Ask and you shall receive. I’m sure many of you guys out there have heard this quote in different contexts. I’m here to tell you that it’s probably more true than not, at least from my experience. 

Asking is such a powerful idea. When I was writing some notes down about this, a quote came to mind from my father. My father had said this many times throughout my younger years of growing up. He would always say:

“Asking is always free.” 

I’ll never forget this. I think this is one of the many quotes that my father has instilled in us, at least for me, and I don’t know about my other siblings, but it was one of those quotes that really stuck. My father truly understood the value of asking, and I’m sure it helped him in his career: literally counting nails on a conveyor belt to moving all the way up the corporate chain over many years to the executive ranks, 30-plus years. 

My father knew the secret of asking. He knew the value of asking. There is a humility in asking. My father is absolutely one of the best examples of humility in life. He exuded this. He would always ask. He never was afraid of engaging with an individual.

Depending on the context, it gives the receiver the opportunity to see two particular things:

  1. They can see that you have enough humility because you need help. You’re asking. You need help you need someone to help you out.
  2. They can see that you’re assertive, that you’re not some wet blanket, some wet noodle, that you’re assertive in asking for what you want, asking for opportunities. 

What is so great about the asking idea is you can ask anyone, anything, anytime, in this world. By asking, you involve the other individual in a mutually beneficial transaction or relationship. I know this might sound a little deep here, but it I think it’s essentially true. That whenever you ask someone else, you engage with them beyond the transaction. You engage with them beyond just the handing over of money. You engage with them in the opportunity to help, or win with you.

Regardless, it gives them an opportunity to respond. They can say no. They can say maybe. Or, they can point you to someone else that can help you. 

Now, whenever someone says they can’t help you, one of the next questions you should ask is: “Is there someone that can?” This is really powerful. Again, depending on the context, by asking merely a question to the receiver, you’re involving them in a mutually beneficial transaction or relationship. 

Win with Coffee, First.

A simple example of asking and winning: Whenever I go to a coffee shop, one of the things that I always asked for is a grande in a venti cup. Now, for those in the coffee world, you know that the real difference between a grande and a venti is just the amount of milk they put in there. What’s great is that every time I ask this it always works—every time I ask for a grande in a venti cup, I end up paying for a grande and I get way more milk… or I just go to the condiments table and fill up the milk myself!

You pay less for more, just by asking.

Sometimes, during this very simple transaction, I get a smile from the receiver because they know what I’m doing they know what I’m up to, they know the game I’m playing. Sometimes, it makes their day. It does! And sometimes, it sparks up a conversation. 

I can even remember a conversation at Starbucks where I asked for a grande in a venti cup and I remember the sales associate on the other end going, “Oh really, man? Is that what you’re doing?” And he cracked a smile. It was just one of those moments. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s a simple transaction. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m just getting a little bit more milk in my cup, but it was a moment for him to just crack out of the norm and add a little bit of variety in his work-life.

You know I’m all about good juju. I love spreading good juju. I love spreading positive thinking. I love spreading positive thoughts. I love blessing other people as much as I can wherever I go.

Win in Sales – Asking Gets You More.

I always ask no matter the scenario. I’ll give you a consulting example during the introduction or discovery call, there is always one or two executives or leaders or managers or directors on the call. One of the questions I always bring up—and this is really powerful especially if you’re a consultant out there or you’re in any type of role of selling—is that I always ask at the beginning of the conversation, “Who else needs to be here? Who else needs to be part of this conversation?” What this question does is put my clients into a position of considering who else needs to hear this. Maybe there is someone else that could benefit from this conversation. Regardless, I’m taking notes. I want to make sure I connect with whomever they suggest I need to talk with.

Another question that I ask a lot as a consultant is: “Who should I speak to next?” We might have just had a great conversation talking about how I can help them with their development, how I can help with their organizational design, how I can help them with optimizing their processes and these types of things, but at the end of it, I always make sure to ask: “Hey, who should I speak to next? Who should I engage with next? Who could benefit from the conversations that we had today so that we can help you as the client expand the value that you’re spending on me out to even more people?” 

You see, asking these types of questions when it pertains to the context of relationships are so powerful. You see, work just doesn’t get done. Let me be fundamentally clear here guys. When it comes to work, it just doesn’t get done without other people. People love being involved especially when it comes to improving things, especially when it comes to helping out, especially when there’s some sort of mutually beneficial transaction or opportunity that we have invited them into merely by asking the question. 

