Whether you own your own business, or you work in an office; we are all in Sales. If you want customers to buy your products or services, you must ask for the sale. If you want a promotion, you must ask for it, and if you want a discount at the grocery store because the can is dented, you must ask for it. Most of us wouldn’t hesitate to ask the grocer for the discount, so realize; you are just as entitled to the sale and the promotion. But you must ask for them, and that is not always easy.
For some reason, many of us hesitate to ask for what we want or even what we need. But it makes sense when you think about it, because most of us go to great lengths to be independent and self sufficient. Many times we associate asking for something as a show of weakness, as a cry for help or the need for charity. So, that is where we begin: The fact that you are here and reading a blog to help improve your life, means that you are an intelligent and self-resourceful person. You are entitled to have everything in life you ever wanted and dreamed of. Let’s make the approach to the “asking” a logical task; a skill and not an emotional plea.
Make a list of everything you want today: I want to sell 10 widgets, I want a promotion, I want him to get off the couch and take out the trash! Before you can get what you want, you must know what that is. For instance, if you are in business and have products or services to sell, you want to make those sales so that you have money to live and share a better life. So, look at that widget that you sell as simply a means to an end. It is a tangible thing, which has value and for which other people have a need. In your job, you are the widget with value. Now, establish the value of the widget…not the cost, but the value. Example: I sell violins. Jack plays violins. Jack needs my violin in order to play. Before I can tell you how to ask for what you want, you need to understand the importance of establishing value and trust, so consider this: The violins I sell are built with exceptional craftsmanship, high grade materials and come with high quality strings. This is the value of my violins. Now we come to the tricky part. If Jack does not understand the value of my violins, Jack will not buy one. If your boss does not understand the value of you, she won’t promote you. If you ask for the sale too soon, before there is value, there will be no trust and without trust there is no sale, no promotion and no response to “please take out the trash.” Of course, he values the fact that you won’t be cooking dinner if he doesn’t and trusts that he won’t get the cold shoulder while Jeopardy is on…you get my point.
The average person needs to be exposed to the value of a product 7 to 10 times before they make a purchase. Think about it: Jack needs to hear the information that is unique about my violins, 7 to 10 times before I can ask him for the sale. So, I will find many different ways to convey the same points to Jack in a way that he understands the information, perceives the value and has come to trust me over the course of the consistent delivery of important facts. Your employer will begin to value and trust you when you have consistently said things like, “I understand that you would like me to do this…” Or, “I understand what you mean by….” These gentle reminders demonstrate your value by showing your boss you are doing the job that was asked of you and, more importantly, you have given them something we all need by expressing her value and showing her that she taught you well.
Now, it’s time: ask for the sale. In the case of Jack, make sure you have established trust by asking, “Is there anything else I can tell you about this violin?” Make sure you have established value by asking, “Is this the violin you want?” Obviously, if you get a “no” to either of these questions, go back to the steps above until you get a “yes.” There are two ways to ask for what you want and you have to decide which suits your personality. First, you can take the absolute direct route to the point and ask, “Jack, will you buy my violin?” Or, “Boss, will you give me a promotion?” Or second, you can take the old salesman approach and ask for what you want with confidence in the form of an affirmation, (people have a tendency to doubt themselves and if you give them a minute to second guess their choices; they will pause and take a step back.) If you are sure you have what they need, be assertive. Say, “I will check you out at the counter.” In the case of your promotion, “I understand my job and have performed it well and I would like to be promoted on Friday and continue to grow with the company.” Personally, I like to ask Jack if he would buy my violin. I know my violin is good, it’s good for him and when I say, “my,” it becomes a personal connection between what I need and what Jack needs. It’s not even necessary to say “please” because this is not a charitable request, you are providing equity. It is as easy as that. It really is.
Take the time to decide what you want. Establish value and trust with the people from whom you want it, and ask for it. Right now, make a list of the things you want in your life. From whom do you want them? What is the value of that thing for them? Once you have established clear value and sincere trust, ask for what you want. You will be surprised how often you will get it!