Tuesday, December 10, 2013

6 Reasons Asking Is Risky Business

Asking is not something that comes naturally to me. It wasn't how I was raised. I was raised to stand on my own two feet and to figure it out for myself - whatever "it" was. If you asked you were imposing on the other person. And that just wasn't a nice thing to do.

Which made learning to ask a client for the order that much harder for me when I first started selling.

I learned to get past my reluctance. I had to or my selling career would have been short lived. But it wasn't easy. And the dirty little secret is - I still have moments when asking - for help, for the order, even a question - is the last thing I want to do. 

But I do. Because I know if I don't I'll never know the answer and I'll never move from the spot I'm in.

That doesn't mean it's not risky. For example - 

1. I'm taking the chance I might not like the answer. I've lost track of how many times I have not asked a question because I didn't know if I wanted to hear the answer. 
2. I don't really want to hear a no. No is a tough word. No sounds so final. No. No. No. Yet the truth is a no is so much better than a maybe  - which is the answer you're getting when you don't ask. Maybe is limbo. It's nowhere land. With no at least you know where you stand.
3. I think I'm imposing. Old learning dies hard. I still sometimes think I'm infringing on someone else's space when I ask.
4. I risk being perceived as pushy. No one wants to be thought of as pushy - except of course the person who really is and doesn't care.
5. I think the person knows what I want already. I've made this mistake a thousand times - and whether it's been personally or professionally I've learned that no one can read my mind. If I don't ask I don't get.
6. I think asking is for the weak or ignorant. A strong person doesn't need help. A smart person already knows the answers. When the truth is it takes more courage to ask that not to and smart people get smarter by asking.

While I have learned how to ask - easily and with grace - there are moments when my stomach still does flips, my mouth still goes dry or my hand starts to shake before I make the call. But I do it. Because if I don't I'll just never know what would have happened if I did.

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