When does no mean yes? - Churchill Howard

When does no mean yes?

Business Manager Graham Purcell talks about the need to think carefully about why customers make the decisions they make

Resilience is key in recruitment. And in life. We’ll all have our fair share of knocks and setbacks – it’s how you respond to those situations that determines how successful you’ll be.

When a prospect or a stakeholder you want to influence says no, it would pay to think a little more carefully why they’ve made that decision. When you get to grips with it, they’ve made a decision – as we all do – based on a number of things:

  • The facts surrounding the situation from their perspective
  • The information you have given them
  • Other information they know that you don’t

Further, their past experiences in similar situations will also guide their decision making: if, every time you drink coffee you are violently sick, you’ll soon stop buying coffee – even if you love the taste, if someone’s trying to sell you coffee – or even give it away, you ain’t gonna buy it!

So what can we do to influence our stakeholders? Sometimes, nothing. And that’s the right thing to do – if influencing the situation in your favour is to one individual / group’s detriment then leave it alone! The person that brags about being able to sell anything to anyone isn’t a great salesperson, they’re a con artist!

But sometimes it’s the right thing to do to influence outcomes. Sometimes, it’s better for everyone – it’s adding value. But your stakeholder has said ‘no’. What can you do?

You can’t change someone’s mind. But they can. The decision they have made is on the information that they were aware of at the time of making the decision. So, to change the decision, you need to provide new information: if you’re selling a product or service then new information about its benefits – saving time, saving money or giving peace of mind; if selling an idea the new information could be about the vision, strategy or potential of the idea – new information can solicit a new decision.

To go back to our coffee example, if a new derivative of coffee had been created that didn’t have the allergen which caused you to be sick and had the same great taste, perhaps you’d be interested in learning more? New information, new decision.

Your stakeholders are similar– same information, same decision. New information, new decision. So no, you can’t change someone’s mind but they can – and they will if you play it right.


Posted by: Graham Purcell – Business Manager

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