This past week, during a conversation with Terri Tinker at KNKX, I took the opportunity to share our recent Petite2Queen press release. During the discussion, I jokingly made the comment, “You have to ask or you won’t get a yes.” Her reply struck an instant chord between us. Terri said, “I know exactly what you mean. My grandfather always told me, ‘Don’t ask, don’t get.’” This simple statement bears repeating and posting on your desk.
Ask for the Sale
In sales, as with life, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Individuals may worry, “Is this the right time to ask for the sale?” If you don’t ask, you’re never going to get a yes. Your clients will rarely ever volunteer it. Leading questions and soft closes are methods of asking, in turn moving the sale forward to the yes. Direct questions that cut to the chase get you an answer and enable you to reframe the dialogue to receive the commitment. You must ask!
“Don’t ask, don’t get” applies to your clients, peers, others within the organization, management, and every aspect of your life. If you don’t ask for additional support or an opportunity to lead, you probably won’t receive it. As adept negotiators, professional sales women are managing the sale internally and externally. Receiving the resources you need, when you need them, is vital to your success. Requesting support and resources is paramount to achieving that success.
Women: This is Especially Important for You
It’s so powerful and important, especially for women, to ask. So often, women don’t ask. As an example, I often catch myself not requesting help even when I need it. And because I don’t ask, I don’t receive assistance. You can’t expect others to know what you want or need. They can’t read your mind. Recognize this and accept it. Start actively expressing a necessity and ask for it. You will receive a yes quicker without ambiguity.
With that said, remember not to be overly needy – that gets old fast, and people will start to tune you out. You may even alienate the people you have to work with every day. Set the example by doing what you say you will do. It’s the underlying tone of your professionalism in sales. Then, when you do require something, your co-workers will be much more responsive, as you have already established reasonable expectations.
This statement should be placed, in all caps, where you can see it every day: DON’T ASK, DON’T GET! Ask for the meeting, for the minimal actionable commitment, for resources, for anything and everything. Ask for the sale!
This is absolutely brilliant! Thank you, Terri Tinker, for sharing what your grandfather taught you, so we can in turn share it with our members.
Lynn Whitbeck is the co-founder and President of Petite2Queen. She is focused on identifying and evaluating opportunities for women at work, helping them define their personal roadmap. She dedicates herself to delivering tools and insights, embracing visualization of the big picture, and identifying and implementing the minutiae of detail. Lynn aims to share lessons learned along her journey and enable positive uplift for women.
Asking is not enough. I also need to make it very easy for the person to say “Yes!” enthusiastically .
If I do the asking well, the person that I am talking to will end up eager to have me do what I want to do. This person will be confident that I will make his job easier, help him achieve a better result in his areas of responsibility, and make him look better to his boss and to himself.
I was the first woman to get a bachelor’s degree in engineering from a highly regarded university that is older than the United States. I was lucky enough to be born at a time when this was possible, but it certainly wasn’t foreordained. I didn’t just luck into an opportunity either, and I didn’t just ask for the opportunity. I helped create the opportunity, and I used several different approaches.
The first thing that I did was I made sure that I was one of the best prepared high school students anywhere in the country. I had enough advanced credit that I was not only accepted to a good college after my junior year, but I already had advanced placement in three subjects after my junior year in high school. By the end of my senior year in high school, I had a full year of college credit, so I was able to enter as a sophomore, and I was doing junior and senior level work in mathematics and engineering, with good grades, my first year at the university. In other words, I didn’t just show that I could do adequate work, I showed that I would be able to do extraordinary work, I asked for what I wanted AND what I deserved, and I told and showed them why they would be glad if they took me. And I followed through on that. I spent time going to high schools with one of the professors to talk to female students about why this university is a great place for women to study engineering, and there were many more women studying engineering there when I graduated, which was good for the engineering professors and the engineering school.
So don’t just ask. Make it very easy and rewarding for you to do what I want. Make it clearly In your interest to do things my way. Sometimes I can even persuade them that it was their idea In the first place, and have them thank me for agreeing to do something that I want to do, because it benefits both of us.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience and advice. It’s brilliant! Preparation is vital in everything we do. And you are so right; making it easy to get a “Yes” is more than half the battle.
What has your career experience in engineering been like? How has asking for what you want and deserve moved you forward through your career? Would love to hear more.
You are an inspiration!