By Moe Kittaneh
How do you feel about asking for what you want or need? If words like shy, nervous, anxious or even apathetic describe you in this context, you could be missing out on a good many opportunities.
Whether it’s favors, negotiations, or routine interpersonal communications you’re seeking, taking the initiative to ask and knowing how to do it well can make all the difference for both new entrepreneurs and established businesses.
From my experience, there are five key reasons that make asking important and necessary for success in business.
1. If you don’t ask for it, you probably won’t get it.
It seems kind of obvious, but it’s worth keeping in mind that things rarely fall into your lap and people usually won’t give you things just “because.” Even when someone does want to help you or make a deal, you can’t count on that person being a mind-reader.
Knowing how to ask is important, though many people feel intimidated and shy to do it. Remember, the worst thing that can happen with a well-framed question is usually a simple “no.” On the other hand, your request just might open doors and provide information that otherwise wouldn’t have come your way.
2. Asking can save you money and time.
For business owners, the benefits of asking can be enormous. Obtaining better pricing from vendors, better terms from banks and discounts on purchase orders even in small amounts can save a company good money over time that would otherwise be lost if not for the better deal that’s been obtained. In other cases, delegating tasks and asking for help frees up time and makes you more efficient.
Entrepreneurs-in-the-making can score better salaries or more beneficial employment packages when they negotiate raises and offers. Hiring managers, in fact, expect valued employees to negotiate; and, even if as that employee you know higher pay isn’t in the cards, more vacation days or other concessions can have monetary value.
3. It pays to get comfortable with negotiating.
Negotiating is a key part of business, and at its most basic, negotiating is just knowing how to ask for what you want or need. Getting comfortable with asking during routine situations will make you a more effective negotiator during important ones.
4. Asking others what they want helps you communicate better.
The benefits of being a skilled asker extend beyond the transactional realm. It’s a real skill to learn how to ask others what they want occasionally, because the more you ask, the more you know. Asking the right questions of employees, vendors, partners and customers helps you better understand other people and facilitates communication.
Asking your employees how you can help them work better and seeking their input on other aspects of the company can provide crucial insights. Asking your customers how you can be of more value to them and seeking their input too can help you solidify relationships and grow.
5. Asking gives you an advantage over non-askers.
You have probably heard the phrase “the world belongs to the takers,” but really it belongs to those who aren’t afraid to ask — for what they want in life, what they need to succeed or what they want to know.
There are many people out there who feel too shy, intimidated or proud to ask, and others who do not even realize that asking is an option. Asking gives you a distinct advantage, when all things are considered. It puts you in a better financial position, gives you access to more information and helps you make employees and customers feel valued.