How to Make Requests
THE LANGUAGE OF BUSINESS
by Suzanne Lyons
This is one of the hardest things for people in the entertainment industry to do. In other businesses it’s the normal language of business. Making requests is common practice. Here, in the entertainment world, we tend to feel like we are interrupting, interfering or over stepping our bounds, and instead of making request we end up asking for favors. Favors don’t work in business. Requests work in business. It’s the language of business. We tend to ask in a tone of voice that is more like a favor.
In a meeting where the person has shown an interest in your script, you say “I’m really happy you want to read my script, thanks so much for doing this, I really hope you like it.” And it’s the tone that implies a favor… like they are doing you a favor if they read it. I have tons of unread screenplays that have been collecting dust in my office for years that came to me as a favor. A request has power in it and it keeps the power in your court. It would be more like, “thanks so much for agreeing to read my script. I am certain it’s a perfect fit for your company, and can I call you in two weeks to get your response.” They may counter offer and say no, call me in three weeks, but at least it’s in your court.
One of the actors I coached years ago was amazing at doing all the necessary steps needed to get her name out there. She was great at creating relationships, setting goals, getting her head shots and demo reels out, doing follow up, etc. She just couldn’t figure out why nothing was happening. When I asked her if she was actually making requests she was silent. I said, did you say, for example, “here is my demo reel that you asked for… can I call you by the end of the week and get your response?” I could see the light bulb go on in her head when I asked about making this request. She said it had never even occurred to her. And by not being aware of this simple (yet important!) business tool, she’d missed some great opportunities. So she committed to me on the spot that she would go back and make all the calls again, but this time she would add this new tool… she would make requests! The results were unbelievable. By the time my month of working with her was over she was up to five auditions a weeks, getting call backs and roles!
EXERCISE: Okay, now I want you to take your Map of Relationships (your data base of relationships) and call everyone (yes, I said everyone!) on your map and make a request. Get back into relationship and then, tell them what you’re up to and make a request. Maybe it’s asking for a referral to someone on your Target List. Always, end those calls with “and is there anything I can do for you?”