Scott’s Thoughts: The Art of the Ask

“Bread for myself is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one.”

-Nikolai Berdyaev, Russian political and also Christian religious philosopher.

Hand up for help.Are you shy about asking others for help? Do you feel a little queasy about asking outright for referrals? “The ask” is hard for a lot of agents, especially those who are new to the profession. And yet often these agents need help and referrals the most.

There’s definitely an “art to the ask.” But before we talk about it, I want you to sit back and imagine someone has asked you for help. Let’s say you’re willing and able to grant their request. How do you feel when you lend a hand? What does it feel like to recommend someone else with confidence?

Good, right?

So let’s not think of the ask as a burden. It’s really a win-win. Think of it as an opportunity you can offer someone to feel good about themselves. This is especially true if your ask is reasonable, and above all, well-presented.

Here’s how you can be sure your ask is authentic and strategic:

1. Have real relationship equity. Friends like to help friends. Former clients are familiar with what you can really do. Don’t shotgun strangers or throw your ask against the wall to see if anything sticks. Think: Who can really help you, and who might be open to the ask?

2. Pick your spot. Timing is vital. Ask when people are most available to entertain your request. If you know someone is in the midst of a hard time, or about to bug out for vacation, don’t pitch your ask into these low-percentage time zones.

3. Tailor your ask. What are you really asking for? Is this a big deal? Is this a small-stakes favor? Pitching someone in-person in an intimate situation is often the best way to go, regardless of the size of your ask. But don’t pitch out mass email or paste the same message into a hundred Facebook messages.

4. Make your ask specific. Be perfectly clear with yourself about what you want and what an ideal outcome looks like. The person you ask should have no problem understanding the size of the favor and precisely what sort of involvement your ask requires.

A final word: Don’t fear the occasional “no.” It’s bound to happen, and the sting is relatively small compared to the upside of others reaching down to give you a hand up.

Work on your ask and be open to others when they come calling for help.

Tags: , ,

Please support the partners who make Tuesday Tactics possible:


Comments are closed.