Ask and you shall receive – AUDIO NSFW
Ask and you shall receive. Ask and you shall receive. I’m sure many of you guys out there have heard this quote in different contexts. I’m here to tell you that it’s probably more true than not, at least from my experience.
Asking is such a powerful, powerful idea. When I was writing some notes down about this, a quote came to mind from my father. My father had said this many, many times throughout my younger years of growing up. I’m telling you, it certainly is true. My father said to us as we were young kids, he would always say “Asking is always free. Asking is always free.”
I’ll never forget this. I think this is one of the many quotes that my father has instilled in us, at least for me, and I don’t know about my other siblings, but at least for me, it was one of those quotes that really, really stuck. I found this idea, this idea of asking to be such a powerful, powerful thing. It really is. I would go as far as to say not that I know the mind of my father, but I would go as far as to say that my father truly understood the value of asking having started at a company literally counting nails on a conveyor belt to moving all the way up the chain over many, many, many, years, 30-plus years to be quite frank.
My father knew the secret of asking. He really did. He knew the secrets of asking. There was a humility. This is something I wrote down here. There’s a humility in asking. My father is absolutely one of the best examples of humility in life. I mean he exuded this. He would always ask. He never was afraid of engaging with an individual. I think my father knew that with this humility of taking every opportunity to ask, merely ask, because remember, asking is always free.
Depending on the context, it gives the receiver the opportunity to see two particular things. Number one, they can see that maybe you have enough humility because you need help. You’re asking. You need help you need someone to help you out. A different context would be they could see that you’re assertive, that you’re not some wet blanket, some wet noodle, that you’re assertive in asking for what you want, asking for opportunities.
What is so great about the asking idea is you can ask anyone anything anytime in this world. I think this is really powerful. That by asking you involve the other individual in a mutually beneficial transaction or relationship. I know this might sound a little deep here, but it I think it’s essentially true. That whenever you ask someone else, you engage with them beyond the transaction. You engage with them beyond just the handing over of money. You engage with them more than just the simple things that you’re supposed to do in that in that conversation.
It is involving them in something deeper, especially if you’re asking for help. Depending on the context of the conversation, if you’re asking them for help, then it gives them an opportunity to respond. They can say, well, you know I can’t help you here or maybe I can or if maybe there’s someone else that can help you.
Now, whenever someone says maybe they can’t help you, one of the next questions you should ask is hey, is there someone that can. This is really, really, really powerful. Again, depending on the context, by asking merely a question to the receiver, you’re involving them in a mutually beneficial transaction or relationship.
Now, I’m gonna give you a simple example. I hope it helps you guys out in life. I’m always asking when it comes to the simple transaction of life. I’ll give you an example. Whenever I go to a coffee shop, one of the things that I always asked for is a grande in a venti cup. Now, for those that are a little bit knowledgeable and experienced in the coffee world, you know that the real difference between a grande and a venti is just the amount of milk they put in there. What’s great every time I ask this, guys, please try using this, it always works—every time I ask for a grande in a venti cup, I end up paying for a grande and I get way more milk.
If they don’t give me a lot of milk, then I’ll just go over to the little bar and fill it up with milk, fill it up with whole milk, fill it up with it half-and-half, fill it up with every whatever I want. This is one of those opportunities that it’s beneficial for you, you win by merely asking, you pay less for something that you get more of and it’s simple.
Sometimes, during this very simple transaction, I get a smile from the receiver because they know what I’m doing they know what I’m up to, they know the game, they know I’m busting the hey I want to pay for this, but I want to get a little bit more. Sometimes, just sometimes, it makes their day. It does! And sometimes, it sparks up a conversation.
I can even remember a conversation at Starbucks where I asked for a grande in a venti cup and I remember the sales associate on the other end going, oh really, man? Is that what you’re doing? And he cracked a smile and I was like look, hey, can you give me a grande in a venti cup? And the guy was like yeah, we can do that. It was just one of those moments. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s a simple transaction. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m just getting a little bit more milk in my cup, but it was a moment for him to just crack out of the norm, crack out of the normal processes of transacting and having these customers come by, in a line, and pay.
