I once worked with someone who couldn’t handle the answer, “No.” It was a lot like dealing with a child. One day I literally saw her stomp, raise her voice and throw a book! She then spent the rest of the day trying to “rallying the troops” and get other employees on her side – just to hear someone say she was right and should have gotten what she wanted. At one point, she went so far as to file a grievance against her boss. Hearing ‘no’ was not in her skillset and sadly it really hurt her in the long run.  

Whether she felt she was right or not, had she bothered to take a moment of self-reflection, she may have seen there were non-personal reasons she hadn’t gotten what she wanted.   

Hearing ’no’ is not the worst thing in the world. What might feel like rejection could actually be the opening of a door. It’s all about how you perceive the situation. If you take a moment to view the opportunities, there may be great things in the mix. Remember there is always a win-win to be had if you keep your eyes open to possibilities. Besides that, negativity will rarely bring you satisfaction or bring about the change you’re looking for.  

Here’s some reality for you: You aren’t entitled to everything you want. But! …. You can negotiate just about everything! From your cell phone bill and your cable service, to salaries and even your home loan – everything is negotiable. And that means a NO is really a ‘NOT NOW’.  

How do you negotiate through a ‘No’? Here are three critical pieces: 

  1. Change your mind set about win-lose situations. No one has to lose in a negotiation, and it doesn’t have to be aggressive. The art of interest-based negotiating (IBN) is realizing you and the other person both want the same thing: a good deal. (And if you haven’t studied up on IBN, do so right now!So, the trick is – find the win-win! How? Talk! Continue the conversation until you both discover a mutually beneficial solution. 
  2. Come to the table prepared. You wouldn’t take a test completely unprepared, so why would you begin negotiations without a plan? Do your research. Know what can help the other person, but also know what else is available on the market. Shop around, have the price comparisons and services ready. Careful research also shows the other person how seriously you take them and respect their time – which is already a win-win!  
  3. Rehearsal. There’s a reason I include role-playing when I’m coaching clients – it works! Break out of your comfort zone and practice in front of the mirror, with a friend, with a colleague – or even better yet, find a mentor and practice with them. Write a script if it helps!  

To reframe ‘No’, realize you have a big opportunity to learn something about yourself or the situation. Get to understand why it’s a ‘no’ and explore it. Ask why! Be respectful and professional and most people will share their rationale 

So, this week, find something small to negotiate like the interest rate on your credit card, write a script, do your research and make the ask! You can absolutely do this!