Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Simple Way to Get What You Need—In Business or in Life

By Stacy Karacostas ·
Friday, July 23rd, 2010

More years ago than I care to count, I moved from Georgia to Colorado—ostensibly to finish college. Since I needed to pay in-state tuition rates, I had to live there for a year before starting to school.

Having already been a whitewater raft guide on the Ocoee River in Tennessee, it seemed natural to get a job as a raft guide for the summer. Then, in the winter, I figured I could wait tables in a resort town and learn to ski (it’s a rough life…right?).

I had one small problem though…

I had a dog.

Finding housing in a mountain town can be really difficult. And finding housing with a dog can be close to impossible. So, at first I camped out while I searched for a room to rent.

Lucky for me, my Mom came to visit and decided it was high time I found a place.

Then she promptly embarrassed the heck out of me by asking each and every person we ran into if they knew of any place for rent.

I don’t mean asking acquaintances or coworkers. I’m talking about bank tellers, check out girls, random people on the street, the postman…you name it.

Needless to say, I was totally mortified each and every time I heard her utter the words “Let me ask you a question…” in her thick French accent to some total stranger.

I kept begging her to stop until finally she explained her strategy…Something she called the “Three Foot Rule”.

Basically, anytime she needed something, she asked everyone who came within three feet of her if they could help. Or if they knew someone else who might. Until eventually she found what she needed.
Once I realized she wasn’t totally insane I let her keep asking. And you know what?

An amazing thing happened…

Someone (I think it was the bank teller) did know of a cute little studio apartment that had just become vacant. And best of all, it was dog friendly.

I was blown away!

This became one of my most important and valuable life lessons. I promptly began putting the power of the Three Foot Rule to work for me.

When I moved to Breckinridge that winter, I accomplished the unheard of feat of finding a place to live with my dog by literally knocking on doors. This at a time when people I knew were paying rent for couch, foyer or floor space.

Later, I discovered I could use the Three Foot Rule to find almost anything—business or personal. I’ve used it to find quality printers, graphic designers, event locations, hotels, referral partners, real estate agents—even clients.

How can this rule work in your business?

Here’s a good example…

A skilled copywriter I know had been struggling for a while to build his business. Then, one day recently, he mentioned he was focusing solely on writing Web and print sales letters.

A few weeks later at a seminar, I found a flyer posted looking for a freelance copywriter to write sales letters. I remembered his comment, passed it along, and he followed up.

His first project started a week or so later.

Here’s the email he sent me …

“Yeah, it’s been weird. Ever since I made a conscious decision to go after that kind of work (sales letters), I’ve gotten leads for that kind of work. And it pays to tell people what you’re looking for, too.”
The reality is …it’s not weird at all. It’s just the mighty power of the Three Foot Rule at work.

Ready to try it for yourself?

•First, decide what you need. And be as specific as possible.

•Second, ask everyone you come in contact with (make no exceptions)if they know where you can find or get it.

Entrepreneurs are typically uncomfortable asking for help. And I know this might seem a little weird at first. But just give it a shot. Most people love helping, and are happy to offer advice, recommendations or referrals.

Trust me; once you see the amazing results, using the Three Foot Rule gets easier and more effective. So don’t be shy. Get out there and start asking for what you need.

Because, as my Mom would say, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”.

Have you ever used the 3-foot rule, or something similar to get what you need? Do you struggle with asking for help? I’d love to know your thoughts on this.

*posted with permission of my friend, stacy

1 comment:

  1. It's so true, reading your post made me reflect on my own instances with the three foot rule. Love the blog, keep it up! :)