No Ego. No Pride. Just Humility.

Asking is always free. Please don’t forget this. It’s always free in every situation. Obviously, the most negative outcome is they could say no. So what? Who cares? When you ask these types of questions, they open up doors that you never imagined were there. Remember work just doesn’t get done. It gets done with a multiplicity of people, multiple people working together especially when you’re working in an enterprise or any type of enterprise. You have to work with other people and you want to ask questions to involve them. It opens up opportunities for you that you never knew were there. It opens up doors. It opens up opportunities. It opens up conversation for you to delve deeper in, especially if you’re a consultant, to provide more value and more help. 

Now, certainly I can take this even farther, this idea of asking, but asking is a great way of understanding the needs of other people, understanding the needs of your clients, understanding the needs of your users, understanding the needs of your community, understanding the needs of your people. Asking questions allows you to understand more deeply how you can provide value to them and speak into their lives so that you can build up a relationship and have mutually beneficial transactions, mutually beneficial wins on all sides. 

Sometimes, I merely use questions to continue the conversation so that I can understand more. Let’s be honest, in some ways, it’s not only a great way to eat up time, but it’s a great way to dig deeper to make sure that you have a firm grasp.

“Hey, do I understand this right?” “From what I hear, you’re saying I’m hearing X, Y, and Z. Is correct?”

These types of questions will avail you so much more information so that you can make informed decisions on how to benefit from that transaction or relationship. 

Reducing Costs

You guys already know that I’m all about that racing life. Early in my son’s career when he was just getting into gokarts, I started him out with a two-stroke engine and his first driving coach. Over the first two days of coaching, it was obvious I had made a mistake. My boy was already maxing out the junior kart. The coach came up to us after day one and said, “Man, he’s ready. Man, he’s a natural. He’s pretty much done everything he needs to do on this kart… Maybe it’s better to move him up in power and in size.” A proud daddy moment! Of course I responded with: “He got it from his dad.” *wink wink.

But the real reality is he’s been into cars ever since day one. We got him into driving the small electric sit-along cars at age two. This boy has it in the blood.

So what did I do? I’m smart enough to know that there’s opportunities to move up and clearly the coach wants to move up and this means that we need to buy him a four-stroke engine, an LO206 engine. We needed to buy him a cadet cart. We needed to move him up to the next level because he’s already maxed out. By this time, I’d already spent a significant amount of money on this brand new two-stroke and this brand new junior kart. I didn’t want to be buying another one… so I merely asked the question. It was this simple. I said, “I know that we just put a couple hours on the engine. We’ve put a couple hours obviously on the chassis, but man, I would hate to have to buy a new one and then put this one on the secondary market. Would it be possible to upgrade to the next cadet kart, with the next four-stroke engine, that you as a coach know that he needs, is it okay that we move up to the next one and would it be possible to get credit for the two days of use of the previous chassis and the two-stroke engine?”

Guess what happened, guys? They said yes. They gave us the full value of the junior kart, a used value of the engine and they gave us credit from the previous junior kart so that we could purchase the cadet kart and move up to the next level so that my son could get to the next level of his karting career. 

This saved me over $3,000 for merely asking the question! I was really excited about this and really feeling triumphant over saving this much on this upgraded cart. I know many men have ego, and would hate to bring this up. Nah. Never. Do it. Asking is always free.

If you don’t ask, then you’ll never know if you could get something that’s beneficial to you. You could win today. It feels good to get your way. It feels good to ask and receive. Let’s be honest here, the coach on the other end of this was happy to supply us with such a great opportunity because it means for him that he gets to keep coaching us. It means for him that he keeps an established relationship with us. We feel good about the next progression of my son’s karting career. He feels good he’s gonna continue to be able to coach my son. There’s no bad juju. Everybody wins.

Asking is Always Free.

Asking is always free. I would ask you today and as you move forward in life, continue to keep this on your mind. Where can you ask for more? Where can you ask for more help? Where can you ask for something? Where can you just merely practice, asking? I think this is a good discipline to be honest. Where can you practice the discipline of asking in humility so that everyone can win? 

My father knew the secrets of asking. He knew that it was putting yourself in a position of humility. It was putting in your position where you are asking for them to respond, to help, or to see that you are assertive. My father knew that involving the other individual merely through the context of asking allows for relationships to be built so that everyone can win.

What are you going to ask for?

All the best,