“Every no brings me closer to yes”Mark Cuban
No is such a simple word, it only has two letters yet most of us hate using it when it comes to using it in conversations. I’m sure we’ve all been stopped by someone on the street asking us to sign their petition. I know I’ve been through it, and it’s quite uncomfortable when they come up to you and all you want to say is no but instead you say something like “Sorry, I’m in a hurry.” I get it, I think we all do, because saying “no” just seems a tad aggressive, but what if I told you saying “no” may actually be your best choice when it comes to negotiating.
No is not the end.
No is not the end of a conversation, it’s only the beginning. What do I mean by that, well let’s say you are trying to sell your car. Your asking price is $5000 but you mentioned that you may be willing to negotiate. A potential buyer comes up to you and tries to low-ball you by offering $3500 because of this and that. Well, you say “no” not only because it’s not close to your asking price, but also testing him to see if he will budge.
Now, you may think that the deal ends there but not exactly, by saying no the buyer now has to think fast in order not to lose the deal. So they raise their offer, you go in a back and forth until they reach closer to your asking price or choose to back out. By saying no, you control the conversation and decide to continue or not.
Saying “Yes” may have been worse than saying “No”.
When you say yes to someone, even when you don’t want to, you only create a false sense of peace between you and the person asking. Then you start to do whatever it is that they asked of you with a bad attitude because you never wanted to do it in the first place. So now, that person can see that your not happy and you know that your not happy and everything just seems to fall apart. But let’s say, instead of saying yes right away, you simply just said no and gave them a reason why. For example, someone asked you to cover their night shift even though you were planning on spending the night with your significant other. You could just tell them “Hey, sorry but I can’t take that shift from you. I already have plans.” You might feel this awkwardness for a bit but honestly, that person will get over it and so will you. There’s no shame in saying no because you don’t want to do it.
If you’re scared of saying No then you can’t negotiate.
Negotiating is not only done in business, because we negotiate with other people on a daily basis and we don’t even realise it. When you go to a fast food restaurant or a coffee shop, the cashier is actually negotiating with you. “Would you like to supersize your combo?” or “Would you like to try our new latte?” these questions are designed to get a “yes or no” out of you. If you don’t like saying no to someone, then you will always end up buying something or doing something that you regret. Saying no is an affirmation that you are still in control.
It doesn’t mean that you are stubborn, it doesn’t mean that the deal was a failure, it’s actually the opposite. No will tend to open you up for discussion because it will show you more options to choose from.
No protects all parties during the exchange. It puts you in a feeling of safety, causes everyone to stop and think about what they really want. When used strategically, saying no allows the real issues to be front and center. No more beating around the bush because now you’ve made your point that you are not happy with the offer. It protects you from making rash decisions and puts you in a good state of mind, where you can articulate and get your ideas across. No keeps everyone moving forward until everyone agrees or decides that it’s not for them.
Sometimes the truth hurts.
You can’t fault yourself when someone is not happy, it’s almost impossible to make everyone happy. You must find it in yourself and realise that sometimes you will end up hurting people’s feelings. We can’t deny that when someone tells us no, it does sting a little bit. I’m sure we’ve all had moments in our childhood when we asked our parents to buy us something and they say no. You feel hurt and you start to cry. I’m sure that feelings doesn’t go away in adulthood, instead of crying we sometimes get a feeling of betrayal. But don’t let that stop you, the last thing that you want to be is a yes doormat. Saying yes because you don’t want to hurt their feelings is the worst. You have to stay strong and stick to your guns when it’s something that you do not want. You can find a way to let them down by making your no a little bit easier to take. Saying something like “No, I’m sorry. I’m not interested in that but if ever you have ideas about (say something that you’re actually interested in) then maybe we can work together. But for now, I have to say no.” You still said your “No” but you open them up for future work.
Saying no sucks but you will get over it. Remember that no does not mean the end of the conversation but the start of one. If you want to know more about the topic of saying No, I suggest reading “Never Split The Difference” by Chris Voss. He goes in depth of strategically using No in a negotiation. It’s an amazing book and the reason why I wrote this blog. If you would like to get your copy you can get it here:
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