When I work with entrepreneurs, the most significant skill they lack is very often in sales. And sales is all about understanding the customer’s need and then asking for their business. It’s that simple. Ask good questions, listen to the answer, match their need with what you have to offer. If you can’t give them value with your offering, then offer to help them in some other way. A contact, a resource, a smile and an open mind. You’d be surprised what you have to offer.
What If They Say No
The down side of asking is… what if they say, the dreaded, “NO.” Well, it’s likely that they will. Not every person you ask to help you, buy something, share something, etc. will be willing. But you will get nothing if you don’t ask.
Be Yourself. But Ask.
The other down side is that people often feel that there’s a formula for asking. That pushy people get ‘better’ results than the more mild mannered. This is simply not true. The person who offers value, is the one who wins the business or the relationship. There is no one way to ask. I can guarantee though that if you are authentic to your own style… you will do significantly better than if you act like you think you should. The difference between the successful entrepreneur and those that are not, is that one learned to ask, the other didn’t.
How do you ask? Try something like this. “I’m trying to grow my business and I’m wondering if you would have any need for ‘xyz'”. If they say “No, thanks.” You could try, “I appreciate your time. If you know of someone else who might benefit from my xyz. I hope you’ll pass along my name.”
Simple. No one is offended. No one was pushy or aggressive. Just a simple ask. Practice in your personal life. Let me know how it goes.
Image credit: Jules Renard