Fear of asking? Yep, you heard me right! I used to have this paralyzing fear of asking for things that could benefit me personally or my business, and as a result I missed out on a lot of opportunities. I was afraid that my request would be met with funny looks, laughter, snide responses, judgement, and perhaps most terrifyingly, a no. I know I’m not the only one out there that is afraid of rejection so I decided to use my own experiences to give some advice.
- Requesting a lower rate or different payment conditions for a bill
- Receiving free or discounted products or services
- Resolving account or service issues
On a more personal level, here are some examples of times when I’ve asked for things and the surprising results I’ve seen:
- I had been collecting rewards points online for a product that I use regularly and had accumulated thousands of them. I knew that if you ever went too long without entering some that your points would be forfeited. I stayed on top of it for years and then I forgot to enter any codes over the course of a consecutive 60 day period. They sent me reminders that I needed to enter more codes in order to keep my points active but I just got busy and forgot to. Per the terms and conditions, my points were then forfeited. I was really upset, but it was no one’s fault but my own! I sent the company an email apologizing for letting my account go inactive and politely asked if my points could be reinstated. They definitely didn’t have to help me, but sure enough, they were happy to do so! I never would have imagined that they would have been so accommodating, but simply taking the time to ask resulted in a huge win!
- When my car was much younger it blew a headlight bulb. It was still under warranty at that point so I took it to the dealership to have it replaced because I knew the labor would be covered and I’d have to buy a new bulb regardless. I had read online that the headlights in my car model were notoriously difficult to change so I asked the tech if he could walk me through the steps of changing it and sell me another bulb at cost (since I figured the other one had limited time left as well). He obliged, giving me pro tips on how to make it easier and even throwing in a free spare bulb to take with me as an emergency backup.
- My company was sponsoring a community activity and I needed some items printed for the event. I approached a local company with my needs and explained that I was trying to get a similar rate to what I would be paying if I used a discount online company because I wanted to support local businesses. They beat the price I had been quoted online and even delivered hand-delivered the items to me personally.
- Of course, you won’t always hear Yes. When we moved to a new house and needed whole home window treatments I had several companies out to present design options and provide quotes. I chose a small company that had quality products and friendly customer service. When the owner came out to install the window treatments I took the time to ask him if it was possible to pay part of the bill in trade. I offered to write content for his website or create and run some online advertisements in exchange for a reduction of the total cost. He said no, but it was worth asking because you just never know!
The more you practice, the better you’ll get at asking. Just remember that the worst that can happen is that someone will say no. And if you get a No, just move on. Don’t take it personally and don’t feel awkward about it. Just keep trying, because in my experience you’ll probably get Yes more than No!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!