away.

The one thing I will say about these 5 elements of getting paid (and becoming rich) is that if you do the first 4 in spades—always looking for ways to be utilized, and enhance, appreciate and refer others–you can’t avoid getting paid.

And that is however you determine your payment and what rich means to you.

Yes, you can accumulate cash too. 🙂

This is not a short term proposition—I’ve been doing all of this for 40 years and I will work on this until the day I die because it’s what makes life worth living.

And I never expect anyone to be my mentor because I’ve asked them.

Or to say yes to every request I make (and I don’t make many).

However, the additional bonus of living your life this way is that your mentors may choose you when you’re not asking them.

And you never have to make an ask from nowhere ever again.



P.S. Many of you have been part of my online family for a long time…and many of the themes above I have hit on over the years of writing this blog.

Don’t hold that against me—I’ve been told that reruns (with a different spin) are useful for reminders—and the new spin might seem like new information too.

Creating video  from these concepts (even though this series was filmed on my iPhone and I have “COVID Hair” in them as well), was a good thing to do for posterity. And I was home anyway.

It’s far from a Quentin Tarantino production (very far!)—and when you watch them, please be kind.

The fourth video, which talks about the results of a lifetime of doing the “stuff” over 4 decades is being released today for the first time.

Click here to watch this last one in the series.

And you can also watch any of the previous ones described above.

(And you’ll note I got a haircut before filming the fourth!)

I think you will find it interesting (if not insightful) as I chronicle how this methodology has worked for me—and many others.

There is also a special offer at the end for my virtual mastermind, Titans Xcelerator, an offer which includes a discount plus a free copy of one of Gene Schwartz’s classic books, Breakthrough Advertising or The Brilliance Breakthrough.

Click on the image below whether or not you are interested in the offer…the content is worthwhile.

P.P.S. Near the end of video #4, I talk about some of the amazing coaches, mentors, advisors, entrepreneurs, copywriters who are in Titans Xcelerator already.

I am enjoying interacting with everyone in the group and let me brag on more of them:

  • Pauline Longdon: A wonderful copywriter from Australia who came to the Titans of Direct Response event in 2014 (to attain knowledge and get people in her corner) and in a little over 5 years has become an A-list copywriter—and she found her mentor (well, her mentor found her) and she has also become a mentor to many. (She did it way faster than I did!)
  • Lee Richter: A rock star in a variety of areas including being a mentor to thousands of female entrepreneurs while running multiple animal hospitals (with her veterinarian husband)…and she’s also a serial entrepreneur who gives her time and expertise to any and all…and she’s in partnership with some of the best direct response marketers in the world because of it.
  • Paul Bigham: A veteran in direct response, a direct mail savant, who knows more about charitable fundraising than anyone I know. And yes, he is a mentor to many as well.
  • Ginger Rutz: “The Copy Sister” (she is the sister of world renowned copywriter Jim Rutz)…and she was the genius behind the scenes that made Jim’s copy come to life.
  • Chirag Patel: An entrepreneur from India making a splash with a Tennis Academy that mirrors the best in the world…working with many other Titans Xcelerators in collaboration to make that happen.
  • Belinda Brewster and Kim Krause Schwalm: Top copywriters I hired in my days at Boardroom (they both wrote multiple controls on their own and together) and since I’ve left Boardroom, they have continued their success with my clients…and many others.

This is just a smattering of the awesome folks in Titans Xcelerator…and I am so proud of what we have built with this one-of-a-kind virtual mastermind.

I am so glad I have an “online family within my online family!”

And right now is the best time to join.

There are so many exciting things going on in the group:

  • Weekly live calls during COVID (instead of monthly)
  •  Access to all of those calls plus a monthly (new) Titans Interview with someone doing extraordinary things in direct response marketing today
  • A selection from the Titans Vault (presentations from superstars from Titans Mastermind over the past 5 years including Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham, Perry Marshall and Jeff Walker)
  • A “swipe of the month”—classic promotion that you can steal smart from
  • Everything mentioned above delivered on a monthly USB thumb drive mailed in a plastic case to your home…so you have all the content forever
  • And the most active private Facebook Group with Xcelerators sharing their best ideas and resources

It’s virtual, affordable and this deal that I am making in video #4 goes away on June 21st at midnight.

And we will not be putting new members in again until January of 2021.

Please consider joining…but watch video #4 regardless.

P.P.S. On Thursday June 18th at 7:00 p.m. eastern U.S. time, I will be holding an “ask me anything webinar” and I will answer any questions you have about my training, Titans Xcelerator or anything else re: direct response marketing that’s on your mind.

But you need to opt into the video series to do that. Just click on the screenshot below:

Hope to “see you” this Thursday! Zoom details to follow soon.

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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