Photo by Phoebe Dill

What Receiving A NO Really Means

Every day I ask for something. Sometimes it’s a favor, other times it’s a sale.

The person on the receiving end of my ask responds with a yes, no, or maybe.

I don’t know about you but I ALWAYS aim for a yes or a no. I can’t stand a maybe. I classify a maybe as a polite no.

A yes is exciting.

A no is well… not exciting.

For some a no can be devastating, because it’s filled with rejection. The person saying no is telling you they don’t want to do what you want them to do, or they don’t want what you have to offer.

But for me, a no it’s a big deal.


Because I know why they are saying no. They are saying no for one of the following reasons.

They don’t have time for it

People are busy. You cannot expect them to say yes when you need a favor done.

People have priorities. What maybe important to you right now, isn’t important to them. It doesn’t mean it won’t be important to them in the future. It just means you might have to understand what it will take for them to make it a priority.

They don’t see the value in it yet

People have concerns. But they won’t come right out and tell you what those concerns are because they’re polite. They don’t want you to feel like they are judging you. So it’s up to you to draw out those concerns.

People have beliefs. You might be really persuasive and have some awesome reasons, but if they have a deeply held belief that is in direct opposition to what you have to offer, they will say no.

Just like concerns, you have to learn how to draw out their beliefs. Once you draw them out, you need to understand how tightly the hold on to those beliefs. If their fists are clenched, you won’t be able to get them to renounce their beliefs. You’ll need to learn to align with them.

People have other people to answer to. Now you have to learn to appeal to the real decision maker.

People are afraid. Just like they have concerns and beliefs, people also have fears. They are afraid of the known and the unknown. If it’s a known fear then it’s based on a past experience they had. If it’s unknown, then it’s the fear of taking a risk and managing uncertainty. Regardless of which category it falls into, you’ll need to be aware.

People are comfortable. “If it ain’t broken don’t fix it!” It’s hard for people to change their routines and behavior. It takes work. Work that again they may or may not have time for. Or a change that threatens their happy status quo, causing them to feel afraid.

So how do you combat a no?

The usual advice is persistence, but persistence is often misinterpreted as doing the same thing over and over again.

What it really means is persist in getting to know the person you want the yes from, and learning how to address each of the issues they bring up.

If that doesn’t work, you’ll eventually need to move on, because your time is just as valuable as theirs! The more time you spend on trying to persuade someone to change their response from a no to a yes, the less time you have to find those who are willing to say yes, and want what you have to offer.

Now I want to know how do you handle a no? Let me know in the comments below!

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