Home / Lifestyle  / When you get a ‘no’, do this

When you get a ‘no’, do this


Negotiation touches every part of our lives. Relationships in business and in our personal lives are negotiated. And the skills to do it effectively can often mean the difference between getting what you want or losing out. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!

In the first section of the book, How to be a Great Negotiator, written by property economist, investor and developer Neville Berkowitz, the characteristic traits of a great negotiator are explored in short, bite-sized nuggets of advice.

Over the next few months, we will bring you the traits needed to succeed at the art of negotiating.

(Courtesy of PersonalEmpowerment.co)

79 ‘No’ does not mean ‘never’

When you eventually “ask for the order” and are met with a “no,” remember that “no” doesn’t mean “never.” A “no” may be a temporary refusal, a negotiation tactic to get a better deal, or a reaction to a misunderstanding that can be clarified and resolved with a question or two and with a little persistence and finesse. It may be a “not just now” instead of a final “no.” It may simply require a little more negotiating on your part. A great negotiator sees “no” as a moment to pause, to ask thoughtful questions, to find out more, and to discover what is standing in the way of “yes.”

When “no” happens, you may want to pursue the following questions: Is it a “no” to the price? Are they simply looking for a better deal? Are they dissatisfied with the product or service, and can you accommodate or adapt the deal in a way that will turn “no” into “yes”? Is it a “no” to you personally? Have you done something to turn them off or offend them, and can you re-establish a better connection with them by graciously addressing the “discontent”, showing the situation in a new light?

See any objections leveled at you in a positive light; it means you have their attention and involvement, and they are still negotiating. Be fully present, listen to, hear, and understand their objections. Give them your full attention, as if they are the most important person in the room, which they are. Ask for clarification if you need it, or summarise what they’ve communicated, so they know that they have been fully heard and that you’ve understood. Express appreciation for their candour and empathy for their concerns. Do not regard or respond to their concern as an objection, but rather as a point that requires more clarification from you. Use their concern as a place to find common ground and establish a deeper connection and working relationship.

The important element here is not to simply accept “no” as a closed door, but to explore the “no” as a transitional moment in the negotiation. Whether you respond with sensitivity, candour, chutzpah, humour, or with a better offer is a matter of discretion. Either one may get you another “shot at the title”. But in such cases you are likely to have just one bullet left in your gun. If you feel an intuitive clarity in the moment about how to respond, by all means, fire. If not, be present with the other party, and think carefully before you respond.

If you have exhausted all the carrot incentives, you may want to try a reasonable stick of last resort. Let them know about the great opportunity they are passing up, and mention any possible consequences that might be a matter for regret later. It may simply be stating a version of, “Can you really afford to pass up this deal? You’re not going to find a better one, and this is a limited offer. Do you think your boss/competitor/spouse/whomever would want you to do whatever it takes to make this happen?”

This is a last-ditch, low-percentage gamble but, since you have nothing to lose, it’s worth a try.

If the answer remains a resounding “NO” then pack up your camel and make for the next oasis where better fortune may smile on you!


Review overview