It gives him an opportunity for some human conversation, some human interaction, and maybe I’m thinking too much and maybe I’m going too far here, but I would go as far as to say that I bet I just made that moment in his life just a little bit better because what could have been simply and merely a transaction became an opportunity for conversation and a conversation of a little bit of brevity, lifting it up, cracking a smile, having a moment.
You see, you guys know I’m all about good juju. I love spreading good juju. I love spreading positive thinking. I love spreading positive thoughts. I love blessing other people as much as I can wherever I go. So these are opportunities for me asking questions to merely just step in just a little bit into the life and hopefully make it a little bit better. But when it comes to a different context, like say, that you’re on the other end of the sales side, depending on the context, asking questions can involve the other individual in a mutually beneficial transaction or relationship.
For me, this is how I succeeded and there’s many reasons why I succeeded as a consultant, but this I’m telling you guys, was a powerful, powerful thing that I took from my father. Asking for more, asking to open up doors, asking for opportunities—I did this as a consultant all the time, especially whenever I got into selling my services as a consultant, as a product development consultant, as an agile engineering consultant to clients.
I always asked no matter what the meeting. I’ll give you an example. Let’s just say we’re having a great conversation. They’ve heard some things about me. They’ve read maybe their CIO, their CTO, or their CEO read one of my books and said, hey this guy, Peter, he knows what he’s talking about. Let’s have a first conversation with him and see whether we could use his services with our development team and help us build our products and services faster.
So during this introduction call, there was always you know one two or three executives or leaders or managers or directors on the call and I’m on the other end. One of the questions I always brought up—and this is really powerful especially if you’re a consultant out there or you’re in any type of role of selling—is that always ask at the beginning of the conversation, hey, who else needs to be here? Who else needs to be part of this conversation? What that did for me, obviously, as you could probably imagine, it had them pause. Maybe there was someone else who needed to be part of this conversation. Maybe there was someone else that could benefit from this conversation.
Another question that I ask a lot as a consultant is who should I speak to next? Who should I speak to next? We might have just had a great conversation talking about how I can help them with their development, how I can help with their organizational design, how I can help them with optimizing their processes and these types of things, but at the end of it, I always made sure to ask. Hey, who should I speak to next? Who should I engage with next? Who could benefit from the conversations that we had today so that we can help you as the client expand the value that you’re spending on me out to even more people?
You see, asking these types of questions when it pertains to the context of relationships are so powerful. You see, work just doesn’t get done. Let me be fundamentally clear here guys. When it comes to work, it just doesn’t get done without other people. People love being involved especially when it comes to improving things, especially when it comes to helping out, especially when there’s some sort of mutually beneficial transaction or opportunity that we have invited them into merely by asking the question.
One of the things that I loved about being a consultant after I had connected with a new person our new individual is I would generally begin these types of conversations with hey, during my conversation with you know X CTO and Y CIO, I asked them who should I speak to next and guess what? Your name come came up and that’s why we’re having this conversation now. How can I help you?
Asking is always free. Please don’t forget this. It’s always free in every situation. Obviously, the most negative outcome if you want to look at it from a positive and negative standpoint, obviously, that the most negative outcome is they could say no. So what? Who cares? As you get better at asking great questions like who needs to be here? Who do I need to talk to next? Who else should be part of this conversation? Who else needs to hear this message? How else can I help? Is there anything else that I can do?
When you ask these types of questions, they open up doors that you never imagined were there. Remember work just doesn’t get done. It gets done with a multiplicity of people, multiple people working together especially when you’re working in an enterprise or any type of enterprise. You have to work with other people and you want to ask questions to involve them. It opens up opportunities for you that you never knew were there. It opens up doors. It opens up opportunities. It opens up conversation for you to delve deeper in, especially if you’re a consultant, to provide more value and more help.
Now, certainly I can take this even farther, this idea of asking, but asking is a great way of understanding the needs of other people, understanding the needs of your clients, understanding the needs of your users, understanding the needs of your community, understanding the needs of your people. Asking questions allows you to understand more deeply how you can provide value to them and speak into their lives so that you can build up a relationship and have mutually beneficial transactions, mutually beneficial wins on all sides.
Sometimes, I merely use questions to continue the conversation so that I can understand more. Let’s be honest, in some ways, it’s not only a great way to eat up time, but it’s a great way to dig deeper to make sure that you have a firm grasp. Hey, do I understand this right? From what I hear, you’re saying I’m hearing X, Y, and Z. Is correct? These types of questions will avail you so much more information so that you can make informed decisions on how to benefit from that transaction or relationship.
