Saying an Emphatic “No!” Can Be Your Best Approach

Saying an Emphatic “No!” Can Be Your Best Approach

Business Building Action from Terry Brock

Relationship Marketing is a time-honored way to build your business. When people feel they know you, they like you and they can trust you, they are more likely to want to do business with you.

There are a lot of activities you can do. With today’s social media, Internet and all that is going on, you will never lack for something to do. However, the problem comes, as so many of us have seen, that the good really becomes the enemy of the best for you.

The most successful relationship marketers, and most successful in business, are those who carefully chose how to allocate their precious resources of TME, time, money, and energy. The most important is your energy because without that, you can’t do anything worthwhile.

Second in priority is your time. We all have the same amount. How we allocate it is up to us based on decisions we’ve made previously. You have to be resolute and determined to avoid costly time-wasters as you build relationships in business.

You have limited time as well as money today so you have to focus on those activities and people which are going to yield the harvest you need as a Relationship Farmer. A farmer can’t take care of every individual corn stalk on a 1,000-acre farm. The successful farmer focuses TME where it yields the best results. This is what you and I have to do.

This means we have to say no — regularly. You can’t go to every networking event. If you’ve been to a particular venue and people who will probably never recommend you and never buy from you are about 95% of those attending — exercise your “No!” muscle a little more.

Careful! You don’t want to say “No!” to someone who could possibly recommend you to a paying customer later. And just because someone can’t say yes today doesn’t mean they won’t be able to tomorrow.

So, how do you separate the “tire kickers” from those who either will or seriously could buy in the future? How can you, as a successful Relationship Farmer focus your TME on those areas which will be most beneficial?

Here’s something that has helped me and you might find it beneficial. Take the time to do some tough, intellectual work. Think through what is most important for you in your personal life and the business you do. What really matters most? Focus on those tasks and get them done.

This is the basic philosophy of Ivy Lee, a noted consultant in the late 19th Century Lee gave this idea to Charles Schwab, a steel magnate who served under the remarkable Andrew Carnegie. Schwab came to Lee because he was swamped and couldn’t get everything done on his To Do list.

Ivy Lee came back to him with sage advice to write down the priorities and then attack them in order of their importance. This sounds like basic advice, yet it transformed Schwab and his team. Ivy Lee told Schwab he could pay whatever it was worth. Schwab gave him an astronomical amount for that time, $25,000. This was at a time when the average laborer was getting $1.00 to $2.00 per day.

Prioritize based on your values. Determine what is right for you. Warren Buffet tells us that he says no at least 20 times more than he says yes. I think that is a pretty good ratio today given all the good opportunities we have.

Learning to say no — politely and rapidly — can help you find those areas which generate a lot more benefits.

Sometimes you’ll say, “Not yet.” Some prospects won’t be able to buy from you now but you want to stay in touch, keep them in your “C” list (those not doing business now but who might or could recommend you). You can do this with value to them by offering a free newsletter or video channel that targets specific needs they have. Always give value to them. Do it at low cost to you and high value for them.

Learning to say No to some is the best way to say yes to the right people — right for you and for them. It is the same with activities. Saying no to the B and even B+ activities frees you to say yes to the A and A+ activities for you.

Need more help? I offer a range of coaching to help people just like you to solve real world problems. Drop me a note at and we can begin a conversation to see if it is a good fit. I look forward to hearing from you!


Terry Brock, MBA, CSP, CPAE
Member, Professional Speaker Hall of Fame
Certified Speaking Professional

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