In sales the most important lesson to learn is to ask. If you want something you have to ask for it.
I learned this lesson when I was a kid.
I remember walking past a dry cleaner that had, what appeared to be, two very old beer cans in the window. I collected beer cans as a kid. I loved it. My collection was amazing. I had cans you have never seen or heard of. These two looked super old. One looked like a can “bottle” that had a spout and a cap. The other had no flip top to open it. It was opened with a can opener.
I had to have them. So, I walked in and asked. The owner gave them to me for 5 bucks. They turned out to be from the 40’s and were examples of some of the earliest cans made. They became the center piece of my collection. One of them is worth $375.00 today.
When I was in college I was introduced to a killer program called Semester at Sea. It was a 3 month program where you circum-navigated the world on a boat while taking classes for credit.
I couldn’t afford it. But, I had heard about a scholarship. One of the requirements of the scholarship was applicants had to have a 3.0 GPA. I had a 2.8. I applied anyway! I asked for the opportunity. I got the scholarship and spent the fall of 1993 traveling around the world. I visited 10 countries in 100 days. I went to China, India, Malaysia, Russia, Japan, Morocco and more.
In both these cases, it would have been too easy to convince myself the things I wanted were out of reach. I could have said to myself the beer cans would be too expensive or the owner wouldn’t sell them and not walked in. I could have said to myself my GPA is too low for the Semester at Sea scholarship and not applied. But I didn’t.
I asked. That’s all it took. In both cases the worst that could have happened is they said no. The upside to asking? That’s pretty apparent.
In sales, being comfortable asking is critical. You need to ask for the deal, to accelerate the implementation, for a contract extension with a price increase, etc. Being able to ask for what you want and need is at the heart of sales. Sales is littered with failures who were unable to ask.
Asking is the investment. Getting what you asked for is the return. There are few investments in life and sales that come with such low risk and such high return.