Life lessons are sometimes slow to present themselves. It wasn’t until I hit my 40s that the idea of ‘ask for what you want’ really came true for me. Now I do it all the time. Well, when I think of it and when it makes sense.
But it is amazing what you can get if you ask. Now I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to tie this to tradeshow marketing, but I bet it can be applied somewhere. Perhaps to a vendor, a client, a potential customer…somebody. If you want something, just ask!
For instance, I’m a Comcast cable subscriber. I’ve heard that many people through the years have not been happy with the service. Truthfully, it’s always been great for me. The few issues I’ve had have been handled promptly and courteously.
I got started with Comcast when I signed up one of those service bundles. You know the kind: they package internet, cable and phone service and give you a sweet deal so you’ll buy all of them. And of course it’s a limited offer; the price will go up after a year.
So I bought it knowing that the price would go up after a year (this was several years ago, by the way). At the end of the year I got the latest bill in the mail – which showed the increased pricing – and I decided to give them a call, since the price was going to go up about $30 a month.
“Hi, I’m a customer of about a year and I notice that the price for my bundled service expires. I’m actually shopping around and am interested in what you can do for me.”
“Hang on a minute, let me check.”
I wait for a moment before the service rep comes back. “I see that you’ve been paying your bills on time every month and that you’re currently paying X for the bundle. I can give you the current bundle price. It’s not the same as it was when you signed on, but it will still save you $20 a month. How does that sound?”
One of the credit cards I’ve had for several years hit me with an annual fee earlier this year. I hear that’s happened to a lot of people since the new rules went into effect. So I got on the horn to the service rep and asked if they’d mind waiving the fee. I told them if they didn’t I’d probably cancel the card. The balance at that point was $0 and it wasn’t a card I used a lot. Made sense to ask them if they’d drop the fee.
They checked my history (“you’re a long-time customer and we appreciate your business!”), and after a moment said they’d be glad to give me a one-time waiver on the fee. That saved me $39. If they try to hit me again next year with the feel, I’ll ask again to have them waive it. May not get it, but if I don’t ask it’s certain that I won’t.
One more example – this time I got a great deal by keeping my mouth shut. Sort of.
I was at the rental car kiosk in Anaheim a couple of years ago. I had reserved a compact car. They happened to be out of compact cars and told me they could upgrade me for a small fee. I politely said no because I’d been through this before and wanted to see what they were willing to do for me. In a sense I was silently asking to see what they could come up with instead of quickly agreeing to his first offer.
After a few minutes of poking around his computer, the agent said he could upgrade me for no extra charge to a Mitsubishi Eclipse convertible – one of the few cars they had available. Would that be okay?
Uh. Yeah. That’d work.
So I drove with the top down in a hot little sports car for four days in LA. My suitcase didn’t fit in the trunk but I was able to wedge it in the back seat area so I didn’t care – it was all good.
Point is: keep on asking. As a salesperson, keep on asking your customers for the business. If you’re setting up a tradeshow booth, ask the show services folks how they might upgrade your booth. Ask for a better space a few days before the show – perhaps someone has dropped out.
Ask to be upgraded to a suite at your hotel for no extra charge. Ask for a complimentary meal.
Ask. Ask. Ask!
You may not get it even if you ask.
You will definitely NOT get it if you DON’T ASK!