Wiehann de Klerk
The How Behind The Ask
How you ask will determine the response you get; a guide to persuasion, leadership empowerment and influence.
Romans 15:2 - Let each of us please his neighbour for his good, to lift him up.
Ask a question the right way, and you will get the right response. There is an art in the ask. In order to get others to do you a favour, you must do them the favour of appealing to their self-interest. A person's self-interest is of greater importance to them than the interests of others. A person responds enthusiastically and is more inclined to say yes when they see something as a benefit for them. You must discover the things that will benefit the person you are trying to persuade. Whether you want to ask someone to go out on a date with you, or you are trying to close a real estate deal, you must appeal to their self-interest. If you want to ask them out on a date, you must explain the reason why going on a date with you will benefit them, apart from just a free dinner. The same applies to closing a real estate deal. A person that wants a property with a beach view will not buy an apartment in the city, away from the beach. Sounds obvious right? However, there are so many people out there that are trying to sell, for their benefit, not for the benefit of the customer that is buying the product. What are the things that benefit them? What are the things that they want? Once you have identified the things that benefit them, you must ensure that you accentuate those things.
"A person responds enthusiastically and is more inclined to say yes when they see something as a benefit for them."
Let's say that there is a girl in your life right now that you really like and there is no problem with your confidence - you walk up to her and ask her out to dinner. To your surprise, she responds with an immediate no. You're confused - you're fit, good looking and she is too so why would she say no? The answer is obvious - you cared about your interests, not hers. Does she want a guy that is fit and good looking or is she more interested in a guy that is smart and wealthy? By asking, "can I take you out to dinner," you are implying that it is for your benefit, not hers. Instead, start an unselfish conversation showing interest in her. There is an art to asking a girl out - provide her with a snippet of the man that she wants to have. If she wants a funny man, and you're not funny, she will say no. If she wants a strong and fit man and your obese, I'm sorry, but you are not going to cut it. If she wants a smart man and she knows that you failed college, she will say no. Be the man she wants you to be so that saying yes benefits her, not you. If she wants a funny guy, you must entertain her with your humour. The reality is that you already know that she is the girl that you want to date. After all, you are the one asking her out. To you, she qualifies as a potential partner. However, she has not qualified you as a potential partner. Help her qualify you. Here is another example - I once had a salesman knock on my door selling solar panels. The first thing he did was ask the wrong questions. He asked, "Sir, would you be interested in signing up to purchase the latest solar panels for a discounted rate?" What a stupid question! Instead, he should have asked, "Sir, do you rent this property or do you own this property?" Because, if I rent the property, I couldn't care less about solar panels and I don't have the ability to say yes, even if I wanted to. So, firstly, he failed to qualify whether I was a good lead - a potential customer, and secondly, he failed to ask, "Sir, would you be interested reducing your electricity bill?" The first question did not imply the benefits of the product. The second question did. You must first qualify the lead and then accentuate the benefits that you or your company or anything else for that matter can provide the person. Always accentuate the benefits! Always! No one cares about your products, nor do they care about you selling your products. By purchasing your products, they reduce their freedom. Money = Freedom. Every time someone lets go of money, they let go of a degree of freedom that the money provides. The freedom to do things and buy things. Why would anyone let go of their freedom to do something or buy something that benefits you, not them? Ask people to do things that will benefit them, and you might get the answer you desire.
"There is no one in the world today, that responds without enthusiasm or even joy when they are presented with an opportunity to accomplish gain for themself."
You cannot lead, empower or influence others if your leadership does not benefit them. Every follower will ask, why should I follow you? Whether you are a follower of Jesus or not, it is clear that he is regarded as influential. With over 30% of the world population identifying themselves as Christian, he indeed has more followers than any other leader in the world today. The reason Christians have decided to follow Jesus is because of his love for them and the promises he has for them. Jesus said to his people that anyone that believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Christians believe that their leader has provided them with the benefit of immortality and, as a consequence, have decided to follow him. They prefer eternal pleasure (heaven) over eternal pain (hell). Nelson Mandela wanted to provide his followers with the benefit of freedom, democracy and the chance to vote. To have a say. To have the opportunity to speak and be heard. Steve Jobs was charismatic and a design-driven pioneer in the computer revolution. He provided many with benefits such as personal computers and smartphones to music and movies. He entertained, automated and improved the lives of millions of people. As a result, many viewed him as a leader and were influenced by him. In order to lead and empower, you must provide benefit.
Philipians 2:3 - Do nothing out of selfish ambition, but in humility consider others better than yourself.
In what areas of your life can you empower greater followership by delivering greater benefit? What can you do today to lift up others?
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