How Saying 'No' Can Help you Get to 'Yes'

How Saying 'No' Can Help you Get to 'Yes'What happens when you say no? More often than not, in a business context, you end up getting what you want. It’s a wonder more of us don’t use no more often.

Of course, reality isn’t that easy. We all want to please, make our customers happy, get the job done. If we keep saying yes, we’ll close the deal. Right?

Not necessarily. This isn’t a call to start turning down every request that comes across your desk. But saying no can actually open more doors than you think. Telling a prospect no can actually establish a level of trust that may not have previously existed. If you say no to a prospect request, you’re being honest about what you can and cannot do. You’re not overpromising on something you might not be able to deliver. You’re establishing that you have your own objectives and limitations in the deal, which has its own way of accelerating trust and respect from the other side of the table.

No also tells the prospect that you’re not desperate for the deal. You’re willing to walk away. The right prospect – an individual or company who legitimately can gain from your product or service – isn’t going to turn you away because of something you said no to during the negotiations. They’re not making a purchase decision based on a contract. Prospects, whether they concede it or not, respect this.

Perhaps most importantly, when you say no, you’re declining something you don’t want to give. Subtle but important point. If the prospect is upset that you wouldn’t give, that’s OK. You said no not because you wanted to upset the prospect, but because you didn’t want to give in on something important to you. Their request was beyond what you were comfortable committing or promising. Had you said yes, wouldn’t that have put you in a more uncomfortable spot?

Saying yes too often, when it’s against how you want to do business, can push you farther and farther away from the path you want to follow. It can distract the organization, bring less-than-ideal customers on board, and increase both client and employee dissatisfaction as that relationship unfolds.

Saying no, when you mean it and when it’s right for your side of the table, helps mitigate these problems. And with the right customers – those who needs what you’re selling, respect you as an organization, and will ultimately be among your best long-term customers – saying no is an effective means of getting to both the immediate and long-term yes.

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Matt HeinzMatt Heinz is principal at Heinz Marketing, a sales & marketing consulting firm helping businesses increase customers and revenue. Contact Matt at or visit

Matt Heinz




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