I know, it would be so much easier if people just gave us what we wanted without having to be asked. Clients would refer their colleagues, referral sources would introduce us to all of their clients, our significant others would anticipate our every need, and telemarketers would simply lose our phone numbers. Instead, we find ourselves in a world where we have to make our desires known and open ourselves up to the possibility of rejection.
But the truth is that we tend to exaggerate the risk. It's how we keep ourselves safe: fantasize to the negative extreme so we can justify doing nothing.
That's why we don't ask our clients for new business or for referrals and why we don't tell our dormant referral sources to reciprocate. We imagine that such communications will upset them. So instead, we tolerate whatever alternative mediocrity and console ourselves with the assumption that we avoided a negative situation.
To get past this, consider following these three steps:
Recognize that irrational fear is influencing your thinking. You don't actually know what your client or referral sources would do if you asked for what you wanted. The only way to find out is to actually ask. Anything else is an uninformed assumption.
Take courage. That doesn't mean you wait until your fear is gone. Courage is acting in the face of fear.
Keep it simple. Ask for something reasonable so that it's easy for the other party to say "yes."
Here's a real-time example:
I want you (my reader) to share my blog with your social media network. Rather than expect it of you, I'm asking.
Thanks in advance. Now go talk to your clients and referral sources.