I just read this article about authors looking for literary representation.

Reminds me of the many times I’ve been approached at a public meeting by an aspiring author who wants me to do something for them because they want it. Or the emails that ask me to read a book, visit a site or get involved with someone I don’t know because the author wants to sell books.

The approach rarely works.

It’s like the guy who goes to a party and makes a marriage proposal to every woman he sees. He gets ignored or slapped a lot, but rarely is successful.

There’s a much better way.

Instead of seeking help, become known as the kind of person that helps people.

Every big name author I work with is constantly approached by other authors looking for help of some kind. Behind the scenes, we discuss this and each one of them tells me the same thing. They want to help. They have been through the struggle, learned the path to success and take joy in helping those that are coming up behind them.

But like the girls in the party, they have to be choosy about who they help. It’s only human to want to hang out with people we like.

How do you get them to choose you?

Simple. Be likable.

Robert Cialdini identified “likability” as one of the top persuasion principles in his book Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion. When we interviewed him last week, we talked about his new findings on the likability.

Cialdini explains that traditionally, sales training teaching persuaders to find a common ground.. something that both the persuader and the target have in common, but today Cialdini tells of a easier approach.

Like people.

Go out of your way to find out about the desires of your target.. find the common ground and especially find something you like about them. Focus on that, and help them get what they want.

You’ll find that people who an help you will start asking to help.

And you’ll have more fun while you move towards success.