The other day I wanted to pay a bill by giving the vendor a banking routing number. This number allows the vendor to go to the bank, pull the funds directly from an account and pay the invoice. The customer service agent told me I would be charged $21. To clarify, they wanted to charge me MORE to pay their invoice immediately and in full.
  • The invoice was not past due, it was actually being paid days in advance.
  • My online bank payments for this vendor was set for automatic payments starting the following month. I didn’t have the patience or desire to undo that for the sake of this one payment.
It didn’t seem right at all. The customer service agent told me there were three ways I could get the invoice paid without an extra payment. I could drive to their nearest location – about 52 miles away. I could place the amount on a credit card. Or I could print the invoice, write an actual paper check, find a stamp, and place it in the mailbox for delivery. As a busy business owner, I was annoyed that none of these free options placed the invoice in my past.
After asking a few questions and having the customer service agent repeat my options a few times, I asked, “Would you be able to waive the fee this month?” She responded, “Oh sure. No problem.” “Really?” “Yes, if that’s what you’d like, we can waive the service fee.” “Oh, ok, thanks!” It pays to ASK. Bill paid.
This year I have been practicing “The Ask.” Asking for what I need and receiving what shows up in response to that action. For so many and for me, this is a very hard but extremely important practice. Even in this very simple payment call, “the ask” didn’t come until I consciously thought about trying my new practice. And it worked!! Fast and easy. Truthfully, it has worked all the time.
Part of asking includes a willingness to negotiate or compromise. Here are some important rules I’ve learned over the last year that may make your Ask easier:
  1. You can handle any response you receive. The response only gives you information about your next step.
  2. You’ll always feel better asking for what you need, than trying to manipulate what it is you really want into being.
  3. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. If you don’t ask, you receive just what you’ve asked for.
  4. When you ask – for help, for a raise, for what you desire – you become vulnerable. And that’s OK. Immediately be grateful you have the ability to ask.
  5. What would your response be if someone asked you the same request. I’m guessing you’d jump at the chance to help a friend.
When you ask for what you want, what you’ll receive is usually exactly the information you need. Try it and let me know how it goes!

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