Ask and You Shall Receive

Last week an excellent question was posed by Dr. Marla Gottschalk and I had the honor of sharing it with you (Thanks Marla!):

What is the best way to request what you want/deserve in a business relationship with finesse and power?

Five experts weighed in with their best tips on the subject.  This “meeting of the minds” was a fantastic addition this week, because women (and men) sometimes have difficulty asking for what they want or need, especially in business relationships.  Is it a lack of confidence or self-worth, fear of rejection, or simply not knowing the right approach?

The biggest take-aways for me are: (1) the importance of clarifying expectations, (2) being respectful, (3) listening and offering before asking, (4) thoughtfully presenting your case, and most importantly, (5) not compromising your needs in the process.  See the wonderful detail and examples presented below and discover your best path to finesse and power in your business relationships.

“Finesse and power?  I think I’m still working up to that!  Seriously, the first thing to do when asking for what you want, especially if you expect some resistance, is to give the other person a chance to express what they want first.  It’s a simple thing, but it shifts the entire dynamic.  If I take the time to listen and feedback what the other person wants, they are about 500x more likely to listen to what I want.  Asking from the place of understanding is about the most powerful stance we can take.”

Stephanie Padovani (@BookMoreBrides), Co-founder of Book More Brides

“You need to highlight what you’ve achieved BUT if you alienate others in the process, you’ll end up attracting negative energy.  I try to help others achieve their goals, and if they value it, then they return the favor, and give credit in time.  Not everyone gets it though :)”

Ivan Walsh (@IvanWalsh), Creator of The Web Business Plan

“I have often been both criticized and complimented for my general lack of subtlety. I have found that my subtleties are often missed, and I often miss other people’s as well.  Even if someone is picking up on your hints, subtlety can be ignored.  Flat out saying something can’t be.  If there is something I want or need out of a relationship, then I have learned to just ask for it because otherwise I won’t get it.  If I don’t get it in the asking, then at least I know where things stand. Of course when asking for something that you want or need, always make sure to let the person know how it will be beneficial to them, ex. ‘If you don’t call me before 10 am I can focus on getting your work done.’ If someone can see a benefit for them, they are more likely to acquiesce to your request.”

Lauren MacEwen (@laurencubed), Primary Strategist and Creator of SM Cubed Consulting

“The answer depends on what you are requesting.  Let’s say you are requesting a raise from your boss, or an increase in fees from your client. Schedule a time to speak.  It is important that this not be an impromptu discussion.  If it’s not important enough to put it on the schedule, why should it be viewed as important at all?  Start by sharing why you enjoying working with / for this person or company.  Highlight the value you’ve delivered.  Numbers are always good. If this is for a raise, finish with a statement that this performance warrants a pay raise.  If this is for a client, I would highlight the forces driving price increases everywhere, and the fact that this increase is only a tiny fraction of the benefit they can continue to expect from you.

Perhaps you want something non-monetary.  You would like to request a person be your mentor.  When you approach this person give the top three reasons why you feel he/she would be such an incredible mentor. Give clear expectations to avoid the fear of a 10 hour a week commitment.  Then give the person a graceful way to decline.”

Nicole Fende (@BizFinanceForum), President of Small Business Finance Forum

“I’ll have to say this is one of the toughest questions posed to me in my practice…I suppose that is why I asked for a bit of help and guidance.

I have offered advice over the years and always was left wondering if it was the right advice – or if the advice was ever taken.  I know that when women find themselves in a sticky situation they are collaborative by nature – and ask for more than one opinion…so you never know if your advice was applied, ignored or revised…

When answering this question, I am reminded of the situations when something was asked of me in a manner that either made my heart sink or my stomach go into a free-fall. – Here is what I have learned.

  1. Always remember to maintain a respectful tone – in fact you can begin by offering a gesture of respect, gratitude or encouragement.
  2. Be direct, but avoid words which denote an air of superiority either intellectually or by your rank in an organization.
  3. Offer suggestions for the path you wish to travel.  Sometimes someone just didn’t understand what you wanted in the first place.
  4. Don’t compromise your own needs. Feel empowered to know that it is more than ok to ask for what you need.  If you do compromise you will probably regret it.
  5. Practice makes perfect. If at first you don’t succeed, rally back around and try again.”

Marla R. Gottschalk, Ph.D. (@MarlaGottschalk), Career Assessment and Coaching Consultant at Anna Ivey Consulting

If you have a strategy that was not represented by our experts this week, please feel free to leave a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!  My personal thanks to Stephanie, Lauren, Nicole, Marla and Ivan Walsh, for your contributions to this post.  As always, your expertise is incredibly valuable and greatly appreciated!  We hope to hear from you again, as well as others, as we present this week’s new question in honor of Thanksgiving:

This week’s question is –

What are you most thankful for this year?

Why should I join the discussion?

Because this online forum is a great place for us to exchange ideas, learn from each other and network.  My goal is to unite successful women entrepreneurs to share our insights and solutions to the challenges we most commonly face in our businesses.

How do I get involved?

Every Monday I will post a new Question of the Week. This is a great opportunity for you to bring your expertise to the table.  Using the NEW link below, please submit a one paragraph response by Saturday, and the following week I will share our community responses on my blog.

To submit your response CLICK HERE

I look forward to your response to this week’s question! If you have any questions you know where to find me. Have a great week!

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dr. Shannon Reece, Nicole Fende. Nicole Fende said: Ask and you shall receive @DrShannonReece […]

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