The other day at brunch (because I live in the city now, and that’s how girls bond), we were discussing how to get what you want. The simple answer my friend put forward is to “just ask”. I’ve been testing that theory now, and am shocked at how far I can get by just having the nerve to ask for what I want. Here is my small list of things that work to ask for:
1. No bank fees. This one I’ve mentioned before as a suggestion from Ramit Sethi I got awhile back for my annual credit card fee. I just called, stated how long I’ve been a client, and that I didn’t want to be forced to go to a different bank. I’ve also saved tons of money in over-draft fees by just going into the bank, playing dumb and asking the fees to be taken off. I’m shocked at the amount of people who wont do this because they’re too shy to stand up for themselves.
2. Extras at restaurants. Most servers also think that having to pay $0.50 for ranch dressing is lame. I assure you there’s no person back there making sure all the condiments are being accounted for. Make sure you ask for this right away though, not after they may have already put it in the computer. Similarly, be weary of places that ask “or” questions. You usually can get both for free. A good example of this is at Chipotle where they like to convince you that you can only have black beans or pinto beans, or only one salsa. If you only get one, I will laugh at you.
3. Travel boosts. Because I have a silver medallion membership with Delta I often check a bag because it’s free. The problem being that I don’t like waiting for my bag after a long flight. Whenever I travel I ask the person who is checking my bag if they can put the priority tag on my bag, usually with some story about running late for something. This also works for other things while traveling. I find that because of my age, people will assume I’m OK with whatever I get, but will be more than willing to accommodate if I ask outright. I’ve been bumped to a cooler car at car rental places, given an ocean view at hotels where I was originally supposed to look out over parking lots, and allowed to “check out” Sky Club lounges while waiting for flights.
4. Free samples/coupons. Send an email to your favorite companies saying you love their stuff and if you can get coupons or their latest product for free. I started doing this when I went gluten-free because everything was so expensive and I didn’t even know if I would like their stuff. Usually if you play on a company’s sense of pride in their product, they’ll want to prove to you why you should choose their product, or retain you if you’re already a client.
5. Medicine. The next time your doctor goes to write you a prescription, as if they have any trials so you can see how you react before buying a whole bunch of it. Also, ask your pharmacy if they’re giving your antibiotics out for free. They’ll often have extra samples of stuff. Of course, you have to actually have the prescription. This post is to encourage you to ask for things you need, not get you addicted to drugs.
6. Work stuff. Please, please, please also apply this mind set to your work. If you’ve been working at a company for awhile and doing well, put together a solid argument and ask for what you want. I used to be jealous of my friend who asked his work for things like, higher pay, mac (instead of windows), new office chair… even tracing paper – and got it! Then when I went to quit my job to move back to Minnesota, I asked for my most ideal situation – work the same job from wherever I wanted. Surprising result: my hard work stood up for itself and they obliged.
The most important thing to do is ask nicely but forcefully. Going into the proposal you should already have reasons why you should get what you want, and the mind-set that whatever you’re asking for is completely reasonable to get. If you don’t get what you want, no worries. At least you asked.