Yes, that is great advice in many situations. Persistence is a powerful force that helps less talented people out-produce their competition. But sometimes the more powerful technique is just the opposite.
Instead of not taking ‘No’ for an answer, how about giving ‘No’ for an answer?
Here’s what I’m talking about. I had to get my car towed recently. I had $75 of towing coverage with my insurance, so anything more than that would come out of my pocket. I called around and found prices from $90 – $130. Then I called the insurance company. They offered to set it up for me for $130. It would have been the easiest way, the path of least resistance, and they had it all lined up for me to say ‘Yes’.
But ‘Yes’ would have cost me $40 more than if we went with the $90 company. My insurance company was not concerned with my out of pocket expense. They were just doing what was easiest for them. So I paused a moment, then did something real smart.
I gave ‘No’ for an answer.
To be precise, what I said was “No, I’m not going to do that.” The woman on the phone was a bit taken aback. But I explained myself by asking her what she would do if it were her money. Would she use the $130 tow company or the $90 company? Yeah, I didn’t think so either.
In the end she ordered the $90 tow and did the calling for me – I didn’t have to put forth any further effort. Though it only took a two- minute conversation, it did take some emotional effort on my part to resist the easy path. But my reward was $40 American dollars and a dollop of dignity.
Think about this. How many times have you taken the easy path and just said ‘Yes’? How often have you spent more because you didn’t make the effort to negotiate a better price? How about other things, like not asking for a late check-out at a hotel, not contesting an over-charge at the cash register, letting someone put you on hold, or not asking for an appointment that fit your schedule?
And how many times have you been stuck doing something you really didn’t want to do? Did you do the easy thing, say ‘Yes’ to someone’s request, then regret having to follow through? Have you ever spent too much time or energy doing things for others simply because you didn’t want to disappoint someone or have an awkward moment?
If any of this rings true for you, please consider giving ‘No‘ for an answer next time.