Say And Accept No To Succeed

| 3 min read

Say And Accept No To Succeed Further in Small Business

Say And Accept No To SucceedAre you afraid of the word no? Whether it is hearing or saying no, does that have a negative connotation for you?

Saying and accepting the word no in business isn't always bad. In fact, learning to deal with no can lead to success. 

Saying no to prospects and customers

I was in a webinar with Joe Woodard and he came up with a great example of saying no that has really stuck with me.

I don't have the exact dialogue with Joe but it was something along these lines:

Have you ever ordered a hamburger at Starbucks? No, why not? Because they don't serve it, correct? They have a menu of their offerings with prices.

However, imagine if you went to Starbucks and ordered a hamburger and they said yes. Do you think it would be a good hamburger since they typically don't offer it?

Are you saying yes to prospects and customers just to make a sale? If so you need to get better at saying no. All that is going to happen is that you are going to over-promise and under-deliver, resulting in a bad customer experience.

Another great debate I have with clients that I consult with is whether to accept checks or not. If you are a client of ours you know that we do not accept checks. You pay automatically by credit card and that is it. 

Let's go back to our Starbucks example and say that you successfully ordered a hamburger and the price was...I don't know...let's say they came up with $3.99 since they don't typically offer that item. 

So now let's say you tell the cashier you want to pay with Bitcoin. Imagine if they accepted it and handed you a hamburger. That would be crazy right?

Anyway, I know that is kind of an extreme example but I think you get my point.

Stop saying yes to every request your prospects and customers have. It's ok to say no. Don't agree to sell products and services that you don't offer because it is going to result in a bad customer experience. Don't negotiate on terms, price, or payment methods. Develop a system and stick to it.

But won't some prospects and customers say no you ask? Yes, and that is a good thing!

Saying no to employees

You definitely want to create an environment for employees where they voice their opinions and ideas. However, saying yes to every employee idea or request is just dangerous. 

Let's take the example where an employee is suggesting a new service or income stream. Ask yourself these questions:

Will this compromise our company culture and core values?

Will it take away from our core competencies?

Does the cost/benefit analysis make sense?

Does this make sense for our long-term business strategy?

You can't say yes to every employee request or suggestion. However, we try and create an environment where all employees feel comfortable making suggestions and questioning the status quo. 

A business environment that supports questioning the system is typically innovative and therefore very successful. 

I always let employees know to please voice their ideas and opinions to me no matter what. I may not agree, say yes, or choose to implement it, however, I will always listen. 

Accept no from everyone and learn from it

Every business owner reading this has heard no from a prospect. It stings right?

You never want to hear no when you are trying to sell your product or services to a qualified prospect. The key word in that last sentence is qualified. If the prospect was unqualified and said no that is a good thing.

Converting an unqualified prospect to a customer is a disservice to both your business and the customer.

When you do hear no from someone turn every one of those experiences into a learning lesson. 

Let's take the simple example of a prospect that said no to your proposal.

Go back and review everything that happened during the sales process. Did you properly qualify or disqualify this lead? Did you do anything wrong? Was it just the price?

Do you ask your prospects why they went with someone else or do you just accept the no and move on? Try an email like this if you want to find out more:


Thanks for your email. I closed your file. Since it's over, I have a quick question. Why is it you aren't interested? Was it something I did? 

If there is any way I can improve, let me know. I'm always looking for input. 

Thanks for your help,


Do you know how they typically reply? They apologize and give you amazing feedback. 

I've often had prospects come back and tell me that they loved what we had to offer but it just wasn't the right time. The problem was "X." And that maybe I could follow up in 3 months.

So instead of just accepting the no, you can turn it into a learning experience that may help you get a yes next time. At the very least you may get some valuable feedback that you can use to modify your sales approach. 

So what do you think? Do you see the value in saying and accepting no?

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