How to Get What You Want

Inspirational stories, good news & a focus on the positive

How to Get What You Want

The Best Way to Get What You Want

By Brad Aronson   |   Posted in: Communications, Selling
How To Get What You Want

Many years ago, I was in a meeting at Philadelphia City Hall. It was a meeting of the Mayor’s Business Action Team and some local entrepreneurs. The Mayor’s team wanted to help businesses grow and asked our advice. We talked about taxes, job creation and a range of big issues.

At the end of the meeting, I asked the Mayor’s team if they could help me out. Everyone paused to see what I would say, given no one else was asking for anything. I talked about the neighborhood where our business was located. We were a startup growing from cash flow, so our offices weren’t fancy. In fact, we were one block from high-rise housing projects. Occasionally we’d find abandoned cars completely stripped down outside our office – the cars were on cement blocks; not even the tires were left. Sometimes there were also strange people wandering around. It didn’t bother most of the 60+ employees we had at the time or me, but our clients and partners were often horrified. We had big companies like Microsoft, Yahoo and Google who were afraid to visit. Microsoft even had a policy that a sales visit to our office required two people.

I asked the Mayor’s team if they could help, and they said “yes.” They offered that anytime we were having important meetings, we could call and they’d send in tow trucks and the police to clean up the neighborhood. How awesome and surprising that a big city’s government would do this. And, it was a huge help for us.

Don’t be afraid to ask for something. You’ll never get what you want if you don’t ask for it.

What do you think? Any examples, you’d like to share?

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  • Ron Spring

    Brad – Great point. I have recently started a job and often find myself conflicted when it comes to asking for advice/assistance. On one hand, I do not want the people working for me to think that I do not know what I am doing; however, I also want to ensure that I understand and properly address the specific needs of the new community, which differs greatly than those of my previous job. So far, I have found that by reaching out for advice regarding the culture and climate at the job and in the community, I not only am able to make the best decision but also get buy-in and assistance in implementing the final decision from those who were brought into the process.

    • Brad Aronson

      Great point. Getting input, as long as you’re willing to listen and actually act on it, is a great way to get people to appreciate the ultimate solution. Clearly that’s what you’re doing. Thanks for the comment.

  • Ross Fetterolf

    Great post Brad – I never knew about the Microsoft rule. This brings back some great memories – glad to hear you are doing well and good luck with the blog!

    • Brad Aronson


  • Katy Friedland

    I am all about doing favors for others, but often feel uncomfortable asking for the same help that I regularly offer out. Funny that I love connecting people, but feel guilty asking others if I can use their connections- I wonder how many opportunities have missed by hesitating to ask!!!!! Perhaps tomorrow is when I should ask my boss for a raise =)

    • Brad Aronson

      When you help other people they naturally want to find an opportunity to help you in return. So, don’t hesitate if you have a reasonable request of someone you’ve helped. You’re providing them with an opportunity to be valuable and helpful. Thanks for the comment.

      • Russ

        There a great book by Dr. Robert Cialdini called “Yes: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive”. I believe he refers to what you’re talking about as the Rule of Reciprocity. When you do something nice for someone, they WANT to repay the favor. He suggests that when you do someone a favor and they thank you, rather than saying “it was nothing”, you say “I’m sure you would do the same for me” – basically setting them up to say “yes” to you the next time you need something. Interesting stuff.

        • Brad Aronson

          Hi Russ, That was a great book as was his other book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Important reads for anyone in sales. Thanks for the comment.

  • joe

    Good point. If you don’t ask, you don’t get . Mant of us don’t think of that.

  • Susie Krupnick

    The school behind our house wanted a playground installed. Many of the surrounding neighbors objected. I actually liked the idea, but always hated the eyesore of a rusty old fence that surrounded the school yard. After one of the many heated meetings between the neighbors and school officals, where the neighbors were basically told that the playground was going ahead with or without their approval, I followed one of the school officials outside and pointed to the old rusty fence and said, “in a gesture of good faith to the neighborhood, would replace the old fence with a new one when you build the playground?” The school official said that had never been brought up in conversation, but she would mention it at their next meeting. The upshot is……we have a beautiful new fence and a great playground!

    • Brad Aronson

      Thanks for the example.

  • Betsy Krupnick Ramage

    I often find that people are afraid to speak up and ask for what they want in business and in life. My father always said that “you miss 100% of the shots you never take”. I have really tried to live my life by those words and it has come in handy since I am the development coordinator at a nonprofit! If your requests are logical, reasonable and expressed in pleasing manner, 9 times out of 10 they are granted. Where people go wrong is the way in which they express the request or the outlandish demands that they might put on the request. I am constantly amazed at the hesitation or reasoning behind why most people feel bashful about asking for what they want. Over the years I have given it a lot of thought and I think that people, especially people not at the top of the power food chain, don’t feel as if they have the right to make requests. I truly believe that no matter where you fall in the power food chain it can never hurt to ask for what you want. You might just get lucky and get it!

    • Brad Aronson

      Great advice. From you and your dad (my uncle)! Thanks for commenting.

  • Farrah Kennedy

    LOL… what a great story!! I’ve been surprised by people’s willingness to say yes many times… and all it took was me asking. Recently I ended up sharing a taxi with an attorney who is also in franchising. He’s from a big well known and respected law firm and well, let’s just say my company is a little less than that. I asked him if he would learn more about my company and refer us when appropriate. He said no problem and we hooked up on linked in and made it happen. There was nothing in it for him, except one person helping another… pay it forward…

    • Brad Aronson

      I think people generally want to be helpful, which is why it’s worthwhile to ask. And, as you say, be sure to pay it forward. Thanks for the post.

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