The Power of “The Ask”

We’ve all heard it and inherently know it: The first rule of sales is to… (drum roll please)… ask for the business!

For many speakers, the “Ask” comes into play when we are on the phone with a prospective client in the form of “Would my topic “XYZ” be a good fit for your audience?” However, there is another great opportunity for the “Ask” that I learned many moons ago from speaking legend Thomas Winninger. I’ve tweaked it slightly and call it the “Help Me” portion of your presentation. Here’s how it works.

[Tweet “Get more sales in your #Speaking #Business with this one simple strategy!”]

Three-quarters of the way into your presentation, right before your closing story (you do have a closing story, don’t you?) you would say the following words.

“As you can see, I am passionate about “XYZ” topic. If you know of any organization who could benefit from this material, please come and hand me your business card after the program.” 

That is it. Just two simple, but highly effective, lines. Here is why it works:

  1. People want to help you, but they do not know how they might do so. You are leading the horse directly to the water.
  1. Your audience wants an excuse to come and talk to you, and now they have one.
  1. You are asking for the business, which is Sales 101.

Next comes the real work – the Follow-up. Make sure you follow-up immediately with everyone that came to talk to you and handed you their business card. Write down the pertinent details of each conversation you have on the back of the card so you can make your responses more specific and personal. This can go a long way in developing new relationships.

While not every conversation or lead you get from this method will become a new opportunity, I can almost guarantee that if done correctly, you will see new business. And if you can get two to three solid spin-off opportunities from your presentations (or at least most of them), you’ve just made your job of marketing 1000 times easier.

So, what do you say Wealthy Speakers? Are you ready to put the power of “The Ask” to work? Don’t be shy… go and ask for the business!

See you soon, Wealthy Speakers!

Jane Atkinson



  • Martin Parnell

    Hi Jane,
    An update on “The Ask”. As discussed last Wednesday I included “The Ask” in my keynote on Friday at the Rotary 5360 District Conference in Canmore. I was a bit nervous slotting it in but it seemed to be fine. After the keynote three individuals came up and referred to “The Ask”. One of them wanted to have coffee and discuss possibilities, another was from Rotary District 5370 (Edmonton) and wants to book me for their 2018 conference and the third person is on the board of the North American Youth Exchange Network (NAYEN). Their 2017 Conference is in Calgary and he wants me to keynote.
    The power of “The Ask”.
    Thanks so much,

    • speakerlauncher

      I’m glad that it worked out well for you Martin. And also is a lesson for me that Rotary’s do pay!!! (Regional meetings anyway). See, we’re always learning 🙂

  • Susan Stewart

    I get that I would be asking people to” help me help others”, but this concept feels rather “schmaltzy” to me like I’m selling from the platform. I’m strongly against sounding remotely like a commercial for myself when I’ve been hired to serve the people attending the event. This is a style that doesn’t resonate with me – I just think this strategy runs the risk of alienating the client or audience members.

    • speakerlauncher

      Hi Susan, I appreciate your comment on this and I’m pretty sure you are not alone. It’s ultimately up to everyone to do the things that feel right for them in their business. My opinion is that it’s much less of an issue than you might think. Two sentences in a 60 minute keynote does not a commercial make. 🙂 Now, I’ve heard meeting planners talk negatively about 20 minute commercials by very well known speakers who were paid generously to speak and I highly disagree with that. I feel that this approach is neither commercial or offensive to the audience or person to writes the cheque.

  • Doug Sandler

    So very important and an absolute MUST-DO Jane, thanks for the post and great points. I started doing this right from the start Jane due to your teachings…it is so very important. People want to help you when you deliver a great message and here is HOW they can do it. It’s not just sales, it’s your obligation — to your message and to your audience.

    • speakerlauncher

      I’m glad the “Help Me” has helped you Doug! Thanks for sharing.

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