Why you need to ask for what you need

Updated to Habits, Life on January 23, 2023.

Do you ask for what you need? I mean really ask – even when it’s uncomfortable. I’m discovering a whole new world of results (and honesty), just by asking.

It’s a funny thing, asking. On one hand it’s so simple and obvious: if I need help I should ask for it. Right? 

But, do you?

There’s a certain pride that goes along with knowing. In our information age, the person that knows things is more valued. In a massive study of leaders and co-workers, Marshall Goldsmith and Howard Morgan found that leaders who ask, listen, learn, and follow up are consistently more effective. Leaders who don’t ask don’t get much better. 


For the last month I have been wearing my selling hat. Our new SOS (Social Outlook Solutions) social media marketing program is open for business and it’s been selling like hot cakes. It’s the perfect solution for a busy person who wants to use their great content (like a blog or videos) to drive more traffic to their site.

After fumbling my way through a few early sales calls (people book a time to learn about the program), I got smart. I decided if I was going to be doing dozens of these calls I should have a template. 

And because the call was going to end up being about the sale, why not start by asking for it? 

It now sounds something like this: “First I’ll ask you about your business and your goals. Then I’ll tell you about SOS and how it works. And finally, we’ll see if SOS is a fit for you. How does that sound?” Everyone says “Yes”.

Done. Now they know what’s coming and I can relax and do my job. Considering we are closing 80% of the time, I think it’s working!


There’s lots of situations where asking for what you need it a good idea. Here are some:

  • rebook a meeting. Your kids just called and need to be picked up. What’s more important: the 3:30 client appointment or proving family comes first? Your client will understand – ask.
  • get a discount. You want the new car, shoes, or flat screen TV. If you think there’s a good reason you should pay less, ask for it. When I’m traveling on my tab (I’ll even do this when my clients are footing the bill) I ask for a break on the standard hotel room rate.  It’s rare I don’t get a reduced rate, or, at the very least, an upgrade.
  • enjoy time alone. Wishing other people guess what you need will make you frustrated and them confused. If you need time to focus, make calls, plan, complete a project, whatever, ask for it. You might be surprised how generous and accommodating people can be. Read “You have what you need” to learn how I make changes in my life).
  • have time together. Are conversations at home are mostly about the dog, house, kids, and who didn’t change the toilet paper roll? Ask for time with your honey (hell, ask for sex too, if that box hasn’t been checked in a while). The last two months have been unusually busy with both daughters working at new jobs and home renovations (and all the decisions that come with that). So, twice Kirsten and I escaped for a dinner out at our local sushi place. The 15 minute walk there, finally having time to just talk, might have been the best part of the evening.
  • get help. Pride is one value – honesty is better. If your To-Do list is too long, and you feel pressured, ask for help. Even if you don’t get an immediate solution, people who care about you now know what you need. See 4 secrets to conquering your fear and winning any conversation”)

This week I asked a very special person to stay in my life (that saga might have to be a separate blog post). The results could have easily gone either way. And all I could do was ask for what I need. I did and they said “Yes”.

You deserve what you need. Now, take a deep breath, pull up your big girl pants and go ask for it.

What are YOU going to ask for? I want to know. Fill in the comment below (I’ll write back).