Seth Godin is a master at providing pithy, sage advice and I couldn’t go past a recent post of his that really spells out the importance of knowing when to say NO.

His article made me recall an earlier article I wrote back on 2007 called ‘Learn to say NO’ which focused on standing up for your value and pricing and not being intimidated by bully buyers.

All of this coincided with an article in The Age newspaper this week about ‘The customer can be wrong’ highlighting the issue of employee safety around sexual harassment of staff by customers.

What’s happening out there in sales and service land?

So many people in sales and service roles get caught up in trying to please other people at their own expense, or having to say things that they don’t believe in, or compromising their ethics and values by doing something dodgy, and so on. This is not good sales and service. This is the dark side of sales and service. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

So regardless of your role, if you find yourself in challenging situations where you don’t feel quite right and you want to lead an honourable life, I thought Seth Godin’s guide to saying ‘no’ might come in handy.

On saying “no”

If you’re not proud of it, don’t serve it.

If you can’t do a good job, don’t take it on.

If it’s going to distract you from the work that truly matters, pass.

If you don’t know why they want you to do this, ask.

If you need to hide it from your mom, reconsider.

If it benefits you but not the people you care about, decline.

If you’re going along with the crowd, that’s not enough.

If it creates a habit that costs you in the long run, don’t start.

If it doesn’t move you forward, hesitate then walk away.

The short run always seems urgent, and a moment where compromise feels appropriate. But in the long run, it’s the good ‘no’s that we remember.

On the other hand, there’s an imperative to say “yes.” Say yes and build something that matters.

You can see it is very helpful advice whatever situation you find yourself in.

If you would like to understand more about how to sell based on a fair exchange of value and learn how to say NO and hold your value please check out our free online Sales Essentials Test Drive module or our full 8 Module Sales Essentials Program.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

Author: Sue Barrett, 

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