How to Get People To Take a Chance on You
I hear it every week – “Nobody wants to take a chance on me.” I mostly hear it from people who are looking for a handout or from people who have no clue how to change their situation. Sometimes people do genuinely get lucky but for most of us, luck isn't what we rely on. Getting someone to take a chance on you is not impossible - we all know someone who seemed to have “caught a lucky break” and is now “living the dream.”
But we overlook so many parts of people’s stories once we see the success they have had. Yes, someone may have taken a chance on them; but I’m always more curios about what it is that they did to get someone to believe in them enough to give them a shot. This applies in both professional and personal areas of our lives. The same skill required to get your CEO to give you a large account as a junior rep is often the same skills required to convince the police officer not to give you a ticket or to convince a hiring manager to make you an offer even though you don’t have the 3 years of experience they are looking for. That skill is called Persuasion.
Persuasion is literally causing someone to do something or believe something through reasoning; to convince. The most persuasive people I know are not argumentative or aggressive – they are understanding and passionate. So how exactly do you get people to take a chance on you:
1. Bet on yourself first - Why would someone take a chance on you if you haven’t taken a chance on yourself. Now, this looks different for everybody. For me, once I realized I didn’t have enough work experience, I just started launching new businesses – trying to figure out what I was good at. Some were profitable, some were really stupid, others cost me thousands of dollars but I was always learning. I remember my interviews at my first job after graduating. The CEO literally said “You don’t have any experience but you’re an entrepreneur so I know you’ll do well.” My only previous experience was selling hoverboards online. It shouldn’t bother you that people don’t want to take a chance on you yet, it should motivate you to bet on yourself. Invest in you, develop your skills and build confidence in yourself – then people will have confidence in you.
2. Put in the work – Nothing can replace good old fashion hard work. My first year in tech sales I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I didn’t understand SaaS, or sales cycles but I knew early mornings and late nights. What I lacked in skill I made up for in hard work. I made thousands of cold calls, read as many books as possible and came in 2 hours early every day. So my boss gave me a pretty big raise within the first month – he took a chance on me, again. The harder you work, the luckier you will get.
3. Become a problem-solver – Whether you work for a company or are hoping to, there are always problems that need to be solved. Having a solution-oriented mindset shows leadership and initiative. We didn’t have a marketing department at Purple Forge – my first real job. Our CEO had built a website that was 90% text and impossible to navigate. I created a proposal and learned some HTML to be able to build a website that allowed us to showcase the product and generate leads. Within 1 month I finished the project and built collateral with the same branding. The new layout helped us booking more meetings from inbound leads. All of a sudden, I was sitting in on management meetings and getting more responsibility. Don’t be part of the group that is always complaining that something is wrong, become a problem solver and make things happen. Leaders solve problems.
4. Follow Up – Consistency is a key part of being persuasive. A friend of mine tried getting into his dream company and kept getting rejected. On his fifth attempt, he got to the final interview stage and botched it! He completely messed up the interview; but he did what most people were not willing to do – he followed up. He sent a video to the hiring manager and redeemed his failed interview. A few days later, he got the job offer. The fruit is in the follow up. Learn what it takes to be likeable and persistent – there’s a fine balance - but make it a habit to always go back and ask again. Maybe this time you’ll get lucky!
I’m sure there are many other ways to convince someone to take a chance on you but these have worked well for me in every area. Bet on yourself, put in the work, solve problems and follow up; then maybe you’ll get lucky. I hope someone takes a chance on you this year!
“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I have.” - Thomas Jefferson