Do you have the force of character to say no?

Boundary this, son

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Saying no is an instrument of integrity and a shield against exploitation.

But it’s also a useful business strategy. Not for selling, but for enabling people to buy.

I listen to a lot of interviews with movie producers, television executives and entertainment lawyers and celebrity agents. And one strategy they all agree on is, the best way to get what you want is to say no. It sounds counterintuitive and foolish, but to a person of power, saying no is like chum in the water. It ignites their persistence. It motivates them double down on their pursuit of your product.

After all, they’re used to hearing yes at the drop of a hat.

And so, the unexpected rejection earns their attention and attracts their interest. Because when you walk away from the table, the buyer is left with an impression that he is missing out on something.

I have a friend who runs a boutique advertising agency, and his company closes ten percent of the business he says no to. Ten percent. That’s criminal. But he says that by rejecting lucrative offers, certain prospects come to desire and respect his services even more. That’s how confidence changes the conversation.

What’s more, the owner of the company trusts that the opportunity won’t go away, that the rejection won’t come off as selfish and that he won’t hurt the prospect’s feelings.

Think about it. Parents employ this strategy every day. How else are they supposed to get kids to eat broccoli? Tell them they’re not old enough to eat those foods yet. How else are they supposed to get kids ready for school? Tell them they’re not sure they can get ready fast enough.

It’s strategic oppositionalism. Reverse psychology. Giving the child independence and power and pride.

And the good news is, customers are no different. They’re just big kids with money.

Don’t fret over the consequences of refusing. Saying no won’t tilt the world on its axis. Try rejecting a few customers and see if they close you.

Do you have the force of character to say no?

For the list called, “99 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur, Even If You Aren’t One,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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Author. Speaker. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Founder of Pioneer of Personal Creativity Management (PCM). I also wear a nametag 24/7.

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