There’s a current trend of saying “no” as a way to become more productive and happy. Everyone is writing about it: here, here and here.

But what do you do if you are on the other end of “no”?

How do you take the next step when someone is not responding to your requests for a meeting because they are saying no and focusing on things that are more important to them?

What’s the best way to break through someone else’s perception that you are less valuable to them right now than something else on their plate?

Being desirable isn’t just convincing people you are valuable, it’s convincing them that they want you to be valuable.

It’s true, people are more accessible than ever before. You can send a tweet to almost anyone and they will see it. You can get a LinkedIn invite to someone’s inbox in seconds. You can comment on their blog, you can send them a note card or mail them a pen with their name on it. But you are not standing out, you are just making more noise and it might be doing more damage rather than clearing a path to your desired goal.

Being honest at every level is the most important trait of building a strong network. But you need to start by being honest with yourself. Whether it is a potential prospect or a potential mentor you are seeking out, being honest with yourself is the first step at getting past the no. I’ve caught myself in the past being dishonest with myself about why I needed to talk to someone or have their acknowledgement. Including potential customers. And I set myself up for failure because the other side senses this.

Here’s four ways to break through “no”.

1. “To thine own self be true” is Polonius’ last piece of advice to his son Laertes in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. If you are not being true to yourself you are pursuing things that are false. He suggests avoiding activities that are detrimental to your image and by true he means loyal to your own best interests. In order to be desirable to others you have to first take care of yourself and create a strong image. Polonius suggests taking care of yourself first and that way you will be in a position to take care of others.

2. Take care of others. What is the value you are creating? You can’t get past the “no” unless you are creating value for someone other than yourself. Before you can even get to the point where someone could say “no” you have to create enormous value. Value starts with understanding who the other side is and what their challenges are. In today’s world you don’t need to talk directly to the person to find out what might create value to them. But as I suggested above a tweet or a LinkedIn invite might not do it.

3. Understand someone else’s “no” is a tool they are using to protect themselves. They have limited time and energy and they want to focus on what’s most important and has the greatest return on investment to them now. Their “no” has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Often a “no” simply means ‘not now’. Try the question, “under what circumstances would you say yes?”

4. When you do receive a “no,” recognize that you have not created enough value or your value is not understood. Rethink your strategy, rework your communication and start over.

You almost always have enough rope to create a lasso or a noose. The great thing is you have a choice of how to use the rope.

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. I love this post Craig. As you said, getting past someones “no” comes down to what kind of value you can create and how you communicate that value to them. Often times, people miss out on great opportunities because they fail to listen and use “no” as a shield. These people are the most difficult to crack so you have to be strategic in how you initially communicate with them.

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