7 Ways to Boost Your Business, or How to Ask to Get Ahead

by Jack Canfield

Ask and you shall receive.

7 Ways to Boost Your BusinessHow many times have you heard that? But how many times have you used this fundamental truth in your daily life recently?

Let me put it this way: when was the last time you asked for a written endorsement from a client or colleague?

How about feedback from your customers? Or the opportunity to renegotiate something that just doesn’t work for you?

I can’t tell you how often I watch business professionals–especially those in sales and marketing positions–falter because they simply stop practicing the art of asking.

If you were to ask successful top executives how they got to where they are, I bet most would admit they “asked to get to the top.” In other words, they knew when and how to ask the right questions so they could gather the right information, build their reputation, seek useful referrals, generate new business, and expand their audience or customer base.

If the simple act of asking is so critical, then why don’t more people do it?

Because for some reason, people falsely think asking implies weakness and sets one up for potential rejection. It’s easy to come up with all sorts of excuses to avoid asking questions that can return unexpected or critical answers. Yet the world responds to those who ask.
If you are not moving closer to what you want, you probably aren’t doing enough asking.

Here are seven asking strategies you can implement in your business (and in life) to boost your results:

1.) Ask for Information
You can never have too much information; in fact, the higher up you go, the more you need to know. To win potential new clients, you first need to have an understanding about their current challenges, what they want to accomplish and how they plan to do it. Only then can you proceed to demonstrate the advantages of your unique product or service.
Ask questions starting with the words who, why, what, where, when and how to obtain the information you need. Only when you truly understand and appreciate a prospect’s needs can you offer a solution.

2.) Ask for Business
Would you believe that more than 60 percent of the time salespeople never ask for the order after giving a complete presentation about the benefits of their product or service?!
It’s true, and a painful statistic that could put anyone out of business quickly if it’s not changed. Always ask a closing question to secure the business. Don’t waffle or talk around it–or worse, wait for your prospect to ask you. No doubt you have heard of many good ways to ask the question, “Would you like to give it a try?” The point is, ask.

3.) Ask for Written Endorsements
These can be difficult to ask for if you don’t like tooting your own horn, but well-written, results-oriented testimonials from highly respected people are powerful for future sales. They solidify the quality of your product or service and leverage you as a person who has integrity, is trustworthy and gets the job done on time.

When is the best time to ask? Right after you have provided excellent service, gone the extra mile, or made your customer really happy. Simply ask if your customer would be willing to give you a testimonial about the value of your product or service, plus any other helpful comments.

4.) Ask for Top-Quality Referrals
Just about everyone in business knows the importance of referrals. It’s the easiest, least expensive way of ensuring your growth and success in the marketplace. Your core clients will gladly give you referrals because you treat them so well. So why not ask all of them for referrals? It’s a habit that will dramatically increase your income. Like any other habit, the more you ask the easier it becomes.

5.) Ask for More Business
Look for other products or services you can provide your customers. Devise a system that tells you when your clients will require more of your products. The simplest way is to ask your customers when you should contact them to reorder. It’s easier to sell your existing clients more than to go looking for new ones.

6.) Ask for Feedback
This is an important component of asking that is often overlooked. How do you really know if your product or service is meeting your customers’ needs? Ask them, “How are we doing? What can we do to improve our service to you? Please share what you like or don’t like about our products.” Set up regular customer surveys that ask good questions and tough questions. It’s a powerful way to fine-tune your business.

7.) Ask to Renegotiate
The negotiating room should never be locked up for good. Regular business activities include negotiation and often re-negotiation. Many networkers get stuck because they lack skills in negotiation, yet this is simply another form of asking that can save a lot of time and money. All sorts of contracts can be renegotiated in your personal life, too, such as changing your credit card terms and rates. As long as you negotiate ethically and in the spirit of a win-win, you can enjoy a lot of flexibility. Nothing is ever cast in stone. It’s only in stone if you don’t speak up!

The 5 Secrets to Successful Asking

The first stumbling block for most is knowing how to ask. There are five secrets to great asking that can guarantee you results, however big or small.

