How To Make "The Ask!"
Tips for Effectively Recruiting Your Team
by Craig Harrison
I picked up the phone and the familiar voice on the other line said: "Hi
Craig, want to make me very happy? Want to be my favorite person in the whole
wide world? Say yes to my next question. Will you chair our spring conference?"
My colleague made all the wrong moves when she called to ask me to accept
a major leadership role. Simply put, that's not how to make the ask.
Many times in your life you will make requests of others: to join
a group, committee or team, to perform a task or to assist with a project.
How do you make the ask? Often the key to getting to "Yes" involves
how you make your request.
Whether you are:
- building a board of directors
- forming a committee
- enrolling others in your team or workgroup
- seeking volunteers for a project
Follow these ten tips to hear those magic words: "YES, I'd be glad to!"
Making the "Ask"
- Phrase your request in terms of the benefits to the listener.
Speak to "what's in it for them." Why will they benefit from saying
yes to your request? (She wanted me to make her happy. It's not about her,
it's about me.)
- Be positive. Don't focus on why someone shouldn't say yes or
the negative aspects of their accepting your request. Focus on the positives.
Will the experience be fun? High profile? Build new skills? Lead to a promotion?
Add to one's résumé? Give all involved a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction?
Will it make the world a better place? Focus on positives.
- Show respect and appreciation for your prospect. When you recognize
their skills, past track record, personality or other qualities they in
turn feel special. It's flattering and affirming to be asked to participate.
- Give accurate and clear expectations of what the position or
role requires. It's tempting to tell people what they want to hear, or only
emphasize what is easy or fun, or undersell the time commitment required.
DON'T! Give a fair explanation of your request. You don't want them agreeing
under false pretenses.
- Make sure to listen to the issues or concerns of the listener.
What are they worried about? How will they base their decision? Strive to
understand their needs, their fears and their constraints.
- Give your prospect an appropriate amount of time to make an informed
decision. Don't pressure, manipulate or overwhelm your prospect in hopes
of their saying yes. This often backfires later as they recant or demonstrate
less than complete commitment.
- Strive for win-wins. Use flexibility and creativity to find mutually
acceptable outcomes. There are numerous ways you two can find to make your
proposition work for both parties.
- Accept their answer whether they agree to your request or not.
- Should your initial request be rejected, consider a counter-offer
or secondary offer. Having a fallback offer allows your prospect to join
your team in whatever capacity they are able to.
- Thank them either way for their time and willingness to consider
your offer. By treating them with respect and care they are more likely
to say yes in the future.
Remember, their assent is just the beginning. Now that they've put their
faith in you as a leader it is incumbent upon you to communicate your appreciation,
convey your support and provide valuable recognition along the way.
Credible leaders are credible communicators. They not only make the ask
so they get favorable responses, they also utilize their listening and team
building skills along the way to strengthen their bonds with others.
Accentuate your powers of persuasion with a better understanding of how
to appeal to colleagues, partners, co-workers, volunteers and interns when
popping your questions. Zig Ziglar was right: "You can have anything in the
world you want if you'll just help enough other people get what they want."
The getting is good…it's all in how you make "the ask!"
Craig Harrison is a speaker, trainer and consultant who makes communication
and customer service fun and easy for his clients. To hear his voice, call
(888) 450-0664. Otherwise you can visit his website www.expressionsofexcellence.com
more articles in Communications in The CEO Refresher