green_lightbulb.jpg

Many people fear that the act of asking for advice is an admission that they're struggling. And since we want to portray ourselves as highly competent and confident -- especially at work -- we often avoid seeking guidance (even when we could really benefit from it). 

But new research shows that asking for advice can actually have the opposite effect on people's perception of us. According to a Harvard Business School study, seeking advice in a specific manner makes others see you as more competent, not less.

Roger Dooley's article "An Unexpected Way to Look Smarter" explored the research results, and explained the "right" way to ask for advice. 

"The study showed a few specific characteristics that caused the boost in perceived competence," Dooley wrote. "The question had to be in the expert’s domain of knowledge. The issue had to be harder rather than easier to solve. And, a personal request was better than a general one." 

So rather than assuming the stance of the expert with your prospects, you might consider reversing the roles, and asking for their advice on how you should think of industry trends or other subjects they specialize in. The simple phrase "Could I get your advice?" might just make you seem smarter in their eyes. 

After reading Dooley's article, take my advice and check out five more of the week's best sales articles below. 

1) This Presentation Trick Makes You Sound Brilliant by Geoffrey James

Story time isn't just for kids. 

2) What Gender Bias Really Looks Like in Sales by Debra Carpenter

Are sales job listings skewed to attract male applicants? Barb Giamanco thinks so.

3) How Do You Define "Boldness" For Salespeople? by Jeff Shore

It's not about doing the hard thing, it's about doing the right thing.

4) How to Write a Kick Ass Cold InMail by Tal Shaked

Leave your pitch at the door.

5) 8 Sales Closing Techniques by Giselle Walsh

Not sure how to wrap up the deal? Get eight diverse approaches to a single end.

What were your favorite sales posts from this week? Share in the comments.

get the free hubspot crm

Originally published May 15, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017

Topics:

Sales Communication