If you ever find yourself hitting brick walls and coming up short in responses, come back to these five tips:

Ask Clearly Ask Clearly: No one likes getting a vague or fuzzy question. Be precise. Think clearly about your request. Take time to prepare. Use a note pad to pick words that have the greatest impact. Words are powerful, so choose them carefully.

For example, if you throw out the “How am I doing?” question without specifics, it may take time for the other person to understand what you’re talking about. Instead, try, “How is my attitude with customers? Do you see room for improvement? Where?”

Ask with confidence Ask with Confidence: People who ask confidently get more than those who are hesitant and uncertain. When you’ve figured out what you want to ask for, do it with certainty, boldness and confidence. Practice in the mirror if you have to, or write out your question in advance.

Be prepared to hear the unexpected or the unwanted. Try to have an open mind and heart (it’s okay to feel intimidated by the experience, but don’t show it). Don’t get defensive if you hear something you don’t like or that makes you uncomfortable. It’s good to get a little uneasy once in a while upon the observations or insights of others. They will inspire you to stop, reflect, and take steps to make a shift for the better.

Ask Consistently Ask Consistently: Top producers know that they can’t quit if they ask once and don’t get a good response. Keep asking until you find the answers, and try different ways of asking if one doesn’t seem to be working.

In prospecting there are usually four or five “no’s” before you get a “yes.” You may, for example, want to ask a co-worker about your performance on an important team project, but you sense reluctance from that person to offer an opinion.

You can always ask another person who is more receptive to the question, or consider how you are asking it and try again. Because people don’t normally go around asking others for opinions on how well they are doing, it’s not a question typically heard. So be prepared to ask over and over again before you hear a clear–useful–answer.

Ask Creatively Ask Creatively: In this age of global competition, your asking may get lost in the crowd, unheard by the decision-makers you hope to reach. There is a way around this. If you want someone’s attention, don’t ask the ordinary way. Use your creativity to dream up a high-impact presentation.

Bear in mind that asking someone to stop and evaluate you can seem awkward or time-consuming. Show respect for them first and find the ideal time to ask the question. Here’s one way to engage the insights of a superior: “I highly value your opinion and honest perspective, and would love to know what you think I could be doing differently on a daily basis that would make your life easier and make our clients happier.”

Ask Sincerely Ask Sincerely: When you really need help, people will respond. Sincerity means dropping the image facade and showing a willingness to be vulnerable. Tell it the way it is, lumps and all. Don’t worry if your presentation isn’t perfect; ask from your heart. Keep it simple and people will open up to you.

Like speaking a different language, asking takes continual practice until it becomes a regular, reflexive habit. The sooner you build your “Ask Muscle”, the sooner you’ll see the results you’ve been waiting–and searching–for.

Don’t think asking only relates to work-related goals and tasks. Bring this practice home to enrich your relationships with your family members and your friends, too!

I trust you’ll be surprised and delighted at what you discover about yourself in this process.

Happy asking!

© 2010 Jack Canfield

How To Create A Better World – By Melissa Marcy

Everywhere you look lately it seems to be more bad news. You watch the television, read a newspaper or search the web and what do you see? A floundering economy, war, murder, abuse, fear, rape, inequality, lack of cooperation, hatred, and dishonesty. What for? When will it end? What will it take for people to understand that this needs to stop or we are all going down the toilet together?

Our future, notice I said OUR future, is the collective responsibility of every single one of us. We cannot point our fingers at another individual or toward a situation outside of ourselves and say that they are to blame for the state of things right now. Change starts inside each one of us. This is not something we can leave to our children or future generations to fix because it is affecting us right now. It hinders the way in which we live, thrive, love and enjoy life. Change begins with you.

