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…
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.
Remember, every opportunity we have to help you, helps us. It all starts with a good ask.