Have you ever seen a toddler at the store asking for candy?
It’s pretty amusing to watch.
At first, they boldly ask with no hesitation, which is great, but the toddler gets told “no” and things go downhill fast. They have no bargaining chips. They can only move on to a tantrum.
Sometimes we are impatient, too. I know that’s often true for me. But we can’t go the way of the toddler. In the following paragraphs, I’ll reveal how you can craft an Ask with amazing, potential, power and confidence by explaining 3 things Asking is not. No tantrum required.
1. ASKING IS NOT A DEMAND.
Even if you’re asking really big, it’s a request. Respect the Ask and treat it as a request. The energy and intention behind the Ask, while solid, direct and clear, is a solicitation put forth with curiosity about the response.
In the world of auctioneering, when I’m on stage auctioning an item or getting a donation, I’m asking and waiting to see how the audience responds. Then I reply with my next Ask. An Ask is a dance, NOT a demand.
2. ASKING IS NOT ONE-SIDED.
For your Ask to be a request, which we just said it should be, there needs to be “shared purpose.” The setup for your Ask should be rooted in your desire as well as theirs.
In order to craft a mutually beneficial Ask, homework must be done. The purpose of your Ask should have a reason, not just for you, but also for the person to whom you are making the request.
Line up your Asks with your audience’s values, desires and goals. You’ll need to employ empathy to analyze this from their perspective, rather than just yours.
In fundraising auctioneering the people in attendance know why they are there. They’ve already identified as someone interested in the cause. They can live their values through buying a ticket, making a donation or bidding on auction items. The audience at a fundraising event has already been nurtured and curated beforehand — you should do that, too.
This means you do the work to line up values or mission with the person or organization you’re Asking so your request is not a huge mental jump for them. Your Ask should be in alignment with where they are already headed in their mind.
This doesn’t mean you Ask for less, but you don’t want to come at someone from left field with an Ask that only makes sense from your perspective and not theirs. In this way, if you get a “no,” it’s not an end to the conversation, but simply a matter of assessing amounts and details.
3. ASKING IS NOT A REQUEST WITHOUT RAPPORT.
In auctioneering, the audience has already aligned with the charity, but they still need to connect with me, even though I’m representing the charity. I have to do a little work to build rapport, so they feel at least somewhat in a relationship with me.
You want to do the same before you make an important Ask. It may require weeks of nurturing and building a relationship, or it may be a much smaller investment of time. Whatever the case may be, rapport is essential to making a request.