The Art of Saying ‘NO’

 

How to Turn Down Proposals That Are Bad for Business

 
Have you seen the movie Yes Man with Jim Carrey? In it, Carrey plays a bank loan officer named Carl who turns his life around by vowing to say “Yes” to opportunities instead of “No.” At first, this is a positive thing, but then the yeses catch up with him. By the end of the movie, Carl realizes that some proposals — like the offer to sleep with his ex-wife — absolutely deserve a “NO.”

Unlike Carl, most of us are born “Yes Men”. Psychologically, “no” is one of the hardest words to say in the English language. We’re taught from a young age to do what we’re told, and that instinct can be tough to turn off. You would be amazed how many business owners take money-losing deals just because they can’t say “no” to their friends or employees.

Are you a “Yes Entrepreneur”? If you’ve given in to bad proposals in the past, take these three steps when negotiating your next deal.
 

1. Go in prepared to walk away.

If you’re not willing to walk, then you don’t really have a seat at the negotiating table. You’re setting yourself up for “yes” from the outset.
 

2. Prioritize the numbers over your emotions.

Just because you like an employee or trust a business partner doesn’t mean that the raise or buyout they’re proposing is a smart move. Remember, a deal shouldn’t just make you feel good or increase your revenue — it should also increase your profit. Run the numbers, and make them your top priority. It will be easier to say “no” if they don’t add up.
 

3. Remember your self-respect.

You don’t owe your clients, employees, or partners the opportunity to walk all over you. Even if they use scare tactics, you CAN take control and say “no,” and it’s far better to put your real opinion out there, for you and for them. As author and psychology professor Dr. Hank Davis once said “Sometimes ‘no’ is the most honorable and respectful thing you can say to someone.”
 
Want to learn more? Check out The Book of NO: 250 Ways to Say It — and Mean It — And Stop People-Pleasing Forever by Dr. Susan Newman. It might just revolutionize the way you do business.
 

-Randy Sklar

 

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