sly : marketing

The power of No

Yes is such a powerful word. An open door is an invitation, a smile will get you instant positive feedback. Nod your head, and the person next to you will say thank you.

Thank you customer service

But, only a strategy and a plan will get you the places you need to go. That’s why, in your business, no is a more important word than yes.

If you are the one asking the question, you want yes every time. That’s why your first thought when someone is asking you a question, is yes; you know how it feels to get no – it doesn’t feel good.

Yes, is a response to a question. Someone asks you for your help, you reply, and most of the time, you might reply because you are always saying yes; your door is open, and you are inviting everyone inside.

People will like you, if you get things done. But, saying yes every single time won’t get you far. You’ll be popular, you’ll be the person people will ask (every single time) they need something done – but you’ll end up always chasing your dream.

If your time and your help is unlimited, people will take you for granted. Instead, set your goal, think that your strategy is your guide, and that your resources are limited. Scarcity is always a good thing in business. It will increase awareness and focus.

That’s why, as I’m writing this, I’m thinking about the weather in Norway. We’ve been experiencing a fantastic July, and it’s been raining every single day during August. Scarcity makes you appreciate what you’ve got.

Do you believe that you’ll end up making your dreams come true by saying no?



12 responses to “The power of No”

  1. Tim Bonner says:

    I used to be terrible at saying No Jens before I became a manager when I was still in employment. I soon learned that saying yes all the time just wasn’t an option because there’s only so many hours in the day. Clients also need to learn that they can’t always have what they want when they want it.

    It’s a bit of a balancing act at times but saying no can sometimes be the best option if it’s not going to help you move forward in your personal life or business.

  2. Bren Lee says:

    Powerful post Jens! Unfortunately, I’ve never had a problem saying “no” especially in my workplace. If I can’t possibly do it, when would I say “yes”? You will be pegged as the “Yes Man” and then the first time you say “No”, you’ll be shunned. Never bite off more than you can chew is the old saying. By saying “No” allows you more time to make YOUR dreams happen, not someone else’s. In today’s world, we have to be about ourselves, right? Who else is going to look out for us?

    • Hi Bren,

      I have a huge problem saying “no”, but I’m getting better. My biggest challenge is that I don’t have a strategy and I just keep going without any clear direction to where I am heading. This way, saying “yes” doesn’t hurt me as much as it would if I had the strategy. In other words, I’m working on the strategy right now.

  3. Lisa Buben says:

    Hi Jens, oh yes NO can be very powerful. It keeps you focused too – otherwise you are doing things for others 24/7 and never taking care of your own stuff to make your dreams come true whether in business or personal life. I don’t mind saying NO more now than I did years ago. It may be hard at first but over time it gets easier and easier 🙂

  4. Matthew Hall says:

    I come from a culture where saying No is seen as being very rude. Instead, every assignment is accepted, even if fulfilling that assignment is done in a passive-aggressive way.

    So naturally, when I began saying No without any reasons why, I was often met with awkward silence.

    I felt very empowered. Why do I owe someone an explanation if I simply don’t have the time or capacity to do something right now?

    I’ve since learned to say No with a bit more tact, but the powerful lesson remains: being able to say No means you remain the master of your own time.

    Just yesterday, I came across a post on a closely related subject. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, wrote:

    “As Warren Buffet is credited with having said, ‘The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”

    • Hi Matthew,

      I always do my best to explain the reason why I need to say no. This way they’ll understand why, and hopefully they won’t get mad. On the other hand, like you said, we don’t owe them an explanation, but most people probably would get a bit irritated if we just said no without explaining why.

      -Jens

  5. Josh says:

    Two of the most powerful tools I use in business are saying no and silence. Sometimes I am intentionally quiet because I want to see how firm the other side is in their conviction.

    I am definitely a fan of saying no. It is a powerful word and it is not used enough.

  6. Adrienne says:

    Hey Jens,

    I had to learn how to say no myself and it didn’t feel very good to start off with but I’m good saying it now. There just aren’t enough hours in my day to do all I would love to do and that’s helping people when they ask me. But I’m running a business and if I’m not doing the work then I’m not moving in the right direction so like you said, I’ll be popular but people will start to take advantage of you and that’s never a good thing.

    Thanks for this very important message.

    Sorry your weather has been bad but with September upon us now I sure hope it gets better.

    ~Adrienne

    • Hey Adrienne,

      It’s great that you’ve become good at saying no. I’m getting better as well. As long as we understand the importance, it’s easier to say it.

      The weather in September has been much better than August. The sun is shining and the rain is gone 🙂

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