It’s Not About the Rolex – Ask for It
A client called me late yesterday as I was leaving the office for the day. I saw the California number on the screen and I knew my business day still had three hours left given the time change from Indiana to the West Coast.
The friendly voice started the conversation like this: “I didn’t know you were from New York.” Not surprisingly, I knew exactly what he was talking about. He knows I am not from New York, but I actually did something to him that resembled what he thought identified my actions as that of a New Yorker.
I’m like the first time you ever drank beer. You wonder how in the world someone ever drank it a second time. Then you taste an ice-cold Coors Light in a bottle, and you begin to get it … not so bad.
Well, that is, Coors Light in a bottle at the bottom of the slopes in Steamboat Springs. That is where it tastes the best. Aggressive people can really tick you off if you misunderstand their motives.
I recall receiving a phone call from a well-respected financial lender that I had built a relationship with. In that conversation, I was accused of “shopping” his rate on a big project.
It always bothered me that I was accused of something that I did not do and that this prominent businessman had those wrong feelings about me.
It was years later that I received a phone call out of the blue from him. He said, “I was calling to tell you that I think I was wrong.” He continued, “I was going through some old Parking Today magazines and just read a Marketing Minute you wrote some time ago. The person who wrote that piece could not be the same person I mistakenly thought you were.”
The guy who called me as I was leaving the office the other day was shocked that I had asked him for an introduction to one of his competitors. Knowing that on this particular project, his current company wouldn’t be competing, and also knowing that he wants me to be successful, I simply asked for unconventional help.
He was blown away by the direct, New York style request and it sparked him to consider going after the project himself. He felt my boldness in asking for help ignited his interest in boldly going after the project and trying to change the status quo.
I have taught my boys this lesson for years: If it’s coming up on a Friday night and you get to choose between doing nothing, hanging out with your buddies again, OR, you fancy a girl to ask out … ASK HER ON A DATE. If she says no, you still have two options.
If she says yes, you get your first choice. If you NEVER ASK HER OUT, you never get your first choice. So it is in life.
Many years ago, at a huge sales conference for the company I worked for 24 years, the presenter had a fake Rolex watch on his wrist. As he worked the room, he flashed that gold Rolex in our eyes.
For those who are young, believe it or not, people would buy fake Rolex watches back in the late 80s. Anyway, the instructor went on to hold his arm up in the air and say, “There are many ways that one could end up with this watch, let’s discuss the options.”
Immediately, I raised my hand and he called on me. I said, “May I have your watch?” He immediately walked down the aisle, removed the watch from his wrist and tossed it to me. He said, “That is one of the ways!”
ASK FOR IT!
It is that simple, the first option always is to ask for it.
It reminds me of another story where I had given a contractor a bid on a school project.
He was not returning my repeated calls, so I jumped into my car and drove 1.5 hours to his office and surprised him with a face-to-face visit. Recognizing my investment of a 3-hour round trip, he agreed to meet with me. The second I sat in front of him in his office, I wasted no time. He knew why I was there. I said, “May I have the order on the school project?” After what seemed like an hour, me not saying a word, just staring him directly in the eyes, he said, “Yes!”
In that moment and in the moment with the Rolex, and in the moment the other day, I knew that the most compelling communication tool you have is to simply ASK FOR IT.
It was never about the Rolex, it was about three words … ASK FOR IT.