No is a powerful word. In a transaction, the person who can say “no” usually has the most power, while the person who doesn’t want to hear “no” is the subordinate party.
You probably immediately think of the common business scenario where a business makes a sales presentation to a prospect and the prospect decides they don’t want to buy. That’s a classic situation and the prospect clearly holds the “no”-power. I suspect that’s the “default setting” of the business-customer relationship.
It’s easy for business owners to think of the customer as the one with all of the “no”-power. But that’s not always the case; some businesses have this power too:
- Cigarette and alcohol manufacturers are legally required to restrict sales based on age. That gives them “no”-power for people who aren’t old enough, creating a sense of allure.
- Because of their price tag, luxury items have a natural “no” built right into their sale.
- Lots of businesses that achieve a certain level of success (a guru-status for consultants, for example), would be on this list; you or I can’t just call up a Seth Godin or Kevin O’Leary to chat about business or to hire on our terms.
Any business where you have to qualify or jump through hoops or get put on a waiting list is a business that has taken the power of “no” back from their customers.
If your cash flow is dependent on your sales staff getting “yes” instead of “no”, you are at the mercy of your customers who have all of the “no”-power.
It is possible to get some of that power back. It involves a shift in your positioning, and you may also need to up the level of service and quality you deliver.
Who’s the one with the “no”-power in your business?