The first change we need to make is this issue of “pride” that is plaguing our species right now. At what costs do we defend our pride? How many people must lose their lives, their well being, their children, their parents, their brothers, sisters or friends before we realize just how pointless it all is? You may think that you have been “wronged” in some way, but is it worth losing your happiness, life or wellbeing, or that of your loved ones just to save your pride? I certainly hope not. True self confidence and respect is achieved when we learn to love ourselves. As long as we love ourselves there is no need for pride, status or anything else of that nature.

Pride for your country does not matter. Pride for your race or religion does not matter. Pride for yourself or your family does not matter. Having compassion, kindness and unconditional love for each other and for ourselves DOES matter. We need to look past our differences and begin to treat each other as family. If we can learn to forgo pride, we can greatly reduce war, murder, fear, inequality and hatred in our world, and what an improvement that would be!

The next change we need to make is forgiveness. Contrary to popular belief, forgiveness is not something you do on behalf of the person who has wronged you, it is something you do for yourself. When we harbor ill will toward another person we aren’t harming them, we are harming ourselves. Hatred, anger or resentment can make you ill, it can cloud your thoughts, it can waste your energy and make it harder for you to achieve anything worthwhile. By forgiving someone you are not surrendering, condoning their actions or handing them the victory. You do not even need to like the person or welcome them back into your heart or home. By forgiving you are simply reclaiming your life, your energy, your happiness and your wellbeing from their grasp. By forgiving you are making the choice to stop letting them hurt you and you are making the choice to stop hurting yourself. Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things we can do in life, but as with anything that comes with great effort it also holds the greatest rewards. By learning how to forgive, we can significantly reduce war, murder, fear, abuse, and hatred in our world all while achieving inner peace for ourselves.

After forgiveness comes the need for us to have compassion for one another. True compassion should come from the heart and not through compliance to laws or from the fear of consequences. Compassion is far above compliance or civility. True compassion comes from loving and respecting another as you do yourself. True compassion means treating others as you would like to be treated. True compassion means to do no harm and offer help when needed. Compassion means to think of how YOU would feel if the roles were reversed before acting. Compassion means to see and treat every other being as your equal. Compassion means to do your part to end pain WHEREVER you see it.

Compassion should extend beyond humans to our animal friends as well. How can we be truly compassionate if we ignore their cries and pain just because they cannot speak our language? If we turn a blind eye to the pain of anyone living being we can turn a blind eye to them all, including our fellow man. If people could ONLY be compassionate there would be no more war, no more murder, no more abuse, no more rape, no more inequality, no more lack of cooperation, no more hatred, and no more dishonesty.

Can you imagine how wonderful the world would be if everyone was compassionate and kind? If everyone was forgiving, loving, helpful and cooperative. If we accepted, included and protected one another. If people were caring, understanding and sympathetic toward one another. If people recognized the beauty in all others and appreciated them for it. If people were thoughtful and considerate. If people were honest. If people loved themselves and each other enough to value our collective safety, happiness and wellbeing above everything else. Oh, what a world that would be!

Many people will think that I am utopian when I say this, but it IS possible to achieve. Perhaps not in this lifetime, but maybe it can be a reality for our children or grandchildren. When we make the changes within ourselves that we would like to see, we influence those who we come into contact with. Start with YOU. Learn how to ditch your pride, work on loving and accepting yourself, practice forgiveness and develop compassion for yourself and for others. Let go of negativity such as fear, guilt, worry and sorrow. Do simple things throughout your day to lift up those around you. Give smiles and compliments to people wherever you see them. Hold open doors for people, talk to one another, get to know each other and offer your help and understanding. Do your best and live honestly. Think positively. Focus on things you enjoy and spend quality time with the people you love. When you are happy, fulfilled and full of love, you have more to offer to the world. It is that simple. One person at a time can expand to encompass cities, then eventually countries and the entire planet, but it always begins with you.

Please Join our Group Meditation For A Better World and help us create positive change on our planet.

Disclaimer: this article is intended for inspirational purposes only and the techniques and ideas described herein are not to be used as a substitute for professional medical or psychological treatment or without prior consultation with, approval of, and under the supervision of your physician or therapist. Application of the information, techniques and ideas in this article is at the sole risk and discretion of the reader.

