Saying “No”

By | May 31, 2007

I spent an infuriating two hours with two people this morning cupping, tasting and preparing coffee at my taste rooms. I sort of knew what would happen and in hindsight I should have said ‘No’ to the meeting which was a waste of time (except that I tasted a fabulous Ethiopian Yirgacheffe). They were not potential customers and wanted to extract as much information as they could for their own benefit without giving anything back. I suppose I expected to get some information return.

It made me think that I tend to admire people who can say “No” and mean it, even if it is not what I want to hear. At least I know where I stand. Unfortunately not everybody has that ability to be clear. To a salesman like me ‘maybe’ or ‘let me think about that’ – anything to buy time so that you will go away – is part and parcel of the job and we can get very good at reading the signals which of course is an important professional skill when trying to close deals.

But my point really is that in business we have to be able to prioritise well and if we are clear about saying ‘No’ people can build that all important trust and respect for each others time and expertise. They will know where they stand and it allows them to move on to the next stage of a decision or outcome quickly.

There is nothing more infuraiting than the person who says he will do something and then intentionally does nothing – a kind of benign neglect. There is no intention of delivering and they are secure in the knowledge that the longer you have to wait the less likely you are to succeed.

So top tip for today – just say ‘No’ to these people. I am going to read this blog myself now!


One thought on “Saying “No”

  1. Will O'Connor

    I love it – somebody like myself! Couldnt agree more with both of you. Thought the Caffe Culture presentation was fantastic, good fun and not hard work like the others. So many common sense ideas – like this – except Yes I want more.

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