How to say no without saying no

We often find ourselves saying no.

There are great reasons why we say no.

The problem is that people hate being told no.

Most of us have a hyper-sensivity to the word.

Think about how you feel when someone says no to you.

There’s nowhere to go from a no.

The word no kills our relationships and influence.

It’s also the lazy option.

It is easy to say no.

Alternatives seem hard, but they don’t need to be.

Imagine being able to say no without saying no, and how much your influence could grow.

Great commercial influencers will rarely, if ever, say no.

Because they don’t have to.

They know the secret to saying no without saying no.

Let’s say the sales team want to run a promotion to grow market share. You know that margin £ and % will be too low.

Instead of saying no the margin is too low, use this agreement frame.

Simply say:

“I appreciate that you want to grow market share with this promotion. How do we do it and hit a 25% gross margin?”

The agreement frame works like this:

Part 1: I appreciate… – insert what the other person wants to achieve

This sends a clear message to the other person that you have listened to them and feel their pain.

The word ‘appreciate’ is much better than ‘understand’ because it talks from and to the heart.

Understand talks to the brain. Also when you tell someone you understand in England they translate it as ‘you think I’m dumb!”.

Importantly in part 1 you are agreeing with them, meeting them in their World, as a base for part 2.

Part 2: How could we do it and… – insert what needs to happen for you to say yes

Rather than argue about what the other person wants to do (an argument you’ll probably loose), you’re moving the conversation on to how they will do it (an argument you’re much more likely to win).

It helps the other person think about how they could do it differently.

And you are able to say no to the original plan without saying no.

Because you can say yes to a new plan.

Here’s a few more real-life examples that I’ve used:

“I appreciate you want to buy that company. How can we do that and keep our cash strong.”

“I appreciate you want to run an advert during the X-factor, how can we do that and maintain our marketing cost as a % of sales target?

“I appreciate you want to recruit 10 new heads. How do we ensure each one generates minimum incremental sales of £400k each to payback?

Final thought

I always cover this in my influence workshops, because its just so simple.

It’s really the start point of any negotiation process, and might be the only tool you ever need to negotiate.

I ask people to come up with their own examples, and the best one lately was this:

A chap got up and said his girlfriend wanted to get married, so he said he planned to test this on her that night:

“I appreciate you want to be married. How do we do that and not get married?”

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