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I personally know what an MLM feels like. I was involved in one – successfully I might add – until I woke up to the system of how it pays off for the few while the many do the lion’s share of the work. It was a structure I couldn’t stomach.

Everything felt like hype. One punctuated with lots of enthusiastic energy and a bit of deceptive selling. Like the time I was waiting for an elevator. I struck up a conversation with a guy waiting for his guest to arrive for a meeting. After I identified his affiliation with Amway, he quickly remarked, “just don’t let my guest know.” Yikes!

Business today feels like it’s moving in that direction. It’s the rise of the faux business.

business

Linkedin is peppered with ‘Linkedin lead generation specialists.’ Others speak emphatically about how they can help you earn 7 figures within 6 months.

Clickbait clamors for our attention. Disinformation leads us down a dark and winding path. Wild and loudly exclaimed headlines crowd our feeds.

Invest time to get to know you and build trust? Heck no – the world is in a hurry and you’ve got 15 minutes. Sales questions are locked and loaded. It’s speed selling on steroids. There’s little time or effort invested into an honest, relationship-building conversation.  

Let’s take a collective breath and slow our pace.

Can we turn down the volume of our headlines and social media? And, return to truth in advertising?

Most importantly, can we give potential business clients the respect of time they deserve to state their dreams, hopes, and challenges? And, then pause to listen — to really hear what they say as well as what they don’t say.

What a wonderful world this would be…to quote the incomparable Sam Cooke.

A recent Linkedin connection resulted in a fun and insightful conversation. As we chatted, my pen flew across the page to capture how she leveraged the information to get “unstuck” and in motion. Enjoy…and read the course of action she implemented to break through her resistance to ask.

A small business entrepreneur’s day is filled with opportunities to ask for – and get – what we want. Asking leaves some small business owners fearful and hesitant – especially when unaccustomed to their requests being realized. Some small business owners grab hold of the “ask” in a manner that triggers an inability to achieve their quest. Victorious entrepreneurs, on the other hand, seize the opportunity to “ask”  and forward their objectives. Why do some entrepreneurs succeed while others fail at asking for and getting what they want? The triumphant entrepreneurs employ “the art of the ask”.

The Art of the Ask

Most small business entrepreneurs are masters of their craft. They are highly skilled in their area of expertise. Their competence may be legal, financial, design, communication, project management, process improvement, technology – the list is endless. Seldom is “the art of the ask” taught at the advanced learning institutions attended.

Consequently, this means the use of trial and error (i.e., mostly error) to hone their “asking” skills. In contrast, people who ask for and get the “yes” on a regular basis have become skilled at “the art of the ask.”

Does This Make My “Ask” Look Big?   

Asking for and getting what we have in mind aren’t one and the same. We ask for permission, a referral, the sale, to be paid, for help, permission, an introduction, special treatment…Getting to “yes” depends on the skill and the size of your “ask.”  Here are a few pointers to get you closer:

1. Be reasonable. Consider the desired outcome of your ask. Is it in direct proportion to your relationship with the supplier of the “yes”?

2. Keep it simple. Research indicates one (1) reason gets the best results. Avoid the need to pile on the reasons for someone to do what you want.

3. Draft your request before making it.

4. Be kind/honest/professional. No BS allowed.

5. Be specific and brief. Don’t him-haw around.

6. Provide an easy out. Make it easy for someone to say “no” without damaging your relationship.

7. Show your gratitude.

8. Be willing to give in return.

9. Make it WIIFM compliant. WIIFM stands for “what’s in it for me.” It’s the question that subconsciously goes through the mind of each provider of a “yes”. If your request is WIIFM compliant, your “yes” broker will quickly see that your “ask” imparts something for them as well.

The ability to ask for what you want in a way that increases the likelihood you will obtain it, is a crucial business skill. With a little practice, you’ll master “the art of the ask.”

Now, go ahead. Ask me anything!

Here are the steps my new Linkedin connection took to overcome her resistance to asking for help:

1. Make a list of people she wanted to contact.

2. Noted her relationship with each. 

3. Identified one “ask” for each. 

4. She considered how to provide an “easy out” if she heard hesitancy.

5. Made the WIIFM (What’s in it for me) crystal clear.

Your turn. What’s your ask?

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Brooke Billingsley

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Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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