Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Art of No, so you don't have an Ut-Oh!

If there is one lesson I learned in all of my business relationships is that it is better to say no upfront than risk the Ut-Oh later. Too many people are programmed that they must always do what the customer wants. This is partially true. You must do want the customer wants as long as it can be done within the expectation levels of both parties. So here is the get, learn to manage the expectation levels of people, and you will find improved results. Be forthright, honest and speak with conviction. Now, I am well aware that it is easier said then done, however, to build lasting business relationship you must build trust. Trust comes simply from saying what you mean, and doing what you said. If you say 2 days, do it in 2 days. If there is a problem, communicate that before the deadline. And always, always, always take the responsibility square on your shoulders whether it is your fault or not. That builds more trust.  It also quiets the noise and emotion. Normally when there is an escalation of any sorts in business, it is the cya cc brand. Cover your ass with a host of cc's. Respond quickly and with conviction and be sure to Reply All. 

No is not a bad word. It should be seen as a source of strength. You are so confident in your abilities that you do not want to risk the relationship. You may lose a deal, but you will gain their trust. Too many suppliers have been pushed down the bloodthirsty path of bids. How many ways can we invent to have bid to make people do things they are not comfortable. Many times I would "no response" to a bid explaining that I would not be able to perform to our standards in that price range. It is not a strategy, it is a conviction.

If we all would base our business actions on our personal lives, maybe it would create room for creativity.

When is the last time you truly asked an employee for their thoughts? 

So No means No. Be prepared for transformation. 

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