My daughter likes to ask for a back massage and a foot massage every night before bed. So, the other night I said to her, “You’re a pretty lucky girl! I don’t think most 6-year-olds are getting a back and foot massage every night.”
She looked at me and says, “Mommy, that’s because they don’t ask.” Her words of wisdom hit me like a slap in the face…Why are so many people afraid to ask?
I mean the worst that can happen is someone says “no”, right? Believe me, there are many nights that she asks that I do say no because it’s too late or she hasn’t earned it. But it never stops her from asking again the next night. Because she knows what she likes, she knows what she wants, and she isn’t afraid of getting a “no” and then trying to negotiate the outcome by saying “how about just a foot rub then…”
Being able to ask for what you want or need is an essential skill for an entrepreneur and small business owner. Whether you are asking for a referral, trying to close a sale or asking someone for help, taking the initiative and doing it will make a huge impact on your business.
After thinking about the lessons I have learned from my daughter’s tenacity as well as my experience in business, I have put together 5 key reasons that make asking so critical in growing your business.
1. You can only get a YES if you ask.
If you don’t ever ask for what you want, then you will never get it. You can’t expect people to read your mind and know what you want. You’ve got to open up and tell them what it is you are looking for.
Know the important questions you need to be asking in order to get what you want. If you’re going to a networking event, ask “Do you know someone who… (fill in the blank with your ideal client)” Have an objective in mind when you go to events so that you can leave with your questions answered.
2. You learn what people really want.
Mastering the art of asking goes beyond just asking for what you want, to learning how to ask others what they want. Asking the right questions to clients, employees, prospects and vendors help you understand their needs and desires better so that your communication and relationships improve.
Asking your clients for input and how you can provide more value for them will make your offers/products/solutions so much better. Asking prospects what their biggest pain points are will give you insight into what message you need to be relaying to draw in more ideal clients.
3. It improves your negotiation skills.
Remember that NO just stands for either Not Now or Not this Offer. If you’ve made an offer to an ideal client and get a no, you have to take a look at where you may have fallen short on connecting the dots for them on how your program will solve their problem or why this is the time that they need to take action.
You may need to consider if there is another option that is better for them. Or like my daughter who says, “Okay, if I can’t get both…how about just this one thing then…” and figure out how you may need to carve out pieces that are more urgent for them at that time.
4. It saves you time and money.
When you ask for help with things that aren’t in your area of expertise you will save a ton of time. When you find yourself asking “How am I going to get all of this done?” or “How do I do this?”, instead ask yourself, “Who can help with this?”. This will free up your time and allow you to focus on things that you are good that will benefit you in your business.
You can get incredible savings when you ask for them. Be willing to ask for discounts or better terms on contracts.
5. It builds your confidence.
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Fear is what holds so many entrepreneurs back in their business. The more you ask, the more natural it will feel. You will start to get more confident each time after seeing positive results it has on your business.
It’s just like doing more sales conversations makes you a stronger salesperson. But when you’re not asking at the end of that sales conversation for the business, you’ve lost confidence in yourself and your offer. Consistently asking builds your confidence in the process.
Don’t let the “No’s” Get you down!
Many people won’t even ask because they are afraid of getting a “No”, or they assume that they already know what the person wants or needs and don’t give the person an opportunity to even turn them down.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid or overcome the down feeling when you get a “No” or a “Not Now”.
• Know your conversion rates. If you understand how many people you need to talk to in order to get a “Yes” then when you get the “No’s” it just reinforces that you are so much closer to a “Yes”. If you’re expecting every person you ask to convert, you are not being realistic and will feel like a failure every time.
• Practice leads to Profits. If you are consistently asking for leads, giving calls to action and making offers, you will get better and better which will lead to more profits. If you are just starting out, be patient with yourself and keep practicing. Learn from your mistakes and keep honing your skills and it will pay off with more opportunities.
• Don’t give up. Getting a no, doesn’t always mean you’ve lost the sale. In many circumstances, it may be that you didn’t hit their pain point, the timing was wrong or they weren’t really understanding or listening. It doesn’t mean that you can’t turn this into a yes at some point. You may just need to try another approach.
If you want to be successful in your business, you have to get used to asking for what you want and need. You will have to learn to react to the responses and adjust as you go, there is no place for being shy or nervous when it comes to building a business. The only way to outgrow those types of feelings is to practice asking over and over again.
This is an entrepreneurial skill worth learning that will be worth the effort. It may come more naturally for some but making an effort and putting yourself out there will build your courage and confidence each time.
Tami Jaffe, Breakout Growth Expert, Speaker and Energy Transformer
Tami has made it her mission to liberate independent success-minded women from shackles of a corporate career so that they can start, grow and scale their own purpose driven business and not only replace their corporate income but exceed it.