We have covered a lot of ground regarding your network (see Related Links below). Now we need to put the power of your network into action. Ask. Asking seems simple, and it is, but not if you get preoccupied with concerns about your image. Do you find your mind filling with these questions: What will the other person think if I ask? How will they view me? Will I owe them one? Will they wonder what else I don’t know? The mind doesn’t like a void, so it begins to assemble a dialogue to fill the void, and the narrative that it uses comes from past experiences or from imagined past experiences. As a result, the narrative is often driven by strong emotions–positive ones at times, but most often by negative ones like fear and embarrassment.
Most often the reason you don’t ask has nothing to do with the other person; it has to do with you.
Ask for Others
If you have trouble asking for yourself, ask for others first. Ask a colleague or network connection if you can introduce them to somebody in your network that may be of assistance to them: a CPA, attorney, plumber, car mechanic, hair stylist, lawn service. It really doesn’t matter who or what. What really matters is the ASK!
Ask for Yourself
You have people in your network with whom you want to do business. Ask them. Pick up the phone and ask them. Or plant the seed at a networking event then make the call.
Are you looking for a particular service: a CPA, attorney, plumber, car mechanic, hair stylist, lawn service? Pick up the phone and call somebody and ask for their input. Ask five people for their input. You just might be surprised what can happen.
Ask Authentically & Follow Up
Be authentic. Don’t ask for a car mechanic if you don’t need one. If a referral is provided and you use the service, provide some follow up with your source. Be careful on this one. Negative feedback must be used sparingly, otherwise you’ll come across as ungrateful and perhaps unworthy of future assistance. If the feedback is positive, however, be sure to convey that.
If you have provided a referral to somebody, call them back and get their feedback. Let them know that you’re open to negative feedback if, in fact, you are.
Begin today. Ask.