The only way to get what you want out of life is by asking, and the only way to improve asking abilities is to get practicing! Asking for things naturally begins at birth and follows us to the grave. It is essential for getting what you want out of life.
What do you want? Don’t be afraid to ask others to educate you; you need to ask the right questions and ensure that they are good questions. As life progresses, most people tend to lose the initiative to ask for what they want. How hard is it to ask someone to be your friend? It’s ridiculously hard, right? Learning to compartmentalize stress to gain comfort in asking for things will open doors for you. Why not ask for a raise, a date, a sale, or a price reduction? Most people simply don’t ask. The result is getting less than what they want. If you have fallen out of the routine of asking, you can follow these easy habits for success.
1. Start slowly to build momentum.
That’s right. The key is to learn to ask better questions. Make simple requests to remind yourself that you can, and often do, get what you want by asking. You may feel uneasy blatantly asking for something the first time. Especially if you are new to negotiations, you may feel uncomfortable. Try asking open-ended questions instead of closed questions. I find it won’t feel so personal if and when you meet resistance. Closed questions can make a person feel like they are in an interrogation. Open questions are typically light-hearted, allowing you to build rapport with the other person. One example is to say something like, “Wow, it seems pretty cold in the office, doesn’t it?” These leading questions allow others to give their opinion without directly asking your boss to turn up the heat. Is it going to work every time? Of course not, but asking will significantly increase the probability of getting what you want. Yes! Improve asking abilities, and you will increase the probability of hearing a ‘Yes!” Any skill requires practice and repetition, so get started today.
“Go forth to meet the shadowy future without fear.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
2. Learn to enjoy uncertainty.
People work dead-end jobs and stay in unproductive relationships because they are unsure of what to expect if they ask for something different. Most people are so scared about the uncertainty that they never activate their asking muscles for fear they will make a mistake or fail. Different types of questions can spawn a plethora of outcomes, even from the same respondents. Don’t cut yourself short by overthinking what the possible outcomes may be. Trust your own emotional intelligence. Pay attention to the cues you are given, maintain eye contact, and be prepared to answer follow-up questions. No great business leaders and relationship builders ever really know what to expect, but they are still willing to walk into the unknown.
3. Develop a list of people you can ask.
No one climbs the ladder of success without the aid of someone else. When contestants on Shark Tank walk into that room, you can believe they are uncertain. Luckily for them, Mark Cuban is definitely the right person to ask. Not everyone has the opportunity to stand before such an iconic resource. As “askers,” we have to ensure our success by placing ourselves with the right audience. Brainstorm on paper a list of people whose assistance and cooperation you want or need to achieve your goal. Choose the top ten names and describe how and why you want them to help you. Then write down how they might benefit. Approach each one of these people and ask!
4. Track your success.
Someday does not exist. Today is the only reality. Your life five years from today will be nothing more than the accumulation of all those days. And how you spend each one affects all others. Olympic athletes cannot simply ride the wave of their team members. Each and every move that they make is calculated and tracked. Think of your business strategy as a singular athlete. Don’t compare yourself to your coworkers. Each asking encounter improves your game. Focus on setting personal asking goals and then track your success daily, weekly, and monthly. Use a calendar organizer or a dry-erase board to track the progress of your asking. This will give you a clearer picture of how often you ask for what you want and how successful you are at getting it!
“Great organizations demand a high level of commitment by the people involved.”– Bill Gates.
5. Play the numbers game.
Sales are down when the sales department isn’t talking to enough prospects. When sales are down by 50 percent, it might be a good idea to prospect twice as many people. If your manuscript is rejected, send it to another publisher until it is accepted. Approach and ask the same prospect several times if you want the sale. Whatever you want to achieve, keep on prospecting, swinging, shooting, practicing, and playing — and you’ll win.
The truth is: if you don’t ask, you rarely get. Use resources on social media to boost your asking game. If you are looking to sell your own idea and need a cofounder, do a deep dive into online resources and research who you want to ask. Put yourself out there. Follow every person you can find who is an expert in your field. Use your LinkedIn like a tool chest. Stock it with influential and motivated people. Motivated people, motivate people. What you want may seem like such a far-reaching dream, but you never know unless you put yourself out there and ask the right people the right questions. Practice these powerful habits to make a quantifiable difference in your personal and professional life.
Now you know how to improve asking skills and get what you want!
Best of success to you!