Sometimes No is a kind word.
In 2017 I transitioned from a company employed CIO to an Advisor for hire. This new role as an Advisor requires business development skills I am still evolving. Seasoned sales people tell me they strive to successfully close 30% of their deals. That means a 70% rejection rate! Consequently, I jokingly refer to business development as rejection development.
The one thing I have come to appreciate is people who say “no”. I know that is somewhat counter-intuitive. However, it is liberating for both the prospect and the salesperson. Saying “maybe”, not responding at all, or not saying “yes” leaves a sense of hope for the salesperson. This just creates an ongoing annoyance for both parties. The salesperson will continue to annoyingly pursue the opportunity that may or may not exist. The prospect continues to annoyingly dodge calls, avoid answering email, and avoid eye contact/meetings. By saying “no” you avoid this ongoing discomfort for both parties. The sales person and prospect can move on to more fruitful activities.
Last month I was meeting with another seasoned sales person who said one of their goals this year is to “fail fast”. Their goal is to get rid of the 70% rejections as efficiently as possible. This allows them to get to the 30% successes quicker. Overall, they should be able to increase the volume of the 30% instead of wasting time on the portion of “maybe” in the 70%.
So if you can’t say “yes” for whatever reason, please just say “no”.