Sometimes the best way for us to grow our business is the most obvious – and simple. At the same time, that simple action can be really difficult until we have a shift in perspective. If you’re wanting more customers or to increase your income, the solution could be as simple, or as difficult, as a shift in mindset.
The #1 Way To increase your income is: DARE TO ASK.
It goes beyond a mindless, unenthusiastic “asking for the sale” and presses more into a deliberate, intentional asking for what you want.
How We Get In The Way Of Ourselves
Have you ever had someone speak for you, whether you’re present or absent? They might assume they know your opinion, what you want or don’t want, or what decision you’ll make. Instead of asking you, they’ll make their own decisions based on your assumed response. That’s really annoying. We all want the option to make our own decisions. However, we all make decisions for others in one way or another; we’ll assume we know how a person will react or respond to any given situation. This is true personally or in business.
It’s easy to pinpoint obvious areas of assumption:
- Those customers checking out have seen everything and don’t want anything else so we avoid asking for an upsell at the conclusion of a sale.
- If people were interested in something they’d ask questions of us so the fear of being rejected kicks in and we don’t ask to book a home show, consultation, session, or extend an invite to visit our place of business.
- If people who tried our products or services wanted more they would contact us so we don’t follow up in a timely manner after giving out a free sample or free consultation.
[Suggested article: Finding Your Ideal Customer ]
Here’s a recent example from my personal life of a wrong assumption I made:
Several weeks ago I picked up my son from work and, as I often do, drove one of his co-workers home. The thought entered my mind to ask this young man to join us for church and lunch on Sunday. Instantly, I brushed the thought off and assumed he wouldn’t want to go. I reasoned I’d be putting him in an awkward position if I asked. However, something in me pushed past my hesitation and I blurted out, “If you’d ever want to join us for church and then lunch we’d love to have you.” Quickly, he responded that he’d really like to the next time he was off on a Sunday. I was completely surprised.
Two weeks later I was again waiting to pick up my son from work. Just as before, this young man needed a ride home. AGAIN, I reasoned he probably was being nice the first time and so I wasn’t going to reinvite him. However, to my surprise, as soon as he opened the car door, and before he was even seated, he stated he had Sunday off and could join us for church and lunch. (Well, okay then).
The following day this young man spent the entire day with our family. During that time I discovered that his mother abandoned him at a young age and his home life isn’t the best. I learned a humbling lesson to not assume what people want or need. What if I had given in to my thoughts that I knew he wouldn’t want to join us? I would’ve missed an opportunity to be a blessing to another person! Sometimes I forget how rich my life is in so many ways and that not everyone has what our family has. To be able to share that was so simple for us but impactful for him.
It made me realize that I miss out on many opportunities in life and business because I make assumptions out of a fear of “no” or the unknown.
How many times have we bypassed opportunities in life and business when we choose to not ask because of the fear of rejection or embarrassment?
INCREASE YOUR INCOME
For many years I was frustrated that I wasn’t making the income I thought I should. At the same time, I was also timid about asking for higher rates for my work. In my mind, I was telling myself I wasn’t worth a higher rate or not experienced enough. I’d complain at my lack of income but was too afraid to ask for more. Go figure.
(Truthfully, when you’re first starting out and you need to get people to trust you, you may have to price yourself below what you’re worth. But that should be short term. )
Not too long ago, I had an opportunity to present a quote for a project to a potential client. I wrestled with the amount to quote because I knew that what I wanted for my work was a financial stretch. After underselling myself for years, I took a chance and walked into the meeting with a very specific number for the project; willing to walk away (and not feel guilty) if it wasn’t going to work for them. It was a fair number for the services I’d be providing. Not at the top but not undercutting myself either. Personally, this was a big deal. In the past, I always assumed my potential clients couldn’t afford to pay me what I wanted/needed. So, I’d sheepishly lower my prices. (A pattern that I needed to break!)
This is a perfect example of making an assumption or decision for someone else.
Because I market to really small businesses and organizations, I always assume they can’t afford the rates I think are reasonable for my services. This time, though, I decided to let this potential client decide for themselves what they were willing to pay instead of assuming, for myself, what they could afford.
You know what? They agreed to my price (and even shared it was lower than they expected) and in the process, I gave myself a raise!
The bottom line is, it’s not anyone’s fault but our own if we are making less than we should or if we don’t have as many customers as we want.
Sometimes, instead of investing in fancy programs, advertising, reading another book or taking another course (which is all good), all we need to do is ask…and stop assuming people won’t want what we have to offer or are unwilling to pay the prices we want.
Even more importantly, by not asking, we are robbing other people of an opportunity to be blessed by something they want or need, and that we can provide.
- So what do you need to ask for or what assumptions have you been making about your products or prices?
- Do you assume you know what your clients can or can not afford?
- Do you think you’ll offend a customer if you ask if they want a necklace with their top or make a suggestion for a related service?
The point is…we all have something more to offer.
We don’t need increased advertising budgets to see an increase in our income. First, simply start with existing clients and customers and DARE TO ASK for higher rates – or if you can add a product or service to what you’re already providing.
ACTION STEP: Write down at least ONE way you can increase your income within your existing business model. Then, call some clients or customers and DARE TO ASK.