Give & Take

In Blog, Personal Branding
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Hello Dre,

First off, I am a big fan of your videos. _________________ (Some way my video content has helped them in basketball/life). I am ____________ (self description: height, age, where they play, what they’ve done in life. This can be as short as this sentence or several paragraphs). [Multiple choice last sentence:] I wanted to know if you could help me in any way / Do you have any tips or advice for me? / What can you tell me about my situation?  

Thanks a lot, 

________ (Name)

——

I get this type of email daily. Are there things wrong with this email? Yes.

  1. give & take dreallday.com dre baldwinYou haven’t asked anything specific. If you want something from someone, especially someone who may only communicate with you one time, ask for what you want — be clear about what you’re asking for and make sure they know you’re asking. Too many of you send em these general information messages and don’t even ask a specific question. “Any tips/advice?” is NOT specific and this ending could cost you your chance at an exchange with someone — not just me. So if you want “help”, say how — what kind of help? What, specifically would you like me to do? I can tell very easily when someone has put thought into a message they’ve sent me and when they just threw down the first thing on their mind because they don’t value the interaction. Not valuing the interaction leaves many emails unanswered.
  2. I hear often from people who not only send me these general-info messages, but ask me to do something for them when they know I am not a coach/general manager/agent. Not being those things means I cannot get you a contract/scholarship/roster spot. But hey, maybe I know someone — worth a try, yes. So you want me to do some work for you. When you ask for something, what are you offering in exchange? It’s not that I ever expect anything, but let’s be honest: I don’t know you. If I could help someone further their career/life, why would I help you, out of hundreds of people asking the same question? What have you done for me — do I owe you something? What can you do for me?
    Here’s something you all should know: This is how life works when you’re dealing with people. Self-interst rules everyone — the human’s favorite radio station is WIIFM — “What’s In In For Me?”. In case you didn’t know, a coach/general manager/agent makes money when a platter they deal with gets a contract, or their teams win — they’re not working out of the kindness of their hearts. If an agent doesn’t see “contract” potential in a player, she won’t reply to you. If a coach doesn’t feel you can better the club, he’ll ignore you. Simple as that. When you ask someone for help, you are asking for their time — some percentage of the 24 hours in their day. They own that time and owe none of it to you. Even charity workers get something — the positive attention/feelings of helping others. Someone knows what they did. Maybe I’m being cynical but it’s the truth.
    If I have the choice of helping one of two people, will I help the person who offers something in return or the beggar who just “wants help”? Who would you help? If you cannot offer anything in exchange when asking someone for help, don’t be surprised to come up empty handed. If you have nothing to offer, you should spend more time/effort working — so you do have something — and not begging.

Say you come out of a nice restaurant and the valet is all backed up; it’ll be 20 minutes before you get your car. One guy walks up and begs for his car to be retrieved quickly because he needs to get home to bed. Another guy wants his car fast too — like every-fucking-one-else — and slips the valet a crisp $20 on the sly. Who’s car is coming out first? Oh, you don’t have $20 because ______________ (insert your bitch-ass excuses)? Whose fault is that?

Am I saying I won’t reply to your email with a link to a video or two? No, not at all. I’ve done that thousands of times and will continue to. But don’t ask me to work for you, and damn sure don’t ever ask someone to do more work for you than you clearly have not been doing for yourself.

It’s much easier to ask for something — and get it — when you have something to offer back.

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