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Saying No

Years ago a dear friend shared an alternative to saying no. She would simply say, “I don’t think so.” When asked if she could attend a staff meeting schedule the same time as her daughter’s recital, she simply replied with a smile, “I don’t think so.” As a result, she didn’t attend the staff meeting. The word “No” can be an instrument of integrity and a defense against exploitation. The word can cause fistfights, and bring tears to the eyes of new business owners. Never take saying no personally.

There comes a time when we all must use the word. Few of us take the time to use it wisely and appropriately. It’s a powerful word because it can keep you from using bad judgment and living in fear.  Have you mastered using the word “No” or are you glued to the word “Yes?” Is it me or does “Yes” seem like a word used often by people-pleasers.

The word “YES” conjures up thoughts of butterflies, Little Debbie cakes, and unicorns. “Yes” gives us courage, hope, and enlightenment. In addition, “Yes” is all about possibilities, but the word “No” is definitive, authoritative, and negative, even when it’s not intended. As a business owner, new or seasoned, your success may one day rely on effectively knowing how to say “NO” and mean it. If you are having difficulty using “No” review the tips below.

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Saying No

  • Say it without hesitation, doubt or fear.
  • Be assertive and respectful.
  • Understand peoples’ hustle but, if it’s not for you, say it!
  • Set boundaries.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask why “NO” is not acceptable.
  • Be strong.
  • Be selfish.
  • How do you learn to say “NO?”

Practice saying no daily.

At least once a day you will have the opportunity to say “No” when you would normally say “Yes.” Therefore you must muster up all the courage and begin saying “No.” Due to the negative association of the word we make every effort to avoid it. Don’t!. Be honest, direct and say without malice. Give an unremorseful, unapologetic “No” starting today. Was this blog post helpful? Go on, say it!

Here are a few suggestions you might use when you have to simply say “No” to a customer.

  • Say “No” without actually saying “No”
  • We appreciate your business and loyalty, however, unfortunately, we are unable to…”
  • I would be glad to offer you a promo code for your next order, but we are unable to …
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Get classification:
  • “I am not quite sure I understand what you mean, could you clarify…….”
  • “If I understand you correctly you’d like to……”
  • “To avoid misunderstanding, could you share more about …..”
Use Empathy words like
  • “I would”
  • “I understand”
  • “Please accept my / our apology”
  • “I totally agree” but/and
Offer alternatives

Before you say “No” give customers an alternative. This may or may not work, but at least try.

Share your favorite methods for turning down a customer. We’d love to know.