Ask for Business… Language that Works

You know that business development is important to the long-term health of your practice or business.  You diligently work at building visibility and credibility.  You tirelessly take care of your referral sources and client needs.  All this is great!  But there is something missing…   The ask.  Yes– the simple-sounding step of asking for work from someone. It seems straight-forward, but many times “the ask” is the most difficult piece to execute upon. Following are some scenarios and the words you can try on for size:

After an initial meeting or pitch:

  • ‘After talking with you, we would love to help you with this matter/project/issue. What do you think the next steps are?’
  • ‘I know there is a good solution for your matter/project/issue. What kind of budget is reasonable and what is your timing for moving forward?’
  • ‘I am sure you want to think this through carefully.  What other information can I give you today so that we may have the chance to work together on this matter/project/issue?’

With an existing client:

  • ‘You mentioned this matter/project/issue is timely for you.  Would it be helpful for me to get you some thoughts for tomorrow?’
  • ‘Now that we both have a better feel for this situation, perhaps I can help get you started right away.’
  • ‘It is important that you trust the person you choose to work on this matter/project/issue.  Since we have been a successful team in the past, I know we will get you through this one too.  When should we schedule our next step?’

Remember, your job is to help people solve problems. After identifying an issue, asking for the chance to solve the problem is the next natural step. This is ‘the ask’ piece of business development.  General tips… Remain calm. Be open minded.  And be willing to receive a little rejection every now and then. If you are prepared for the conversation, analyze the body language/chemistry between you, and practice using some comfortable language, there is little to lose by asking for the work. Honestly, what is the worst that can happen? Maybe they will say no or put the decision off to a later date. Neither is the end of the world. It just means that you either aren’t giving them what they need, or they aren’t ready to act. Both are easily remedied with time, persistence and honest relationship development.