Many people are uncomfortable asking for what they want. Highly successful entrepreneurs have to not only be good at asking for what they want, but at negotiating in general. So why do 31% of women say they are uncomfortable negotiating their salary? One of the many issues with asking is not knowing exactly what it is you want. The first thing you need to do is narrow down those aspects. Do you want a promotion? Do you want to change the prices on a product you sell? Do you need help from a mutual friend to grow your business? It’s also important to check in with yourself: Does the way I am asking align with my core values? Once you’ve established clarity, it’s a lot easier to ask for it.
Below I’ve outlined some key ways to get started!
Stop Diminishing Your Self-Value
What are your internal narratives about yourself? Women are often meant to feel like we are taking too much space: We need to be smaller, quieter and behind the scenes. Forget this notion. You should be as vocal as you like. Your opinions are important and your voice has value.
When you’re talking about yourself and your business, be careful with the language you use. Instead of saying, “I have a ‘little’ consulting company,” build up your business. Maybe it’s new, but new doesn’t make it “little”. You have a lot of value to add to that clients’ life, and your business deserves that push.
Focus on Communal Representation
Another way to ask for and get what you want is is to focus on the other party. You are there to tailor your business to their needs. If your business is new, you may not have a lot of prior experience to focus on when pitching, but if you can turn the focus to them, they will value your attention and effort.
If you’re less inclined to ask for something because you’re worried about reputation or we’ve all been there; “Shooting yourself in the foot,” be collaborative in your ask. If we are natural born nurturers, then we are likely to focus on the mutual benefit of an exchange or action. Therefore, reversing the roles and telling a potential client or employer how you can benefit them will not only get you the compensation you need but will build a better relationship with that person leading to more AND better business.
Embrace Your Natural Style
If you’re not a great salesman, don’t try to emulate exactly what say a Lori Greiner would do. Embrace your best qualities. Many people get stuck because it is impossible to be someone else. Repeat that out loud: It is impossible to be someone else!
What are you good at? Take those things and use them to improve on the aspects of business you aren’t as well versed on. For example, if you’re like myself and you get nervous when speaking about important subjects, write down all of the points you’d like to make and practice them. These could be reasons you deserve a raise or services you can offer.
If you are good at pitching but you’re not good at meeting a client or a boss halfway, try brainstorming and researching what the other person likes and what their style might be. Ask them questions! It’s a great way to engage with and learn from your counter-party at the same time.
Lastly, stop worrying about the outcome. If you don’t ask, you will not receive!