Never Say No!

How often do you want to say ‘No’ to something that a client or colleague is suggesting but you just know that’s going to rub them the wrong way. Contrary to the many articles out there about learning to say, “No” and setting healthy boundaries, I’d like to offer another option totally unrelated to setting boundaries. What if you are able to say no to a client or colleague without saying the word no?

Picture this; you have a client that is always asking the unreasonable of you and your team. You don’t have within your control the power to remove that client and you are forced to make this relationship work. However, every time you turn around, they’ve got some crazy idea, not the kind that is an inspirational, wow, how do we make that happen idea; but the kind that goes against the brand, it’s core values or is just flat out not going to happen. You know if you tell this client, “No, that’s not a good idea.” or “I don’t think that’s going to work.” that will shut the client down or worse, really get them angry.

I want to offer you some of my experience in coping with this. As a sales representative I used to use these questions and phrases all of the time, interestingly enough, I’ve now used them as well in managing team members, brain storming sessions and even with our customers. The best thing you can do is continue to ask them questions until they’ve answered their own question with the same conclusion you already knew in the beginning, no.

Top 5 Questions to ask in place of the no!

  1. That’s an interesting idea, how do you see that working operationally? They usually haven’t considered all angles of their request, when they do so they either solve the potential issues or come to the same no that you didn’t need to say. 
  2. Tell me more about exactly how you see this being executed? It was just an idea, they hadn’t really planned out the functional execution of it. When they do, often they realize the gaps and come to the no, themselves. 
  3. When you did the research/market study/survey what was the feedback? Usually they haven’t done any of the above and this quickly shuts them down with a no. 
  4. I’ll take that idea into consideration. Have you considered (insert alternative idea)? They usually hadn’t thought of the alternative and a light bulb moment happens. 
  5. Interesting, what other ideas/solutions do you have? This forces them into realizing that there is more than one option and begin to formulate it. 

So I challenge you, can you go a month, nah, try one week first, without telling a single customer, client or colleague, ‘No’? Give it a try and make it a habit. You’ll be surprised at how positive this keeps the conversation.


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