Recently I stood there stammering because it was a question I’d never heard and certainly wasn’t prepared to answer. Now, I don’t want to leave you with the impression that someone asked me about solving world hunger or achieving world peace—-it was much easier than that. It was simple and direct: “What can we do to help you get what you want?” Who? Me? As my palms began to sweat, I realized I’d never actually told an audience what I wanted or truly need.
The morning started out innocently enough. I was asked to speak at a women’s networking breakfast. Even though I speak to groups daily, I was rather excited about this one because a national speaker I deeply admire had addressed the group a month before. Plus, the leader of this women’s group had practically tackled me at a previous event to ask me to speak.
I was impressed when I got there. The women were very successful and ready to market. Each one stood up and gave a sixty-second commercial. Very cool! I can’t tell you how many times I speak to groups or individuals who have no idea how to boil their business/sales pitch into a few sentences.
Then they went around the table a second time, explaining what each needed to get from the group and how they could help each other. I’m not talking generalities; I’m talking specifics. I remember thinking: Brilliant! How many times we go to networking groups and we help others … but we never really express what we need.
Then I got up to speak for about twenty minutes about branding. If you don’t already know, branding is mainly your reputation and you must know your one-line brand in order to live it. For instance, mine is: “I teach people to reboot, upgrade and network to live a better life (Girlfriends 2.0) and make more money (Reinvention 2.0)”. Once you know what your brand is, it makes speeches, social media, networking, and everything so much easier.
At the end of my speech, I knew I had connected with the gals. We had a total synergy going. These business women were good at communicating their brand and networking to get what they want so I definitely felt we were all on the same page. So, as I wrapped up, it was time for questions. That’s when I was left speechless. The first question was the one that not only stumped me, but I also didn’t know how to answer.
What could I ask from these women? Buy the new pre-release version of my book, which I was selling after the speech? Well … duh! That was a given, right? Hmmmm … what did I really want? What makes me money? What was I not asking for that I truly needed. That’s when the answer came to me.
You don’t become rich from writing a book (with a few exceptions) but instead it’s the spin off business that pays the mortgage. That’s what I needed to ask from this group of power and connected women. Slowly, the words came out of my mouth. “I’d love for you to buy my book but even more importantly, I’m really looking for paid speaking events like seminars and national conferences.”
Whoa, I’d said it. There it was … out on the table like your great aunt’s fruitcake. Would they laugh? Turn up their noses? Refuse to buy my book? (I’d had nightmares like this but those usually ended with me realizing I’d forgotten my clothes or something silly like that. Vulnerable much?) But that’s where things turned interesting, no one laughed, gasped or looked at me as if I’d grown two heads. They suddenly began brainstorming on who they could hook me up with for success.
Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it. I think too many times we are too scared to ask for what we really need when we network. Of course, this doesn’t mean spouting off your needs like a water gun pistol to anyone who will listen. No … helping others get what they want will help you get what you want. (Thank you, Zig Ziglar for that bit of wisdom!) But you also need to take it a step further. That’s right … be prepared to say in words exactly what you want if you’re asked. Too often we become deer in the headlights and set our sights too low. Instead, If someone asks … tell them. Networking is king right now, and it’s not just about empowering others. Yes, you can get what you want so take advantage of it with confidence and a smile.