Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of examples of the power of asking for something. My girlfriend’s father loves the quote, “The answer is always no unless you ask.” I can admit that I’m very introverted when it comes to this topic. For whatever reason, I don’t like to ask people I don’t know questions, and I frequently assume the answer will be no, and I know I’m not alone in this. I would even go as far to say that most people hold themselves back by assuming the answer will be no. This is such a huge mistake! There is a lot of power in asking people for something. I think this is true because the majority of people won’t ask. If 100 people want something, but only 10 ask for it, the 10 that asked will receive whatever they wanted before the other 90.
I was recently reading a blog post (which I can no longer find) where the woman swears she gets discounts just by asking for them. What a neat thought. I would have never had the guts to just ask for a discount. I would just assume that if they wanted to give a discount they would have already attached a huge 10% off sticker to the item. I never ask about special discounts so I never receive them. There was another guy I saw on TV that tries to completely avoid spending money. Instead of using cash, he tries to barter with companies. Now I can’t see myself doing this very often, but he has great success with it! He’ll write you a poem for a doughnut, or pick up trash for a meal. Most of us won’t go out and do these things, but if companies are willing to trade a song and dance for their product I guarantee they’ll give a small discount.
Why don’t most people (myself included) like to ask for things? I think it’s because it makes us uncomfortable. I personally feel dumb when I ask for something and the person tells me NO. We as a society don’t like to be told NO so we avoid it all together. Depending on the situation, there are different techniques you can try to change a NO into a YES:
1) The Power of Reciprocation- Do you get something for free? Give it away as a gift in the hopes that it will benefit you in the long run. When I worked in a restaurant, I would have definitely given a customer free drinks or an appetizer if they gave me a gift. The urge to reciprocate is very commanding.
2) Talk Yourself Up- Companies are constantly giving influential people free things to help market their business. If you can persuade these people that you can help them they will most likely want to make you happy. I’m not saying go out and lie to people or scam them. All I’m saying is that if you’re at a book store, and you want a discount, you might be able to mention that it’s your turn to pick the book for your book club. You have 25 other people that would buy that book, but your book club rules state you can only spend $15 on a book and the one you want is $20. It’s worth a shot!
3) Don’t Ask for Too Much- Asking for a 10% discount might not be a big deal, but demanding 50% off is pushing it. If you asked your boss for a raise you would probably have more success asking for a $1/hr instead of $10/hr. Just keep it reasonable.
4) Give a Valid Explanation- Most people like to deal with reason. If something makes sense it’s hard to say no. If you want to purchase something that is a little damaged ask for a discount. I love the items that have exterior damage but work perfectly. They are always worth asking about.
It’s time for me to get over my fear of the word NO. Please share any successes/failures you’ve had by asking a simple question. I think that hearing examples of how you saved money would help me with my fear.
April 13, 2012 at 1:29 PM
Hi Chris, I think the post that you’re referring to could be Frugal Shopping – Three Rarely Used Shopping Tips that are Overlooked Daily.
But the reason I stopped by was to let you know that this is a great post. I love your second and third points.
And you’re right a good explanation goes a long way. This is the one that people often forget about because in our mind when we go to a store we’re dealing with a business.
However, the reality is that you’re dealing with a person and as people we all crave “knowing why” because that helps make it easier for us to justify our decisions.
As always what an exceptional post!
April 13, 2012 at 1:38 PM
It’s so true, Just Ask. I’m not a shy bloke so I ask all the time about discounts, upcoming events you name it. I have gotten discounts just for being friendly and using the customer service agents name. People like to be treated like what they have to offer even if it is the next best pair of jeans is that they are professionals, and worth your time. People respond best when you talk to them and are genuinely interested… The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. I’m going to share this with my Facebook Fans, they will learn alot from your post!
Canadian Performer's Money
April 13, 2012 at 2:32 PM
Great post Chris.
I wrote about how I saved $300 on my cel bill just by asking. Read the details here…
April 13, 2012 at 5:48 PM
I always ask for a military discount. Some times even if the store doesn’t have a “military” discount they will hook me up with the senior or student discount. Or simply take a little off.
April 13, 2012 at 7:00 PM
maybe you use the power of asking by asking me about how i earn money every time i pay my bills? 🙂 contact me on this page: http://smartspending5.wordpress.com/get-started-today/
I hope i can help!
April 13, 2012 at 9:48 PM
AGREED…. I went to a clothing store to buy a hat… i asked if I can get a discount and poof I got a discount off since it was a discontinued item
April 14, 2012 at 9:49 AM
I would have never thought that would have worked, but I keep hearing more and more stories with a good outcome.
April 14, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Hi Chris, I agree with your point that We as a society don’t like to be told NO so we avoid it all together. Your points – particularly pt.# 1 & 3 – are worth noting for practice. A very nice post indeed!
April 14, 2012 at 10:11 AM
Great post. I like you am too embarrassed to ask in case they say no. However, this quote is going to become my new mantra. The answer is always no unless you ask. i love it. My recent post about our mortgage renewal helped me learn what asking for something can lead to. If you’ve got time to read about it..http://myjampackedlife.com/2012/04/13/my-first-pf-post-my-mortgage-renewal-story/
April 16, 2012 at 6:17 AM
So I am a bit of a shy introvert and have a hard time speaking to people, whether in person or on the phone. My husband, however, does not care. Generally, I am responsible for thinking up these things and he is responsible for putting them in action. For example:
-I will ask him to call whenever they raise the rate on our internet and ask for a lower price or we’ll cancel.
-When looking for furniture, I asked him to ask the store if they would give us a discount for paying it off right away. They said, “12%” which, when you are looking at an item priced over $3,000, you’ll take any savings you can get.
That being said, it won’t work everywhere but when you can do it, why not?
April 18, 2012 at 7:45 AM
You’re lucky your husband will step up and ask for you! My girlfriend will just hound me until I get the courage to do it (in a loving way 🙂 ). Thanks for the comment!
April 16, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Always ask for a discount! I usually hit with either Military or my Triple A. !
April 25, 2012 at 10:48 AM
It’s amazing what a military ID can get you! I’ve seen my friend get out of a speeding ticket from in the middle of no where, Nevada.
April 22, 2012 at 2:03 PM
I went for new eye exam and was told I needed new glasses. While I was trying on a few pairs, the ones that fit me were, of course, the most expensive ones. I tried on a nice pair of Prada glasses and saw the price; 200 and some dollars. Ouch. And while I was thinking to myself, I thought of this post of yours and wanted to try it out.
“Is there any way I could get a discount on these?” I asked. “Well, I could give you 30% off on your prescription lenses.” She answered. And just like that, I got 30% off my prescription, which is also expensive. On top of that, there was already a promo going on where I got a nice pair of sunglasses. So not only did I get the promo, but I got the discount, too!
Thanks for this post! Seriously going to make use of it whenever I can, now!
April 25, 2012 at 10:55 AM
That’s awesome! I’m glad it worked for you. Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. Things have been kinda crazy with finals, Are those the glasses in your picture?
April 25, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Nope! Those are my old, cheap pair. I got the discount on a pair of Prada! Crazy!
Good luck during your finals!