Asking for Advice Can Make you Look Competent

BY Jessica Helinski
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The best salespeople are always learning, and one of the best ways to learn is to seek insight from others. But, asking for advice can have its challenges: You don’t want to bother someone, you don’t want to appear incompetent, etc. Kate Rockwood, in an Inc. article, comes to the rescue by sharing six ways to ask for advice. While her article, which features tips from business founder Derek Anderson, targets entrepreneurs, sales reps can also benefit. So, the next time you solicit someone's expertise, consider a few of the featured tips:

Quiet your worries.

Asking for advice can be uncomfortable. You need guidance but you don’t want others to doubt your intelligence or competence. The first step, then, is to silence those qualms. “…Research shows that being on the asking end can actually make you look more competent,” Rockwood writes. Plus, studies have shown that people greatly underestimate others’ willingness to give advice.

Haiku vs. novel

Time is precious, so don’t waste someone else’s when seeking advice. When asking via email, avoid getting carried away with words. As the article points out, “No one is reading the eighth paragraph in your email asking for advice.” If you can’t wrap up your ask in a few short sentences, request a short lunch or coffee break.

Bring it down a notch.

Before shooting out a request to the industry’s elite, consider your more accessible peers first. You may be looking right past someone who can help you in a more in-​depth way than the company’s busy top player.

Make it convenient.

Even if you’re hoping for a quick chat over coffee, keep the other person’s convenience in mind. “Don't make the rookie mistake of assuming everyone's commute is created equal,” the article states. “If you're reaching out for help, get ready to meet people wherever is easiest – for them.”

Seeking advice from others is a great way to grow as a salesperson, and you can ensure that others are willing to help by following Inc.’s tips.