I’ll tell you an example of where I asked recently and I wrote this down. It made me chuckle. It made me chuckle. You see my son is has been getting into go-karting. We got him a brand new junior kart with a two-stroke engine. Over the first two days of coaching, he had already maxed out, maxed out the top speed of that two-stroke engine on that junior kart. It was fundamentally clear. The coach came up to us after day one. He said, man, he’s ready. Man, he’s a natural. I mean you know, this is a proud Appa moment, a proud moment for me as a dad to be able to say oh, yeah, he got it from his dad.
But the real reality is he’s been into cars ever since day one. We got him into driving electric, you know, little sit-along cars at age two. So he’s been driving. He’s known how to do this for a long time. He had already maxed out the total power and the max speed of this two-stroke engine and he already utilized all the capabilities of this junior kart by day two, coaching day two.
So what did I do? I’m smart enough to know that there’s opportunities to move up and clearly the coach wants to move up and this means that we need to buy him a four-stroke engine, an LO206 engine. We need to buy him a cadet cart. We need to move him up to the next level because he’s already maxed out. I’ve already spent a significant amount of money on this brand new two-stroke and this brand new junior kart. I don’t want to be buying another one. I merely asked the question. It was this simple. I said, hey, I know that we just put a couple hours on the engine. We’ve put a couple hours obviously on the chassis, but man, I would hate to have to buy a new one and then put this one on the secondary market. Would it be possible to upgrade to the next cadet kart, with the next four-stroke engine, that you as a coach know that he needs, is it okay that we move up to the next one and would it be possible to get credit for the two days of use of the previous chassis and the two-stroke engine?
Guess what happened, guys? They said yes. They gave us the full value of the junior kart, a used value of the engine because the engine is a little bit different than the chassis I suppose and they gave us credit so that we could not have to spend all this brand new money on new kart, but they gave us credit from the previous junior kart so that we could purchase the cadet kart and move up to the next level so that my son could get to the next level of his karting career or karting fun.
Guys, this saved me over $3,000 for merely asking the question. I was kind of really excited about this and really feeling triumphant over saving this $3,000 plus on this upgraded cart. I was talking with my wife and I said, hey, you know this there’s so many people that would not have asked that question. They would looked at the coach, kind of gone internal in their mind and they’re like dadgum it now, I gotta upgrade to this new car. What am I gonna do with this old car? I got to put it on a secondary market.
If you don’t have this idea that asking is always free, that asking is always free, then you’ll never know if you could get something that’s beneficial to you. You could win today. It feels good to get your way. It feels good to ask and receive. Let’s be honest here, the coach on the other end of this was happy to supply us with such a great opportunity because it means for him that he gets to keep coaching us. It means for him that he keeps an established relationship with us. We feel good about the next progression of my son’s karting career. He feels good he’s gonna continue to be able to coach my son. There’s no bad juju. Everybody wins.
Now, obviously, we can go back to the organizational part of this and have maybe some director or some man saying what did you do? You gave them credit for a two-day use cart? That’s on them. That’s on them to decide whether the relationship with me is worth the $3,000. Hell, they could come back to me tomorrow or come back to me the next day and be like, you know what, we gave it another thought and we don’t want to give you $3,000 credit plus for this. We want you to pay the whole price.
Now, would I be salty? I’ll be a little salty. Is that within their means? Are they allowed to do that? Completely! But they know and I know it would put a little bit of a shade on what we’re doing here. We don’t want to do that. We want to mutually win for everyone’s benefit.
Asking is always free. Asking is always free. I would ask you today and as you move forward in life, continue to keep that on your mind. Where can you ask for more? Where can you ask for more help? Where can you ask for something? Where can you just merely practice? I think this is a good discipline to be honest. Where can you practice the discipline of asking in humility so that everyone can win?
Guys, my father knew the secrets of asking. He knew that it was putting yourself in a position of humility. It was putting in your position where you are asking for them to respond, to help, or to see that you are assertive. That my father knew that involving the other individual merely through the context of asking allows for relationships to be built so that everyone can win. My question to you today guys is where are you going to ask? Let us know in the comments.
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