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Are You Afraid Someone Will Say No?

Are you afraid of asking? I’m talking about asking another person for the essential things your business needs.  Things like warm referrals, glowing testimonials or a cycle of steady sales from new and existing clients.  And, of course, asking for your right price.

Let me ask you something.  If you don’t already have what you want or need,  what’s the harm in asking for it?    A lesson my grandma instilled in me has served me well and brought me opportunities, friendships and connections I couldn’t even imagine.  She said,  If you don’t ask, honey, you don’t get.

Why don’t you ask for more?

So, why don’t you ask for more?  Here’s my take.  You’re busy, and you mean to get around to figuring things out.  What can I do to get clients to pay on time?  How can I get some help with this project? Answering those important questions don’t get on the top of your to-do list.  Why?

You don’t want to hear no. (You’re not alone, though.  Women lose up to 1 million dollars over the lifetime of their careers because they ask less often than men and ask for less, in general.)

Besides, the longer you put off asking, the longer you  can avoid the negative feelings- shame, embarrassment, betrayal, hurt- that creep up when you’re feeling vulnerable.  Honestly though, putting it off does more harm than good to your bottom line and self-esteem.

Say Your Truth to Hear Yes

Wouldn’t it be great if asking for something was easy, not so tough on the ego? I discovered how to do that as  a business mediator.   Ask with the right intention. People will say yes to your heart-felt requests.  They just need a reason to say yes to you.

You can build trust and move closer to that yes by being transparent. Let ‘your truth’ in that moment of conversation become the reason that connects you.  Although it seems unprofessional or inappropriate, it’s ok to share your feelings.

It’s fine to say, I’m nervous asking but I’m doing it because… That moment of vulnerability connects you to your prospect, client or colleague.  Why? Because who among us hasn’t needed help, insight, direction, resources, support or money but feared not getting it.   And because people respect courage.  I feel cheesy saying this but it’s true- fearlessness is where the magic happens.

3 Tips to Become Fearless about Asking

So how do you become fearless ? (Fearlessness= willingness to be open + great asking & acknowledging skills)

  • Recognize your own feelings and embrace them.  Scolding yourself isn’t going to help.  Instead, have compassion, then decide to ask  in spite of being afraid, nervous, anxious, resistant, or whatever.
  • Say what’s true for you in the moment. Doesn’t have to be long or dramatic thing. A simple, short sentence works best.  Here’s one of my favorite ways to ask for the sale: I love your [fill in project & what you love about it] and feel so excited  and grateful about doing this with you.  I know I can help.  Here’s how I envision that happening.
  • Remember, asking is a gift.  You get what you want or need while giving someone else a chance to feel helpful, useful, generous, knowledgeable-  virtuous circle.

What happens if the answer is no?

That’s tough to hear, but hardly the end of the conversation.   It’s all in how you look at it.  Be curious about where the no comes from.  Gently ask the other person about their reasons to see if there are alternatives that might work.
Use a little creative-problem-solving! A good response is:

Ok, I’m disappointed but respect that.  I’d still love to collaborate with you.  How can we make that happen?

Will you always get what you ask for?  No, that’s unrealistic.   However,  you will get much more than you expected, including more confidence, self-respect and compassion. So try to be fearless about asking.  As hockey great Wayne Gretsky said,

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!

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