Archive for 31 July 2008

Ask For It: Part 2

Yesterday I posted about seven asking strategies you can apply to your business and your daily life, as outlined by Jack Canfield, then I got to thinking about how I have asked and been asked in the past…what makes a question work and what just adds to the confusion.

Some of my clients will tell you that at first, they felt I was asking too many questions and not giving them enough feedback, but with new clients, until you understand better their language, their actual concerns and needs, (as opposed to the ones they often first voice) the project may head off in the wrong direction. Then it becomes very difficult to get it back on track, time is lost, feelings are hurt, money is wasted, etc. Ugh. So here are my suggestions for how to ask.

  1. Be Specific
    Again, my clients (and friends!) will confirm that “Be Specific” is a pet phrase of mine. “I don’t want to spend too much” is not the answer you want when you ask your client about a budget. In order to get a specific answer, you need to ask a specific question: “Do you have a dollar amount in mind for this project?” will get you much closer to the info you really need.
     
  2. Be Persistent
    You will inevitably hear plenty of no’s and I don’t know’s and all other forms of non-helpful answers. Keep asking. You may need to change your timing, your source, your attitude or the form of your question, but if it’s information that’s important to you, it’s important to keep asking.
     
  3. Be Positive
    People who know what they’re looking for and know what they want get a much better response to their questions than those who are hesitant, uncertain or uncommitted. Ask your questions with confidence and assurance and even if you don’t receive the answer you’re looking for, you’ll most likely be referred to someone else who may have the appropriate information.
     
  4. Be Real
    I think the number one reason most questioners don’t necessarily get the information they’re asking for is that there is often no real emotion–interest, desire, need, sincerity, etc.–behind the ask. To get real information you need to be as invested in the response as the “questionee” is in giving it.
     
  5. Be Creative
    From a personal phone call to a mass web survey; from a customized presentation to a clever postcard, there are hundreds of ways to ask. Don’t get locked into one format or one system. Take time to think about the asking format that works best for your audience and the information you want to receive.

What’s been your best ask? We’d love to know.

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31 July 2008 at 1:22 pm Leave a comment


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