The e-mail came just yesterday. A friend had
a friend that had been trying for 20 years (that’s not a typo… twenty
years!) to get Permanent Residency status but, due to INS paperwork snafus
and red tape, had been frustrated in his efforts. The issue is not whether
he qualifies; the issue is the paperwork.
Can you imagine being that frustrated for
that long? Neither could my friend, so she sent an email to everyone in
her address book asking if anyone knew anyone that could help. It sounds
pretty unlikely, doesn’t it? You’d think there would be a better
chance of winning the lottery than fixing a government paperwork problem
with an e-mail shot out into the universe! Why bother even asking?
Guess what? A member of my motorcycle club
works for the INS, in the same office where the problem has been! What are
There is a very important lesson in all of
this, and here it is: if you want something, no matter how unlikely it may
seem, ya gotta ask! My friend could have easily thought that it was
ridiculous to send out such a message because of the overwhelming odds
against getting results. But she did it anyway. Ya gotta ask!
How does this affect your business? There
are a million ways; here are just a few. For one thing, it reminds us to ask
for the order, the single most common reason that sales are lost; we
don’t ask them to buy from us! Ya gotta ask! Do you know of any
opportunities to partner with someone but haven’t asked because
"they wouldn’t be interested"? Ya gotta ask! Have you spotted
that perfect new salesperson but haven’t approached them because they
seem happy in their current job? Ya gotta ask!
Why don’t we ask these things? Here are
some reasons: assumption (we think we already know the answer), fear of
appearing foolish or stupid, fear of rejection, and we just don’t think
What can we do about this? First we have
to adopt a new way of thinking, and then we have to get into the habit of
thinking that way.
Let me introduce you to "Dave’s
Rule of Wrong". Simple yet powerful, you can use this tool to
determine whether asking is a good idea. Ironically, the "Rule of
Wrong" involves asking yourself a question! "Which would be
better? To ‘ask’ and be wrong or to ‘not ask’ and be wrong?"
Which would have been better? For my
friend to ask for help for her friend and been wrong (not gotten any
help), or to not ask for the help and been wrong (in this case, someone
did know someone that could help; had she not asked, she would have been
wrong because of the missed opportunity)? It’s pretty clear that there
is no harm in asking and getting no results, but harm in not asking and
missing an opportunity.
Which would be better, to ask for the sale
and be wrong (get a ‘no’) or to not ask for the sale and be wrong
(they would’ve said ‘yes’ and you missed a sale)?
Got the idea?
Sorry, I had to ask!
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