Great Ideas for your Small Business: Solicit a Quick “Yes” or “No”
through the years, i’ve learned that a quick and honest “no” is as important as a “yes” in many, many business situations. While we all love to sign on a new client or make a huge sale, too much time is wasted in discussion and negotiation because folks are afraid to just say “no.” If someone isn’t interested in buying what you have to sell, it’s painful but more efficient to know the truth and move on.
The challenge is this: Most people don’t like to say no, so they waffle, stall, mumble, and don’t return your phone calls, faxes, or e-mails. This adds to your frustration and wastes your time.
One strategy I’ve found to be extremely effective for get- ting a timely answer is setting a clear deadline. You may think this takes a lot of nerve, but it works very well in most situations. We set response deadlines on proposals submit- ted to even the biggest Fortune 500 companies.
This deadline policy is a very grown-up way to do business. It alleviates anxiety and stress. We ask our corporate clients, who usually take a long time to make decisions, to tell us where they are in the process. Keeping us apprised cements the relationships by leaving the lines of communication open.
Of course, if someone asks for an extension because they can’t schedule a meeting with colleagues or something vital arises, we’ll wait for an answer.
The secret to setting deadlines is to do it in a very calm, professional, and nonconfrontational manner. Be very clear. Tell them that you truly want their business, but you believe a “no” is as important as a “yes.” Try it. I guarantee it will change your life, and you’ll never go back to waiting endlessly in limbo for an answer.