Why Saying No Can Make Your Sales Rate Soar

by “Dangerous” Debbie Jenkins

Yes, it’s true. Saying “No” is a great way of getting people to want what you’ve got even more.

I discovered the power of saying no when our business first got really busy. A potential client approached us to implement quite a large eCommerce project. We couldn’t take it on and didn’t want to get any bigger than we already were at the time so humbly declined the business.

What happened? They asked us if we’d be willing to reconsider if they were willing to pay more! That unexpected result left me with a dilemma (but a nice one). It seems that even when you say “No” to business you won’t necessarily be able to turn it away.

The problem is, most small businesses rarely say no to anyone, so they never get to see the power of this two-letter word in action. While it’s always a risky strategy, saying “No” can be a really good way of making your business even more desirable.

Here Are 4 Ways “Saying No” Can Get A “Yes”

1. Child - Adult

When you were a kid, you’ll remember that some things were for adults only. Your mom or dad would say, “This Vodka, Whisky, Beer is for adults, not for you.” Then as kids we would either sneakily try it out when their backs were turned, try pleading with them for a “little taste” or eagerly await the day we were old enough to try it. When we did finally try it we’d nearly choke and then pretend to ourselves that the putrid tasting liquid burning our throat actually tasted good! This little fib will then follow a good proportion of us into our adulthood.

Simply telling someone that “this is not for you” will appeal to the rebellious child in them and make them want it all the more. Bonkers but true!

Here’s the closing part (slightly modified) of a sales presentation(dressed up as a cosmic health seminar) I remember hearing. Although this particular example is blatantly obvious when you know what you’re looking for, it created a massive rush of people paying over £2000 each at the back of the room…

“Right, so you’ve heard me speak for 20 minutes now, about how I cured my own halitosis through the power of positive thinking. Now I’d just like to tell you about a 3 day workshop I’m running called ’the Smell Journey’ but before I tell you any more, I should just make a few things clear. This workshop is not for everyone! Only people who are smart, decisive, intelligent, wise, open minded and ready for a better future should come and sign up today at the desks that you’ll find right next to all the exits.”

While I’ve obviously amended the message for our amusement, this pattern really worked for the presenter and will work for you too.

2. Don’t Doesn’t Work…

Why is it that when people tell us not to do something it seems to happen as if by magic? How many times has someone said, “watch you don’t fall” just before someone goes crashing to the floor? Could it be that by saying don’t do something you could cause that thing to happen. Yes!Absolutely!

Here’s an experiment…

Right, I don’t want you to think of a pink monkey…Now don’t think of that pink monkey dancing and playing a purple guitar…

And whatever you do, please don’t imagine that the pink monkey is dancing on the back of a green elephant riding a motorbike.

While I can’t actually prove you weren’t thinking those thoughts, I’m100% certain that you were.

“Not” is just a word - but as humans we usually have to experience something in order to understand what “not” to do something would be like.

I actually tried a headline out that simply said…

“Do Not Read This Ad…”

The response rate went up by almost 500% from the previous headline I used!

What would you do if you received an envelope that had these words written on it…

“Do Not Open This Envelope”

I know what I’d do!

3. I Want It, I Want It, I Want It!

If something is not readily available it increases in desirability and value. Just think about diamonds or precious metals. They’re little more than pretty stones or shiny metals. We can create equally attractive jewellery without them yet people will put their life at risk, commit crimes and even kill people to acquire them.

If you are selective about who you choose to work with, people will attach much more value and pride to working with you. Harvard Business School understands this, DeBeers understand this, Ferrari understands this.

Harley Davidson actually turned its business around by creating an 18 month waiting list.

So tell people they can’t have you and give them a positive (or aspirational) reason why and many will go out of their way to find a way of getting to the top of your waiting list.

4. Polarity Responders

Some people are habitual polarity responders. If you tell them to do something, they’ll resist. If you tell them not to do it they’ll go ahead and do it. In the right circumstances we all do this polarity response. When you recognise it you can use it to devastating effect.

For instance if you get a prospect who’s being really testy - saying things like “XYZ Co’s prices are lower than yours! Why is that?” or “Why should I trust you?” the worst thing you can do is try and give them a convincing answer. They’ll just create a new objection. Here’s what I’d do instead…

CUSTOMER: “XYZ Co are cheaper than you. Why shouldn’t I just go with them?”

YOU: “You’re right XYZ Co are cheaper than me. I believe you only get what you pay for but if price is an issue for you then maybe you should just use them instead.”

CUSTOMER: “Why should I just trust what you say?”

YOU: “I don’t want you trust what I’ve just said. I want you to consider the facts and make up your own mind about which solution is right for you.”

I’d urge you to practice these approaches in a safe environment first - i.e. where you’re not too bothered whether you get a sale or not. Once you see how it works first hand then have some fun with it and trust yourself to use it tactic only when appropriate.


I hope you enjoyed that guest spot from Debbie because I’ve asked her to come back again in a few weeks.

======================================================= 
"Dangerous" Debbie Jenkins is a marketer, author and 
stand-up comedian who helps the owners of small expert 
businesses get more success by doing and spending less. 
Join her FREE eZine at… Lean Marketing Tips 
======================================================== 

Recommended Reading

There are so many self-help and personal development books around these days,where do you go if you want to make a good investment of your time and money? I’ve recommended the books in these reviews is because I have read them (some many times) and found them to be personally useful or useful at work

50 Success Classics

No, not 50 books but a way of reading 50 books by buying only one.

Tom Butler Bowden has put together 50 detailed reviews of some of the great success classics. He’s pulled out the main themes from titles such as The Richest Man in Babylon, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and TheMagic Of Thinking Big and summarised them for you.

There is the inside track from people like Jack Welch, Henry Ford, John Paul Getty, Benjamin Franklin, Nelson Mandela and even Sun Tzu!

This is not for everyone but it’s a great little book and I use it all the time for dipping into. It would make a good present too.

Read more or buy now at Amazon.


Lighthouse 365 offers professional coaching for managers everywhere. We offer management training, team building, coaching and development programmes. We specialise in creating opportunities for managers and teams to improve their performance. Whether you are a manager in a SME, public sector, large corporate or are running your own business, we can help you to improve your performance.