Yes, you’re allowed to say ‘no’ in sales. Here’s how to do it right.

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As a growing business, how you say “no” is critical. I recommend doing it sincerely.

Never say no with arrogance.

You must first say “yes” to get the experience you’ll need to be able to say no with grace and confidence. When I started in sales, I said yes to just about everything and everyone.

If you are just starting out I recommend you do the same. Say yes, say yes often and stay very, very curious. The time will come one day when you get to say no. It’s a luxury to be able to do so.

When it comes time to start saying no, keep the following in mind. Trendy new restaurants build themselves up from zero diners to a lineup out the door. The problem I consistently see is they don’t know how to turn away people gracefully.

Some restaurants offer a glass of wine and a callback service. Others—the majority of others that I’ve experienced in our city—have staff who do it with a dash of pompousness. A sort of, “Please piss off and don’t come back because we don’t need to be any busier.”

I tried to order a takeout salad the other night from one of my favourite restaurants. Not only did I have to call a few times to get an answer, but the person on the line advised me it would take two hours for the salad. I pointed out that I had only ordered a salad. A salad! He said, “Do you have any idea how busy we are?” Given I was calling from my cell phone, my answer was obviously no.

A glass of wine or a flippant response? One tells your customers you don’t care about them and the other will make a massive difference in your business’ growth.

Stay humble.

Hustle hard.

Be thankful.

Want more? Order your copy of Hustle: A Guide to the Ethical Art of Selling & Survival.

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