How to get more yeses

In 2008, the recession hit our jewelry business hard. In an instant, the company’s revenue shrank in half. I needed breathing room, so I approached one of our largest business partners and I told him that we needed a 90 percent reduction in our costs for a whole year.

He smiled, and then he laughed, and then he said, “While your honesty is certainly refreshing, I wouldn’t be in business if I just gave in to requests like yours.”

We talked for a while, and I began to hear his larger concerns. He wanted clients who would be with him for the long haul. We spoke for a bit about his goals, and my situation, and then I made another proposal. I offered him a small good-faith token of my commitment, and agreed to staying with him for an additional term.

For the first time in his career, he agreed to lower our prices by 90 percent for an entire year.

20131025-130449.jpgHow is it that some people are able to get “yeses,” while others are often met with a “no” answer? Is it that some of us are smarter, better-looking, and more talented?

Nope. Getting people to say “yes” is a skill that you can learn. It starts with things that interest, inspire, or motivate them. Whether you are trying to make a big sale, nab a great candidate, or get a vendor to cut you a deal, you have to first discover what the person really wants, and then propose a something that gives them what they want.

In this way, listening is way more important than what you say. Your pitch is irrelevant if it isn’t directed toward what a person already wants.

When I first approached our big partner, I was unsuccessful because my pitch—while very bold—didn’t speak to any of his needs. It was only when I listened to him that I learned that he wanted healthy, long-term clients. He was willing to give us a 90 percent discount when he realized we would stay with him for years to come.

I have four other secrets for getting a “yes” answer, which I will share with you over my next four posts. Here is a quick teaser:

Stay tuned for more tips on getting people to say yes. And in the meantime, let me know whether you are hoping for a big “yes” in the coming days or months. Leave a comment below so we can track your progress.

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Ignore the little voice in your head | Gallagher Training - November 4, 2013 Reply

[…] In my last post, I talked about why some people are able to get “yeses” and some people aren’t. It’s not that the former are better looking, stronger, or more athletic. They’re just people that hear the concerns and desires of others louder than the voices in their own heads. […]

Peter Collins - January 20, 2014 Reply

I was struck by the closing tips on your blog. I would add one more:
Never say die but know when to exit

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