An Accumulation of Riches

By: Brian Tracy

Little Things Mean A Lot
One of the greatest success principles of all is called the Law of Accumulation. This law says that everything great and worthwhile in human life is an accumulation of hundreds and sometimes thousands of tiny efforts and sacrifices that nobody ever sees or appreciates. It says that everything accumulates over time. That you have to put in many, many, many tiny efforts that nobody sees or appreciates before you achieve anything worthwhile. It’s like a snowball. A snowball starts very small, but it grows as it adds millions and millions of tiny snowflakes and continues to grow as it gathers momentum.

Learn What You Need To Learn
There are three areas where the law of accumulation is important. The first is in the area of knowledge. Your body of knowledge is a result of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of small pieces of information.

Any person with a large knowledge base has spent thousands of hours building that knowledge base one piece at a time. And what you see when you meet the individual is an expert in his or her field, with that high level of knowledge that makes him very valuable in the marketplace.

Save Your Money
The second area where the Law of accumulation works is with regard to money. Every large fortune is an accumulation of hundreds and thousands of small amounts of money, and the place to start is to take any amount of money that you can right now and begin to save it. When you begin to save money, it sets up a force field of energy and it triggers the law of attraction. As a result you begin to attract to you even more bits of money to add to your savings.

Attract Riches Into Your Life
And I’ve spoken to many, many successful people and they’ve told me the same story. That as soon as you start to put savings aside, it starts to attract into your life and into your work all the money that you need to achieve your goals. The reason why most people retire poor is they never put the initial savings aside to start with.

Get The Experience You Need
The third area where the law of accumulation applies is in the area of experience. You’ll find that successful people in any field are those who have far more experience in that field than the average. And there is nothing that replaces experience. Whether it’s in business or entrepreneurship or management or parenting or selling or anything else. Many people do not take the risks that are necessary to move out of their comfort zone because they’re afraid it won’t work out.

Everything Counts
But the fact is that until you move out of the comfort zone and get the experience from making the mistakes, it’s not possible for you to grow and become capable of earning the kind of money that you desire. Now here’s the key to the law of accumulation. It says that everything counts. Everything that you do counts. The biggest mistake that people make is they think that only what they want to count, counts. That when you read a book, when you listen to an audio program, when you go to a course, when you go to bed early and you get up early and you work, it all counts. And it’s all going on the plus side of your ledger.

Use Your Time Well
But when you watch television, waste time, hang out, fool around and so on, all of that counts, as well, and it’s going on the negative side. A person who has a great life, by the law of accumulation, is a person who’s accumulated far more credits on the credit side than debits on the debit side. And here’s an important point. If what you are doing is not moving you towards your goals, then it’s moving you away from your goals. Nothing is neutral. Everything that you’re doing is either moving you toward the things that you want to accomplish in life, the person you want to be, the wealth you want to accumulate, or it’s moving you away. Everything counts. The law of accumulation says that everything counts.

Action Exercises
First, begin today to build your knowledge base in the subject that can be most helpful to you in achieving financial independence. Whether it takes a week, a month or a year to become thoroughly knowledgeable, it doesn’t matter. Just get started today.

Second, get as much experience as you can in your chosen field. Start a little earlier, work a little harder and stay a little later. Take risks and try every different way you can think of to achieve your goal. This experience is invaluable and it accumulates over time.

7 Key Steps to Closing Every Sale – By Rochelle Togo-Figa

When a client tells me they’re not bringing in the sales they want, one of the first questions I ask is “Are you asking for the business?” Their response is either “No, I don’t know what to say” or “What if I ask and they’re not interested”? Well, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know where you stand with your prospect.

The close is a crucial moment of decision in the sales process when the prospect decides whether to enter into a business relationship with you or not. For many people this is such a painful time, that 50% of all sales calls end without asking for some sort of commitment to the next steps.

