This past weekend, I left a leadership organization that I’ve been a part of for over six and a half years. And it had me thinking about how we do endings.

To be clear, I chose out on purpose. And though I value every moment I spent there, and plan to remain an active affiliate, I did not want to continue. And so I built a new pathway — a pathway out.

Endings is a pretty “meaty” topic, but there are two elements in particular that I want to share this morning because I believe they will be of great value for this group.

First of all, at the end don’t forget to make an ask. Whether it’s the end of a meeting, a 121, a potential referral conversation, a sample session, a connection call, or your commercial, there’s an opportunity. Ask for something — for yourself, or perhaps what you can do for the other person, entity, community or organization.

Hockey Hall of Famer, the great Wayne Gretzky famously said, “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.”

You can have an incredibly impactful conversation. But if you don’t actually ask for the sale, or the hire, or the referral, they may just walk away feeling good. Thinking you’re nice, or special.

This is not to say that every commercial must have an ask. Sometimes we just want to educate or share or provide value. But then put the ask in an email. Or bring it to the 121.

My late grandfather used to say, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Don’t be afraid to squeak.

The second invitation I’ll offer around endings is, “always leave them better.” Whether the deal is closed and over, or the one hour meeting, or the six and a half year involvement in a partnership, leave them better. Have the kind of impact and integrity where even if the client is moving on, you show up with class and dignity, and rather than focusing on what’s being “lost,” be grateful for what you had and put the effort forth to end on a high note.

It can make an impression on the person or entity, and may leave them primed to share about their experience — which could lead to new referrals for business and relationships. It also creates a momentum for you to carry into the next relationship or endeavor.

Just like a nice business suit or professional outfit has you carry yourself a certain way, this goes for behavioral attire as well.

We need to end powerfully on both ends. When we first close. And when we part ways.

Be intentional in your asks up front and choose what’s written on the final page.

And may all of your endings lead to new and wonderful beginnings.

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