How to say NO to clients

You don’t want to say “NO” to your clients, do you? But you don’t want to say “YES” either if their requests cannot be met. So how do you solve this dilemma?

Ask yourself, why should you avoid the word NO as much as possible while selling or giving customer service?
Because in our mind, the word NO is associated with denial, danger and refusal.

Think about it.
How do parents refrain their kids from jumping out of a window, or cooking themselves alive in the oven, or drinking a full bottle of laundry detergent?
By saying, and sometime screaming, the word no.
Tens, hundreds, thousands of times every day and every time the word NO is supposed to produce a little shock in the kids’ brain so that they stop the dangerous thing they are doing immediately.
And by the way parents very rightly do this, to protect and educate their children.

But then, as these children grow, the association between the word NO and the little shock I mentioned before gets stronger and they can’t help but feel something here, in the pit of their stomach, every time they hear the word NO.

In luxury sales, and luxury customer service, we want our conversations with our clients to be as fluid and effortless as possible.
We want to build bridges with them, and the word NO happens to be a barrier, as small as it may be.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that we should say YES to every request, because:

  • not every request can be accommodated
  • not giving clients all they ask for is often a very powerful sales tactic, that I will cover extensively in upcoming articles and videos

Choose to rephrase the sentences that contain the word NO.

Rather than say: “No, I can’t give you a reimbursement” you can choose to say “I wish I could reimburse you, but I am very happy to offer you a product exchange and you will surely find something suitable amongst our hundreds of beautiful watches, jewels, shoes, mobile devices, pieces of furniture” or whatever else.

Or else, rather than answering: “I am sorry but this collection is not available in red” you can try with “ This collection is available in white and black, and if you are looking for something red, I am pleased to show you this stunning new collection…

Do you see the difference between the two approaches?

Do you understand what I am talking about?

While you are still being very honest and straight forward with your clients saying that the option they asked for is not available, you make an effort to make it sound sweeter, more personalized, and most importantly, as you have to rephrase the sentence, you are forced to put yourself into your clients’ shoes and look for alternatives.

And that’s what I love about this technique, or little sleight of mouth if you will.
It’s that this little twist of words forces me to think and change my perspective and to focus on clients’ needs.
And that’s what companies, sales associates and customer service associates often forget about.

You don’t get to drop the word NO without little bit of practice

My favorite practice is to engage in a little competition with my business partners or friends and that’s how it works:
We agree that for the next half an hour we’ll avoid saying NO, and the first who says it has to pay duty.
And we try to make the other one fail.

So, for example, if we’re walking down the street and we pass a shop window that displays an item I know the other person wouldn’t like at all, I suddenly turn my head and ask: “Hey, is this the phone you wanted to buy?
Most of the time my associate will instinctively answer “NO!”, and that’s how I win my prize!

I said it before, I love this technique and I enjoy using it, and I hope you’ll enjoy it too if you decide to give it a try.

It’s a small effort that leads to big changes and it helps you influence the way your clients see you.

Choosing the words you say gives you an edge against your competitors, and a little bit of control over the way you are perceived by your clients.

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