Let me share a story with you. Jim and Ron were friends for more than 25 years and golf buddies for nearly the same amount of time. They had grown up together, were as close as brothers celebrating each other’s personal and professional business successes over the years. One day while they’re teeing off, Jim turned to Ron and said “Ron, how come after all the years we’ve known each other, you’ve never given me any business?” Ron turned to Jim and simply said “You never asked”. This response may sound surprising but it’s true. The most common reason business owners don’t get the business is they don’t ask for it. It’s as simple as that. If you want the business, you must ask for it.

Let’s take a look at 7 key steps to asking for the business.

1. Prepare Yourself for the Close
There are a number of questions to answer before you ask for the business. Once you answer “yes” to these questions, you’re ready to ask the closing questions. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Does the customer want what I’m selling?
Does the customer believe in me and my company?
Can the customer afford my product?
Does the customer fully understand what my product is?
Have I prepared and practiced my closing techniques?
Am I prepared to remain silent after asking the closing question?

2. Trial Closes
Throughout the sales meeting, look for opportunities to get agreement from the prospect. Repeat back to the prospect what they told you is important to them and tie it back to the benefits. Here’s an example: “Don’t you agree, it’s going to give you the financial security you said earlier is so important to you?”

Checking in with them throughout the meeting and getting agreement allows you to use the information as you prepare for the close. If your prospect agrees, you can bring them back to that at the end.

3. Assumptive Close
From the moment you walk in and sit down with the prospect, assume the prospect wants to buy your product. If they are willing to meet with you, they must have some interest in what you’re selling. If you continually assume the sale over and over in your own mind, you’ll project that confidence in your speaking when meeting with the project. Here’s several assumptive statements you can make before the prospects buys:

“You’ll be happy you decided to buy it.”
You’re going to love how it looks in your home.”

4. Ask Pressure-Free Closing Questions
As the prospect gets closer to making a decision to do business with you or not, their level of anxiety increases. This is an uncertain time for the prospect in the decision-making process, and the sale can go either way. The way to keep the sales door open and lead the prospect to doing business with you, is asking pressure-free questions. The magic word to use when asking a pressure-free question is “if”. The word “if”, removes all risk and pressure from the question. The prospect will respond freely as there is no commitment to be made at this time. Here’s a couple of examples:

If you were to go ahead with… when would you…?
If you were to decide to… how many would you…?

5. Ask Closing Questions
There is no need to break your momentum now. Here are a few questions you can ask potential clients in order to reach an agreement.

“Are you ready to get started?”
“Shall I draw up a contract?”
“Do we have a deal?”
“Let’s take a few minutes now so I can walk you through the agreement.”
“Let’s set up our next meeting and I can go over the plan with you then.”
“Shall I finalize the details?”

6. Be Quiet! Let Them Respond First
The biggest flaw leading to failing to close the sale is the inability to know when and how to ask for it and then be quiet. After you’ve made your recommendation and asked all your closing questions, remain silent. The prospect has listened to your presentation and needs a couple of moments to absorb the information and make the buying decision. Take a deep breath, be quiet and wait for the prospect to speak first.

7. Decide on the Next Steps
Whether or not you have closed the sale, be absolutely certain that both you and the prospect know what happens next. Before you end your meeting with the prospect, take out your calendar and set up the next meeting, or the next call. Never leave a meeting without knowing the next steps.

If you like what you read in this article and want to learn more sales strategies that will increase your sales immediately, then I’m ready to walk you through my proven step-by-step sales and mindset breakthrough system at the Inner Game of Sales Breakthrough Workshop. For 3 incredible days in June I will teach you everything you need to close more sales and shift the way you think about sales. Now is the time to master your sales and mindset so that this is your best year ever! The Inner Game of Sales Workshop will change the way YOU think about sales and selling FOREVER!

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About the Author:

Rochelle Togo-Figa, The Sales Breakthrough Expert, is the creator of the Sales Breakthrough Systemâ„¢, a proven step-by-step sales process that will help you close more sales, sign on more clients and make more money with ease and velocity. To sign up for her free sales articles and teleclasses on closing more sales, visit http://www.SalesBreakthroughs.com .

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