Are You Saying “Yes” When You Should Be Saying “No?”

Are You Saying

Saying "yes" when you should be saying "no."  It’s easy to give in to temptation on this one.

Ever stretched your "yes" a little too far?  Ever found yourself in quicksand with a project where "no" would have been the smarter response?

Ever hear yourself asking, "how did I get into this mess?"

We all want to help as many people as possible.  We want to say "yes."

And, candidly, there are times when saying "yes" means you can pay the bills.

Saying "Yes" When You Should be Saying "No?"  What’s the Down Side?

So, you find yourself saying "yes" when you should be saying "no."  What’s the downside to you of following this path?

  • Stress, struggle or desperation for you
  • Extended turnaround time on the project or proposal
  • Dissatisfied clients
  • Loss of reputation and credibility
  • Snarky comments about you online

On the other hand, what about saying "no" when you should say "no?"  What’s the upside?

  • Instant credibility with the client
  • Peace of mind for you
  • Low stress
  • Strong reputation
  • Likelihood of referrals

A Simple Model of Setting Expectations for "No"

So, if you were going to start saying "no" when you should be saying "no," what would it sound like when you’re talking to your prospect?

Wanda, as we explore what you’re looking for, we get to ask each other some questions.  I make you this promise – if I can’t help solve your problem, if I’m not the right expert for you, I promise I’ll say so.  No maybe’s, no hedging.  Is that fair?

If you’re Wanda, isn’t this kind of straightforward approach the last thing you’re expecting?  Where’s the shark move in that?  Why isn’t someone going for the jugular?

By saying "no" you’ve removed a big layer of your prospect’s armor.  She is more open and receptive to the questions you ask – and to any suggestions you may have.  She’s really engaged and listening to you, not planning her response to your next shark move.

Saying "Yes" – What About the Grey Area?

We all want to help as many people as possible.  And, candidly, there are times when saying "yes" means you can pay the bills.

There are also times when saying "yes" can help you grow and stretch a little -  and to do a better job of delivering your product or service in the interest of helping your prospective client.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t stretch a little.  I’ve gotten some of my best clients with a little stretch.  Just don’t go overboard – and avoid saying "yes" when your intuition is telling you that a "no" will save you a lot of heartache in the long run.

If you look at the upsides and at the potential increase in your effectiveness, isn’t it about time you started saying "no" when you should say "no?"

Take Action – Make This Your Own

This week, take a look at the times you say "yes."  Should you be saying "no?"

  1. Be clear – Does your "yes" come from a desire to stretch or from desperation?
  2. Use the model I’ve outlined here for easy conversation.
  3. Is the stretch a good fit, a small extension of your services?

If you’re finding yourself wanting to stretch a lot, or very frequently, take a strong review of your services and/or business model.  Does something major need to change so you feel challenged and fulfilled.

Think of saying "no" like building a muscle. When you go to the gym the first time, you can’t bench press your own weight. You may be lucky to get one set of reps with five pound weights. But if you persevere, the results can be truly amazing over time – and more than worth the effort.

You can also check out these related posts:

Bullied or Intimidated by Prospects or Clients? 4 Key Steps That May Be Missing
Asking for the Business – Do You Feel Like You’re Begging?
“The Customer’s Always Right – Oh, Yeah?” 4 Tips for Handling Difficult Customers

Share a comment: what benefit have you found from saying "no" when you should?

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