The Power of “No”

I’ve been doing a lot of negotiating lately: Contracts, pricing, sales. And I’ve discovered a super-power that I did not know that I had… the power to say NO.

NO has saved me from making huge mistakes and has earned me countless thousands of dollars. When a prospect asked me to reduce my bid price by half, I said no. When another wanted twice the service for the same price, I said no.

You’re thinking, “are you just saying no to perfectly good income?”  Well, no.

I’m not going to turn away a great customer. But a great customer is one that understands the unique value I bring and is willing to pay my price — because he know’s the value of what he gets is far more than what he pays.

When you say “Yes” to a bad customer you’re doing a disservice to yourself and to them. Yes gets you in trouble. Yes commits you to providing value that you cannot afford. And Yes devalues your work in their eyes.

In the past I’ve said Yes to hourly work simply to fill my work day. But at what cost? In the time I spend earning less than my value, could I have been promoting myself to new (full-price) customers? Could I have published a finance book that sold thousands of copies? Or written a viral blog post? If instead I had said NO, would the same customer have paid more anyway?

A lot of my negotiations are with people in foreign countries. Places like India take negotiation for granted.  Its expected. Its an art. And frankly, Americans like to negotiate too. Everyone likes to get a good deal.

Whether for commerce or not, we are all wired to compromise. And in our homes and social lives, compromise is the grease on the gears. Everything works better when we compromise a bit.

Everything except business, that is. That’s when NO is sometimes the only answer.

Here’s the secret to saying No… You have to say it out loud. And you have to practice saying it often. The more you say it, the easier it becomes.

When the prospect asks for a discount, simply say No. You do not need to sound disappointed or disgruntled… be matter of fact. Say no, then wait. Say nothing else. The next sound you hear will likely be the cash register ringing.  Because negotiation is just a habit, hitting the brick wall of “NO” can often jolt people out of the negotiation reflex and into the buying mode.

Another wonderful thing happens when you say no. A giant feeling of freedom will wash over you. The feeling that you dodged a bullet. You’ll feel better simply because you did not agree to something that was not in your best interest. If you’ve been putting yourself last for too long, being first is a great feeling.

Soon you may find that the power of No begins to spread into other aspects of your life. You learn to say No to the “benign favors” that gobble up your day. You learn to say No to the networking group that does more socializing than business. You may even learn to say No to yourself when you feel the urge to pursue that “shiny penny” that will derail your work and distract you from your success.

No may even become an addiction. But I’m OK with that.

All of us know what we want in our lives, but few of us know what we are willing to say No to in order to get what we desire. Saying No is the first step to focusing on what you want, getting what you need, and putting yourself first.  Will you try it?  (Just say Yes.)

Dedicated to your (No Nonsense) profits,

Originally Published

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