Excerpted from Chapter One of “Just Ask the Right Questions to Get What You Want” with the permission of the author – Professor Ian Cooper
The majority of people simply don’t ask for what they want, with the hardly surprising result that they don’t get it. The first rule is to know that:
You can and should ask bluntly and openly in the most appropriate and respectful way.
In fact make it a must! You are denying yourself massive opportunities, potential success and happiness if you don’t.
Asking puts YOU in the driving seat of your destiny.
Your future is shaped by your willingness to ask the up-front questions that perhaps other people either don’t think of, or are too afraid to ask.
From a practical point of view, your first and most important step is to make the mental commitment and resolve to ask for what you want. You may not know initially how you are going to ask, but don’t let that put you off! The ‘how’ is a detail.
Here’s the deal: you make the commitment to ask and I’ll give you a book full of ‘Hows’.
Remember, the moment you do ask, you dramatically increase the odds in your favour.
Let me give you an example:
Some years ago I was contacted by a commercial organization that wanted to see if I could help. They told me how they had been trying to market a particular specialist service to financial institutions for some time. They had advertised in trade publications; been to exhibitions; written standard mail-shots, all without any real success. As far as they were concerned they had drawn a blank and they wanted my suggestions. I disappointed them … I only had one.
I told them to ask their targets outright exactly what they would have to do to get them interested in the particular service they wanted to sell.
After a lot of discussion about this, they concluded this wasn’t high powered or high-tech enough for them, that they weren’t comfortable to do this; didn’t know how and anyway ‘it wasn’t really appropriate’. I was sent on my way.
A year later they invited me along again and told me that after a further year’s expenditure on advertising and trade shows they still hadn’t made any serious progress and wondered if I would be prepared to do the asking for them that I had suggested the year earlier. I agreed.
Here is what happened in general terms. Having identified exactly which financial institutions my client most wanted and whom it was in those institutions that I needed to speak to (I found out by asking!), I picked up the phone and very respectfully asked the most outrageously blunt question.
I apologized to the relevant person at the outset, about the direct and unorthodox approach, confessed that we had been trying unsuccessfully for a while through advertising and mail shots to interest them in our particular services and then asked if they could help … I asked:
“what was the best way to get them to consider us and how did they go about deciding who to use for this kind of service?”
Without boring you now with the details of this project, let me just say that I was given the answer, we followed it to the letter and using many of the rules and techniques in the book, the client has now done over £1 million worth of business with that institution.
Afterwards, the grateful and impressed client wanted to know how I had performed this miraculous feat! Without thinking about it too seriously, I replied, … “well I did what I said I was going to do … I just asked them how to do it and they told me. “Yes” said the client – “ I know that, but I suspect however, it is more to do with HOW you asked!”
He was right of course, but first I had to have the right mindset. I had to know with total confidence that I could ask, that I would be respected for asking, providing it was done in a courteous, respectful, professional, honest and understanding manner.
I also knew that because so few ask in this very open and upfront way I immediately increased the odds of success.
Note from Bob: Professor Ian Cooper is a Winner! You will want to get your hands on his book: “Just Ask the Right Questions to Get What You Want.” This was a page-turner for me! You will be amazed by seeing a multitude of new ways that you will be able to leverage the power of questions.
Professor Ian Cooper has been described as a ‘serial achiever’, London based, he is an international author of 15 books with in 55 countries and 13 languages, including the successful and influential ‘Financial Times Guide To Business Development’, recently shortlisted for the best management / business book of the year award. In addition to advising hundreds of businesses and organizations of all sizes for over 30 years, Ian is also a successful entrepreneur who has created and run a number of successful businesses. With approximately 1000 professional speaking engagements Ian has inspired thousands of businesses and individuals with his light and engaging style to improve their own performance, get better results and make things happen. You can connect with Ian on his website.
My new free eBook “Great Leaders ASK Questions” – released on October 19 – has already been downloaded by Leaders from 97 nations. You can get your free eBook by clicking “HERE”
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