In You Don’t Have to Do It Alone, the authors share the following story:
Julie [one of the co-authors] once received an invitation to a garden party at Buckingham Palace hosted by the Queen of England. Yes, that Queen of England. Julie had to sign a receipt when the invitation was delivered. The envelope was stamped front and back with “Lord Chamberlain Buckingham Palace.” It was addressed in beautifully handwritten calligraphic script. The message on the card itself was embossed in gold. It began with the words, “The Lord Chamberlain is commanded to invite . . . ”
Talk about a special invitation. Julie still has it. The Queen, and the Lord Chamberlain, could be sure she would attend.
How different is that from the mass email “could anybody help with . . .”
This over-the-top invitation makes a point that you and I can learn from, even if we don’t have a Lord Chamberlain to command.
Your best chance of getting somebody to say “yes” is to make sure that the ask feels special to them.
There are many ways to do that: a personal phone call, a specially-printed invitation, a phone call from a big-wig. Even just personalizing your email so they know you wrote to them and not to fifty people at once.
You may not have gold-embossed stationary, but you can still make someone feel special.
And when you make someone feel special, they are more likely to say “yes.”
bonus observation: Did you notice the specific, compelling details in the description of the invitation? Wasn’t that more impressive than a bland “Julie received an invitation from the Queen of England”? When writing, these kinds of concrete details help paint a vivid picture in your reader’s mind. It’s worth recording them.