The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”   ~ Warren Buffett

People need to learn to say no.

We live in a world where people would rather die than be seen as the one who has to say no to another human being.

However, it must be understood that we do not want to say yes, either.  We say “maybe” or “not now” or “come back in three months” or “we don’t have the budget for this right now” – or a host of other things we know are not true so we do not have to say “no.”

All of this is based on the premise that we do not want to hurt people’s feelings.

The problem is eventually you will. You are just putting things off, hoping the other person goes away, or worse yet, ignoring their text, phone calls, or emails, praying they leave you alone.

The challenge I have for you is to think about what benefit are you creating? (None!)

Not only are you giving people hope that you will eventually say yes when you won’t, but you are wasting both your time and theirs dancing the dance of maybe later.

If the answer is no, and it absolutely will be no, you will not help anyone by not saying so. Those asking will continue to approach you, hoping that situations will change with time and distance, and a “maybe” will become a “yes,” and you will continue to be stressed trying not to disappoint that person.

Does any of this ring true for you?

Have you ever chased a situation long after you should have let it go, hoping there will be a positive outcome eventually?

Have you ever been pursued by someone, professionally or personally, when you know deep down inside you will never entertain the proposition they are proposing?

How did it make you feel?

Did you want that person to stop pursuing you?

Did you want to know yes or no – and move on either way?

Most people do.

Would you prefer a straight answer?

Most people want to be treated honestly and with respect.

Saying no to someone or something is not the end of the world. Here is a fact most people do not realize about salespeople: They prefer a straight answer.

By hearing no, the salesperson has immediately qualified the buyer. They can find out why the answer is no, learn from it, and move on. They do not have to waste time and effort gathering additional information, following up, and attending meetings with no chance for success.

Those of you being pursued, think about it from a selfish point of view. You do not have to spend time and effort on something you are not moving forward with, and you do not have to take meetings and spend time gathering information on things that will not benefit you.

Now, if the answer is genuinely maybe, or not now, I beg you to be forthcoming with not only these statements but also why and when. This will enable the salesperson to follow up at a time that is beneficial to you, and prepare the additional information you need to move forward.

But if your answer is genuinely no, why are you wasting everyone’s time and effort?

Whether it is personal or corporate, whether inside the company or external, being decisive enables everyone to move on and devote time and energy to ideas and opportunities that are more productive and valuable.

No is not a horrible word. It qualifies whether you are interested or not, whether you find value or not, and whether you are willing to proceed.

Very rarely is it personal.

Very rarely is it a slight from one person to another.

It is merely a way to definitively communicate whether it is the right time, the right place, the right opportunity, or the right proposal…or not.

Here is wishing everyone health, safety, and long-term success.

Connect with Ben HERE to discuss how to provide your people with the skills and mindset they need to lead teams effectively into the new normal.