Many times I have tried to get something approved just to hear a negative answer. This use to depress me because I thought it was the end of my efforts. Shut down again…
But I soon learned that “No” may just be an opening negotiating stance. Most times when people say “no” it is just an initial reaction to something they think will fail, or that it is just “change” that they don’t want to adapt too. “No” means that they are “initially” against whatever you are proposing, but maybe not the final answer. Getting around the “No” is the next step.
I use to work under someone that said “No” to just about everything that I brought up. He was not my direct Manager so thankfully I did not have to go to him with all of my requests. But when he was the bottom line approver on some issues, I had to deal with him. I learned that his initial “no” was not always the final answer. I learned that I could keep negotiating toward an approval.
Here are some practical tips for getting around the initial “no”:
1. Ask a few clarifying questions and get back to the issue later. Don’t be tempted to back away, stop talking or get mad.
2. Agree with the areas that they may be correct on, but don’t concede the fight. This is a process that includes stepping aside so that you can come at the problem from a different angle.
3. Regroup and rethink. Do you really need what was refused? If so – take up the topic again at another time. Believe me, wearing someone down does work. Don’t be annoying, just persistent.
4. Run through the consequences of their “no”. Make sure they understand the outcome of not approving your request. Don’t over-inflate the impact, just the facts.
5. Strive toward a compromised outcome where both parties can come out with something. If the other person thinks they are doing all of the giving, they will be more inclined to stick with the “no”.