Build It First

It's 7 a.m. and I'm checking my email. According to the experts, this is not the best way to start your day. But I can't resist the urge. I sip my coffee and slowly wake up. I scan the subject lines of a column of messages. The top two catch my eye. They are perfect examples of the value of investing in your relationships with people before you need help from them.

Here's how the first one starts: “I hope you will agree to help me launch my new book. I am sending you a copy. I'd like to ask you to write a five-star review on Amazon.com.”

Now, I enjoy lending a hand to other authors. I do it often. But I've never met nor heard of this person. This gentleman wants me to commit significant time to helping him, but he hasn't laid the groundwork for his request.

I do a quick check.

No, he has never reviewed any of my books, or commented on my blog or website (that would have been a nice way to get my attention). He has never subscribed to any of my newsletters, or emailed me about how much he enjoyed one (flattery will get you everywhere!). Turns out, he is not even a friend of a friend (that kind of connection is always helpful, and you can often find one through LinkedIn or other social media platforms).

With very little effort the author of this email could have predisposed me to write that review for him.

Now the second email. It's from a fellow I went to graduate school with. I remember him as a nice person, although we were never particularly friendly at school. ...

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