“Great things are only possible with outrageous requests.”
As a recovering codependent, I often find it impossible to ask for help; I feel like I should be able to do it all, and help you too. However, I’ve noticed over the years that the most successful entrepreneurs never try to do it all.
They ask for help – help with accounting, scheduling, filing, planning. Often they hire this help.
But what about an outrageous request? Just like we need to have larger than life dreams to really go somewhere, we need to ask for big things to get great results. Asking for help with the little things may get you comfortable with asking for help, but asking for the big things will lead to greatness.
Part of an outrageous request is getting specific. You need to know what specific help you need in order to get it. I was at a networking event where we had an opportunity to ask questions of the group. I saw that people who were really specific got the best results.
One woman is looking to retire in ten years. She wants to buy a vacation home in Costa Rica. She asked who knew anyone who owns property there. She got great responses. Another man had been trying to sell to a particular company. He asked who knew one of the owners. He got ten responses.
Conversely, people who asked questions like, “who knows someone who buys insurance” got poor results. Everyone buys insurance but most people already have someone they buy from. Why would they refer to this person? There’s nothing differentiating them from anyone else.
However, asking, “who knows someone whose car insurance rates have gone up because they’ve had an accident?” would get much better response. Yes, fewer people know someone in that situation, but the request is more specific.
Pamela Slim of Escape from Cubicle Nation wrote about this very thing in her post Let ME Help YOU. She writes about the type of requests people make and how to make them in such a way as to get you the help you need without putting the person you’re asking on the spot.
Ask about the process, not the people.
- DON’T ask: “Would you review my business plan?”
- DO ask: “I would love to have some expert review on my business plan. How do you suggest I go about getting it?”
Asking for help doesn’t come easy for most of us. But if we get specific about the help we need, ask in a respectful way, and really listen to the response, we have an opportunity to grow our business to new levels.
Andrea J. Stenberg
Have you ever received the help you needed because you asked? Please share it with us by leaving a comment.