The components of a rock solid ASK

At MCC, we use the term "ASK" as opposed to 30 second commercial or elevator pitch. Why? Those concepts are antiquated and we have yet to hold an event with either a stopwatch or in an elevator. Besides, if the ask is done correctly, the person to whom we are speaking will know exactly what type of work we do. It's your job to BRIEFLY cover that in the ask. By the time you read this, you should have a very good idea how to create a new and significantly improved ask for yourself.

A good ask should connect you with exactly what you seek. I am not saying it will do so every time, but your odds of making the right connection will certainly increase if you follow these guidelines.

Your Name, your role and for whom you do it. It should be one quick, short sentence.

My name is Terry Bean and I am the CNO of Networked inc.

Next should be a sentence about why people do business with your company.

We are experts at infusing a networking mindset into small and medium companies so they can grow their business.

The above sentence tells you: Who, What and Why. These are certainly important elements. I have also spent about 7 seconds talking thus far.

The next sentence should address how the person you are speaking to can help you. Before I get into this, I want to give you a list of things it should be:

Concise: Not that you are in a hurry, but there is no sense in giving people more information than they need. We have all been in a situation when we wished the person that was telling us every piece of minutia about their business would just go away, right? Don't be that person. Say what you have to say, but do it quickly. Our good friend, Charlie Wollborg says it this way: Titillate, don't Satiate. See how brief that is?

Clear: Does it still make sense after shortening your message? If it doesn't, you may need to workshop it a little. People need to understand what it is you would like them to do for you.

Compelling: Is your request something that people think, "Hmm, that's interesting. I would like to help this person". If it's not, what are you going to do to make it so? Sure it's great that you are networking and meeting new people, but if you can't get any of them to help you by introducing you to the people you need to meet, you would be better served spending that time cold calling. Suggestion: Relate your ask to them. That could be by offering an incentive for those who help you, or by showing how what you do for your clients may benefit them.

Specific: While this seems counter-intuitive, like it will lessen the possible number of responses you will get...know this: It will lessen the number of responses you will get. How many of us have gotten referrals that were close to what we seek? Worse yet, how many have gotten referrals that weren't even close? Sure we appreciate the effort, but who has time to track down a bunch of folks that really aren't our prospect. If you do, call me. MCC needs some help on a handful of committees. Make your ask as absolutely granular as you can. Don't say I am looking for someone in purchasing at GM. If you know you need to speak to Johnny Knoxville who purchases castings and works in the Warren facility. Ask for Johnny. You never know...(I'll finish that later).

It's OK to ask for help (is there an echo in here?). Tell people you are asking for their help and that you would appreciate it.

Here is an example of my ASK utilizing what we have stated here:

My name is Terry Bean and I am the CNO of Networked inc. We are experts at infusing a networking mindset into small and medium companies so they can grow their business. I would appreciate your help in connecting me with an executive at Hanson's Windows. I will help them get more business from their current base, identify future clients and strategic partners and most importantly communicate this message throughout the organization.

Okay, enough about me...let's talk about my hair. Hahaha. I want to give you an example from our "Ask" discussion board. Here is what Keith Gillette wrote (I don't know Keith. I am not endorsing his company or product,I am just giving another real world example). I would like to thank Keith in advance for his ask and hope he doesn't mind that I have used it as an example.

Here is Keith's ask as posted:
Hello everyone.

I'm now the owner of www.suddenvalues.com of SW.Oakland County. I am looking to meet business owners in the following communities: Birmingham,Berkley,Clawson,Royal Oak,Madison Heights,Huntington Woods and Troy. I am offering a Local Marketing Service which helps business owners get their regular customers back in their store at least 2 more extra times a year and also bring them new customers. I am looking at a launch date of May 19,2008. The first 12 merchants that sign up will get a great deal. Any help will be greatly rewarded. I have an awesome referal program.



 It's compelling, specific, kind of clear but not overly concise (but part of that is a list of cities). I might say:

My name is Keith Gillette and I am the proud new regional owner of www.suddenvalues.com. We help retailers increase visits from their current clients while bringing new clients through their door. I would appreciate your assistance in meeting people that own stores in the following communities: Birmingham,Berkley,Clawson,Royal Oak,Madison Heights,Huntington Woods and Troy. Not only do I offer an awesome referral program for you, the first 12 merchants that sign up will get a great deal.

Good luck with the new business Keith. I am sure some of our members know folks that may benefit from your services. Let us know how it works out for you.

Hopefully you are all aware that we have a whole discussion topic designed for you to share your ask. Please do so. Please tell us specifically how we can help you. Remember, every opportunity we have to help you, helps us. It all starts with a good ask.

 

 

Edited Tue, May 6, 2008 10:00 AM

Replies to this Topic

egads was that long.  If you think it took you a while to read it...

Do let us know how we can help you.

