I used to have a friend and colleague that used to say, “Half of the getting is in the asking.” Can you get something simply by asking? Is it really that easy?
It’s a good question. And the answer is “yes”,….but its also, “no”.
I think the issue lies in that we don’t ask enough. Not only do we not ask enough, but we really don’t ask, period. We assume that people understand our intentions without actually spelling them out. And then we’re surprised when we don’t get the deal that we wanted. But we never self examine our approach enough to determine whether we even asked for it.
My argument is: You can get what you want by asking for it, but you actually do have to ask for it.
As a salesperson, have you actually ever asked someone to buy something or asked for the sale? Have you said the following:
- “I’d like you to buy this, please.”
- “Could you please cut a P.O. for this?”
- “Please buy this product/service.”
As a procurement person it was actually quite rare for me to hear someone ever ask for the sale. Salespeople often assumed that I knew why they were there because they were salespeople, but hardly anyone ever asked for the sale.
Likewise, procurement people often assume that salespeople know that they expect a deal. But it’s rare for a procurement person to actually ask for one. We try to get clever with silence and body language tactics, but we forget to ask for the money. Sure, I think it’s less rare than on the sales side, but we do forget. Then we get upset that the salesperson hasn’t offered a deal, but we never asked for one to begin with.
The other major issue I see is that we give away too much without asking for anything in return and just expect that the other side will return our gesture of goodwill. They won’t. Not unless you ask for it. One sided concessions are a massive issue in negotiations. With my exclusive newsletter members I went into great depth about the topic of trading (not giving something up without asking for something in return).
And so naturally the question becomes, “What makes you think you’ll get anything you want unless you ask for it?” How you ask for it and when you ask for it are totally different questions. The question is, are you actually asking?
And so my proposal is: Ask.
That’s all I want you to focus on for a while. Ask for what you want. Don’t seek to clarify your ask. Don’t try to explain it (unless someone asks you to.) Don’t be shy about it.
And so I ask you something: “Please subscribe to my newsletter.”