Friday, June 27, 2008

Guest Article: The Power of Asking

This week's Fantastic Friday post will be a guest article from my favorite professional speaker and author, Jack Canfield. I listen to his "Success Principles" on CD whenever I need a boost in my productivity.

The Power of Asking; 7 Ways to Boost Your Business
by Jack Canfield



The gift called "asking" has been around for a long, long time. One of life's fundamental truths states, "Ask and you shall receive." Kids are masters at using this gift, but we adults seem to have lost our ability to ask. We come up with all sorts of excuses and reasons to avoid any possibility of rejection.



Yet the world responds to those who ask! If you are not moving closer to what you want, you probably aren't doing enough asking.



Here are seven asking strategies you can implement in your business (and in life) to boost your results and your bottom line:



Asking Strategy 1: Ask for Information


To win potential new clients, you first need to know what their current challenges are, what they want to accomplish and how they plan to do it. Only then can you proceed to demonstrate the advantages of your unique product or service.


Ask questions starting with the words who, why, what, where, when and how to obtain the information you need. Only when you truly understand and appreciate a prospect's needs can you offer a solution. Once you know what's important to them, stay on this topic and find solutions for them.



Asking Strategy 2: Ask for Business


Here's an amazing statistic: after giving a complete presentation about the benefits of their product or service, more than 60 percent of the time salespeople never ask for the order! That's a bad habit, and one that could ultimately put you out of business.


Always ask a closing question to secure the business. Don't waffle or talk around it—or worse, wait for your prospect to ask you. No doubt you have heard of many good ways to ask the question, "Would you like to give it a try?" The point is, ask.


Asking Strategy 3: Ask for Written Endorsements


Well-written, results-oriented testimonials from highly respected people are powerful for future sales. They solidify the quality of your product or service and leverage you as a person who has integrity, is trustworthy and gets the job done on time.


When is the best time to ask? Right after you have provided excellent service, gone the extra mile to help out, or in any other way made your customer really happy.


Simply ask if your customer would be willing to give you a testimonial about the value of your product or service, plus any other helpful comments.


Asking Strategy 4: Ask for Top-Quality Referrals


Just about everyone in business knows the importance of referrals. It's the easiest, least expensive way of ensuring your growth and success in the marketplace.


Your core clients will gladly give you referrals because you treat them so well. So why not ask all of them for referrals? It's a habit that will dramatically increase your income. Like any other habit, the more you do it the easier it becomes.


Asking Strategy 5: Ask for More Business


Look for other products or services you can provide your customers. Devise a system that tells you when your clients will require more of your products. The simplest way is to ask your customers when you should contact them to reorder. It's often easier to sell your existing clients more than to go looking for new ones.


Asking Strategy 6: Ask to Renegotiate


Regular business activities include negotiation. Many businesses get stuck because they lack skills in negotiation, yet this is simply another form of asking that can save a lot of time and money. Look at your vendors and suppliers and see if there are areas where you can be saving money. Just ask.


All sorts of contracts can be renegotiated in your personal life, too, such as changing your mortgage terms and rate, reviewing your cell phone plan and requesting a policy review with your insurance agent. As long as you negotiate ethically and in the spirit of win-win, you can enjoy a lot of flexibility. Nothing is ever cast in stone.


Asking Strategy 7: Ask for Feedback


This is a powerful way to fine-tune your business that is often overlooked. How do you really know if your product or service is meeting your customers' needs? Ask them, "How are we doing? What can we do to improve our service to you? Please share what you like or don't like about our products." Set up regular customer surveys that ask good questions and tough questions.


HOW TO ASK


Some people don't enjoy the fruits of asking because they don't ask effectively. If you use vague language you will not be clearly understood. Here are five ways to ensure that your asking gets results.


Ask Clearly
Be precise. Think clearly about your request. Take time to prepare. Use a note pad to pick words that have the greatest impact. Words are powerful, so choose them carefully.


Ask with Confidence
People who ask confidently get more than those who are hesitant and uncertain. When you've figured out what you want to ask for, do it with certainty, boldness and confidence.


Ask Consistently

Some people fold after making one timid request. They quit too soon. Keep asking until you find the answers. In prospecting there are usually four or five "no's" before you get a "yes." Top producers understand this. When you find a way to ask that works, keep on asking it.


Ask Creatively

In this age of global competition, your asking may get lost in the crowd, unheard by the decision-makers you hope to reach. There is a way around this. If you want someone's attention, don't ask the ordinary way. Use your creativity to dream up a high-impact presentation.


Ask Sincerely

When you really need help, people will respond. Sincerity means dropping the image facade and showing a willingness to be vulnerable. Tell it the way it is, lumps and all. Don't worry if your presentation isn't perfect; ask from your heart. Keep it simple and people will open up to you.


© 2008 Jack Canfield


Jack Canfield, America's 1 Success Coach, is the founder and co-creator of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: http://www.freesuccessstrategies.com/

1 comment:

Kandas - Custom Furniture Consultant said...

I find it so annoying that I can not get the line breaks and paragraph breaks to show correctly with blogger. I end up having to re-edit the darn posts 3 or 4 times. I am about ready to give up on this one! If it looks perfect to you, then I finally got it right!