Terry Bean

Profile Image for David B. David
  • Wed, May 7, 2008 8:19 AM

Terry,

Thank you for taking the time to put this together.  I appologize in advance to your family who I hear misses you.  I'm sure each MCC member can identify and benefit from this most recent post as I believe we all want to improve our marketing efforts and through specific asks...we can start getting what we really want. 

Kudos to the great team at MCC and specifically Terry Bean!

Now, go take a nap.

Terry,

Thanks a lot for sharing a very useful and effective communication tip because this is a win- win advice.

A person who is asking can ask efficiently and the person who is listening can understand effectively . I love that. After I read  this (I don't know how I missed it earlier) I am re thinking my ask :o) ha..ha..!!

I think you can call this mission "Re think ASK"

 

Henry Joshua
DotSign
www.dot-sign.com
"Gateway to Your Web Identity"

Edited Wed, Jul 23, 2008 6:00 PM

Great overview of how to 'ask'.  Thanks.  And thanks, Henry, for referencing me here.

My ask, please let me know your thoughts (and thanks in advance for your opinion here):

My name is Andy Flynn and I'm an account manager at Suntel Services, headquartered in Troy.  For over 20 years, Suntel has been servicing MI based companies and their subsidiaries technology needs.  We're looking to open our 5th office in the Ann Arbor area, and would appreciate an introduction to executives within Proquest and Toyota Technical Center.  We take a consultative approach with our new and existing clients, and can assist these companies with needs analysis, solution recommendation, and strategic direction.

 

Any input, positive or otherwise, is again greatly appreciated.  

"For over 20 years, Suntel has been servicing MI based companies" -

Andrew, my only suggestion is with the above statement / introduction I wasn't clear what services it was. I probably would say

"For over 20 years, Suntel has been providing communication and technology services to MI based companies".

I actually went to your web site to see what services you do. For people like me who haven't heard about Suntel & knowing what you do it would be difficult to know what you meant by services. Now that I know you are in communications and networking, I can pass on your info to other people as well.

I hope that helps... just my thoughts.

 

Henry Joshua
.DotSign
www.dot-sign.com

"Gateway to Your Web Identity"

 

 

Andrew-

Not that I know anyone specifically at Proquest or Toyota, but which one are you looking for?  Is there a specific person?  If not, is there a specific title of the person you are looking for?  I'm throwing these questions to you because you are SO CLOSE to unleashing the power of a great ask!

Hi David,

Thanks for your response.  I'm looking to speak to Proquest at the CIO level or IT Manager or IT Director levels.  Or, we also engage either an Information Security Officer (ISO) or Chief Security Officer (CSO).  I'm comfortable working my way down or up, so please let me know how you can assist me.  I can best be reached at andyflynn@suntel.com.  

So, when did you start blogging David?  I checked out your blog and will be looking at several books you mentioned.  Thanks!  Also, what do you do and how can I help you grow your business?  Please let me know.

 

-Andy

 

 

 

Profile Image for Lorraine Grace P. Lorraine Grace
  • Mon, Nov 9, 2009 5:17 PM

Hello Terry Bean,

I not only read the 5 components of ASK I also printed them!  They will go right into my binder of "IMPORTANT INFORMATION YOU SHOULD KNOW."  I review the contents on a regular basis.  I have learned an abundance of critical information and for that I thank you.  I will be attending MCC events on a regular basis.  It will be exciting and I look forward to a solid relationship with MCC and it's members.  Have an awesome day!

Best regards,

Lorraine Grace Patchett 

 

That's very kind of you to say Lorraine.

Congratulations on taking the right steps to improve yourself, your business and our community.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

Terry

Terry,

Thank you for the "Ask".  I never felt comfortable with the elevator pitch.  I printed the components of the "Ask" and I'm going to study them and rewrite my ask.

I'm looking forward to attending the events.

 

With Grace and Charm,

Walethia

Could I get some coaching on my "ask"??

 

** My name is Sean Curran and I am the Business Relations Manager at New Electric.  We are experts at infusing the latest technologies available with Industrial Suppliers so they can grow their businesses.  I would appreciate your help in connecting me with an executive at The Pepsi Bottling Group.  I will help them minimize their downtime, encourage and implement energy efficient systems and throw money into their pockets!  www.thatsnew.com

free coaching:

Not sure why but I love "throw money into their pockets".

your title doesn't matter and if you expect anyone to buy from you, you had better be an expert. The positioning statement (we are experts...) is bland and there are LOTS of executives at Pepsi...most probably don't care about what you're selling. Which ones do?

Call me if you want non-free coaching.

248.224.1326

Terry

Terry,

You had a workshop a couple of weeks ago on how to best use MCC.  I wasn't able to attend.  In addition, I don't have a laptop, which I thought was critical to have for the class.  Will you be presenting another workshop soon?

Mabel

Hi Mabel-

Why don't you call me 248.224.1326 and I will take a few minutes and answer whatever questions you have about MCC (either that or go to the discussion group and look under "How to use Motor City Connect" it's on page 2). There is some really good video training there.

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