If you want to have more successful government meetings, don’t neglect the importance of “the ask.”
I talk about “the ask” in a lot of different ways in my books and writings. Some may have read or seen my concepts of muddling your message or the eight-minute ask. The idea is no other than what a salesperson might describe as “asking for the order.”
A big mistake rookie salespeople make is continuing to sell while in the buyer’s office and never actually stopping to ask for the order. They come back to their headquarters speaking of a great meeting. They had “happy ears” and completely missed that they failed in their primary task: to get the order.
How “the Ask” Leads to More Successful Government Meetings
In federal and congressional requests, “the ask” actually comes first. It answers right up front why you are there. It goes something like this:
“I’m here today to ask for your support to consider the ACME widget in the Dynamic Whizbang program. I’ll briefly connect the value of this solution to the identified need and requirement. I’ve brought along a (photo/one-page white paper/short video) to provide context.“
You then proceed with your, no more than, eight-minute pitch. I know a pitch sounds kitschy, but check out my book, Pitching the Big Top: How to Master the 3-Ring Circus of Federal Sales, for a fuller explanation of why it is a pitch.Don't blow your hard-earned meeting with a relevant decision-maker by muddling your message and forgetting about "the ask." Click To Tweet
“The ask” is a small, but critical piece of a highly orchestrated meeting that you control. If you don’t put “the ask” right up front, you lose precious minutes with your audience wondering where you are taking them. The military often refers to this as the Bottom Line Up Front or BLUF.
During my time in a Senate office receiving briefs from constituents with requests, it was astounding how many come in and forget about “the ask.” If there’s no “ask,” then you leave the audience with the feeling of “nice chat, wish them well.”
Don’t blow your hard-earned meeting with a relevant decision-maker by muddling your message and forgetting about “the ask.”
I’m pleased to announce the Make Your Move podcast, a multi-season series devoted to the lessons learned of military members in their post-active duty lives. I hope you enjoy the stories of the men and women brave enough to share their transition stories so publicly.