381 – The Power of Ask with Steve Cohen

Taylor Swift rejected me yesterday. Steve, my producer, emailed her publicist. I knew the answer would be “no,” but he did it anyway.

I read the email they wrote back. And it fascinated me. They thanked Steve for asking. They said, “It’s great to hear from you.”

And Steve thought… “Maybe, they’ll think ‘Why not?’”

“If you don’t ask, the answer is always ‘no,’” he said. “You miss all the shots you don’t take.”

And he’s constantly emailing “Taylor Swifts”.

Steve emailed Obama. He said “no.”

Paul McCartney. “No.”

Bernie Madoff sent an official signed prison document denying our request.

I need to frame that.

“You either win. Or you learn,” Steve said.

Steve has a strategy. He’s building a plausible argument. For every single person he emails (out of reach or not) he’s always asking, “How can we help them?”

That’s Strategy A:
Make it an offer. Find what matters to them. And offer. It’s less of an ask if you offer.

Then he told me Strategy B:
“Sometimes you shop for things in season and sometimes out of season.”

“What does that mean?” I asked.

He explained his thinking with James Comey. His book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, came out a few months ago.

“He’s doing every single network show. You have to let the big dogs eat first. But a month or two down the line, maybe it’s out of season.”

The promotion for his book is most likely over. And maybe book sales are down.

“It’s less crowded. We can go in and provide value to them. We can get a different perspective.”

Steve is keeping The James Altucher Show on the radar all the time. And I recommend this to anyone reading. Don’t count yourself out as a “no” because you think “they” will say “no.” That’s the total opposite of “Choose Yourself.” That’s “Reject Yourself.” Don’t do that.

Strategy C:
Steve’s always in touch with every single one of his contacts. He’s showing them we’re legit. So then that publicist starts to think of other people she could help us connect with. And maybe they’re a better fit for the show at that time.

People are constantly moving. A year from now, the publicist for Comey or Obama or whoever could be working for someone else. And they could connect us with someone great.

It reminds me of when I sold my first business. I wanted to sell it as quickly as possible. I remember I wrote to the head of Mergers and Acquisitions at Omnicom, the big ad agency.

She came and visited. We were too small. “No.”

But then every month for the next year, I sent her an update. One day, they were in the market to buy medium-sized businesses. And she called me.

I stayed in her face for a year. One person…

Steve sends 200+ emails EVERYDAY. I wanted to know the nuances and subtleties.

I wanted to know the art of the ask…

So I did a special podcast… and it’s live now.

 

Links and Resources

Taylor Swift

Reverend Jesse Jackson

Derek Jeter

James Comey

My Interview with Seth Godin

My Interview with T.D. Jakes

Omnicom Group

Brian Grazer

Conan O’Brien

Marian Rivera

Tyra Banks

Bernie Madoff

Choose Yourself by Me

The Tim Ferriss Show

The Momentwith Brian Koppelman

Richard Branson

Marc Maron

Barack Obama

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz

Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal

Spike Lee

Jerry Seinfeld

  • Don’t ask – Don‘t get! It‘s is simple as that!

  • Mitchell Cohen

    Another great one! It’s interesting hearing what happens behind the scenes, and I always love hearing Steve on the podcast!
    Thanks guys!

  • Oliver H

    It would seem sometimes that public personas at the peak of their fame and glory are so big that they don’t need a public. But keep at it.