Yesterday over at Daily Blog Tips, Daniel Scocco shared a hint about the kinds of email requests he responds to:
...the requests I reply to always create a win-win situation. That is, the other part wants something, but she is also willing to do something for me, so everyone will be happy in the end.
A better approach, which is the one I used, is the following: "Hey, I am launching a product soon, with 50% commissions. On top of that if you become an active affiliate I'll be more than glad to return the favor and promote one of your products or services.
Depending on who you're sending the request to, that may work. But it's going to work best when pitching to someone at about the same level as or smaller than you. If you're a small player, and they're an A-Lister, your "win-win" offer may come across as a presumptuous "win-who cares".
And in fact, even when the playing field is fairly level, if the other guy doesn't already know you, they may think they're getting the short end of the deal.
So instead of "win-win", may I suggest a new term: "won-win".
In other words, promote their product first. Drive a bunch of sales. Then email them saying, "I just promoted your product. It was great, which made promoting it really easy, and I made X sales. Thanks. ... and by the way, I'm going to be launching a product that's designed for the same kinds of people you're selling to..." and so on.
Not only have you proven that you can deliver by already having delivered sales, but the fact that you've already done something for them may trigger what Dr. Robert Cialdini refers to as "reciprocity" -- a sense of obligation to return the favor.
Even if they don't promote your product (sometimes it just won't be the right fit for them), if you've driven enough sales, they'll know you as a valuable affiliate, which may earn you insider benefits in future promotions of their products, leading to increased commissions. Plus, it could lay the foundation for getting that return favor some day when the time is right.