The Fine Art of the Ask

The Fine Art of the Ask

Have you ever wondered how some people just seem to direct opportunity in their direction?  They seem to win new biz, attract the right people, simply make things happen. Just lucky? Sure, maybe a bit of fate plays a part in any successful endeavor. However, sometimes it is something like the good ole’ humble “ask” that can propel our business and lives forward.

The art of the “ask” isn’t some ninja skill that only a select few can master.  We all can hone our “ask” ability. Getting a “yes” to our inquiry isn’t always easy though. Nine times out of ten you must be persistent or creative and often you have to work really hard to get it. But, if you don’t learn how to make an “ask” appropriately, you’re pretty much guaranteeing yourself a “no”.

While asking for anything isn’t always a piece of cake, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of hearing a “yes”. Know exactly what you want to ask. Duh, you say?  Well, you would be surprised how many people in some fashion or other think they know what they want to ask BUT they haven’t mapped it out precisely and thus the “ask” ends up sounding random at best or hesitant at worst.  

What is it that you actually want from your “ask”? It must be strategic in nature and not willy nilly.  Defining a few core goals that explain what and why you are making the ask ensures it is easy for others to comprehend right out of the gate why they should help you, thus the likelihood of getting that help is increased exponentially.

Often you will get a much more positive response if you ask for something concrete. Asking, “could we meet up for an hour and discuss how I could improve my marketing?” is more specific and much easier to say “yes” to than, “I don’t know how to make my business successful. Can you help?” Reach out with a dedicated “ask” in mind and a rationale for it and you will more than likely get people to say “yes”. If they feel your passion, relate to your story, if you are compelling and honest, you will be amazed at how often individuals will say “Yes, sure I can help you out, offer my time, refer you to others, share my thoughts…”.

Once you get the “yes”, be sure to offer to reciprocate and agree to assist them in some manner whether it be by networking, brainstorming, or giving of your time or expertise. Giving and receiving are companions that take turns throughout our lives, and we all get a chance to be on both sides of the exchange from time to time.

Asking for anything can be difficult because it is about opening up and sharing. However, the rewards can be priceless. Showing your vulnerability can deepen the relationships you have with other people, building trust and forming stronger bonds.  We all want to genuinely see others succeed.

What will you “ask” for this week to help move your business forward?