In a recent two-part series we discussed how to effectively turn down requests you don’t want to accept. Done correctly, you’ll employ tact and kindness while still getting your point across and discouraging continued requests.
That will work for any of life’s situations, whether being asked to serve on a committee or attend an event you don’t wish to attend. It will work just as well in business as it will in social and personal situations.
Now, something a bit different. Imagine you desire to buy a product, however, either the price is too high or another aspect of the sale is unacceptable. How do you turn it down without offending the salesperson and keeping the door open to further dialogue and negotiation?
Doing this correctly is vital; first, because treating people with respect is simply right. And, the most effective way of getting what you desire is to make the other person feel good about themselves, as well as about you.
Have you ever witnessed someone saying, “That’s my final offer – take it or leave it!”? If so, did the person “leave it” even if a decent offer? The ego elicits emotional decisions and, if insulted, people will often make decisions that aren’t even in their best interests. (Yes, even salespeople. They might want the sale but –other than in extreme circumstances – typically not enough to allow themselves to feel abused.)
And, even if they are in a position where they must give in now, they’ll be tempted to somehow sabotage the arrangement and/or do what they can in the future to make life difficult for the offending person.
Another rude and counter-productive way of refusing an offer is, “There’s no way I’ll accept that. You must give me ‘such and such’ or I’m walking!” This then paints the other person into a corner and, if they agree, they have just “backed down.”
On the other hand, we can very pleasantly turn down an offer while allowing that person to “save face” and still understand they need to come back with a better offer. For example:
Salesman Steve: This is the price for the widget, and delivery will be in two weeks.
You: Thank you, Steve. I appreciate the offer. Unfortunately, at that price and the long delivery time, “I couldn’t justify” making the purchase. But I DO appreciate the offer.
You’ve very kindly and respectfully said no, while leaving his self-esteem totally intact. People like Steve want to do business with people like you. Now, say nothing and see if Steve comes back with another offer or asks you what price/delivery time you were thinking.
He probably will do just that. But, what if he doesn’t? There’s a very simple and respectful question you can then ask him. In the next article, we’ll find out what that is.
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