The Power of No

Sometimes ‘no’ can be your most powerful asset.

Business agreements must be about negotiating deals that make sense. It sounds simple but there are more challenges today than ever that get in the way of both sides being satisfied with coming to an agreement that everyone is happy with.

Why is that? It’s simple. The stresses of today’s business world sees many people under pressure to make things happen ‘today’, making it more challenging to back away from a deal. Most people simply cannot say ‘no’ because they are fearful of what may happen if they walk away!

People often say, “Well, I have to accept what they’ve offered. What choice do I have?” Feeling like you don’t have a choice is a choice in itself!

Is walking away easy? It is easier than you think but it takes patience and experience. Understanding the importance of being able to say ‘no’ comes from learning how to build great relationships that are sustainable and mutually beneficial to both parties.

Experience also comes from being burned in the past!

If you have ever been shafted, lied to, taken advantage of and deceived in a business relationship, make no mistake about it…there is a good chance that it will never happen again. Those lessons can be an invaluable education that no university course can teach you!

I have always believed that rejection is protection. Pushing for that deal that is all on your terms may result in rejection from the other side, however, it may be the best thing that happens. Great partnerships are not a result of pushing something harder onto someone. Remember the ‘square peg into a round hole’ analogy!

Partnerships should feel good right from the very beginning. Nothing is guaranteed in life but sometimes, you just get that feeling that doing the deal is the right thing.

Building relationships usually takes some time. While the bottom-line may not be impacted in your favor right away, if you have a prudent sense of intuition, you will gain that feeling that you are ‘jumping in with both feet’ with the right partner from the start.

Instant successes that turn into sustainable partnerships are about as rare as long-term relationships that begin with one-night stands! Never say never but……

So what happens if you are well down the road toward forming a strategic partnership and something happens that makes you question if it is really the right thing to do? Well, one thing is certain – it is not prudent to simply walk away without making an honest effort to bring the relationship back on track. After all, something intrigued you to get that far along in the negotiations before things went sideways.

Try taking off your negotiating hat, stop posturing, and playing poker and just be black-and-white honest. Honesty in business – now there is an approach to try!

Often times, one side wants to feel like they have the ‘hammer’ in the negotiations. It gives them a sense of superiority and a feeling of winning the game. But if one side wins and the other does not, have they won anything at all? If two sides enter into an agreement and only one wins, the partnership will not last….it CANNOT last long-term!

Nobody likes a bully – not in the schoolyard and not in the boardroom. Today, business is tough. People must work together and ‘scratch and claw’ together to get favorable results. Nothing ‘just happens’!

Eventually the one with the ‘hammer’ gains an unfavorable reputation; creating partnerships going forward becomes much more challenging for them, not just with you, but throughout their industry.

If you have the ‘hammer’ in the negotiations, recognize it but don’t flaunt it; you will be without it at some point going forward and that is inevitable.

If you do not have the ‘hammer’, do not waste all of your time, energy and resources trying to wrestle it away from the other side! Even if you do wrestle the ‘hammer’ away, the partnership will be challenged going forward. If you have to fight that hard for transparency and to work out a deal that is fair, then you have the wrong group at the table to partner with. Walk away…in fact, RUN away!

Ask yourself this:

“With all of the time, money, resources, energy and passion that has been put into this deal, could we have gone out and developed 5 other partnerships that would have yielded more and left us with a better feeling that we had accomplished all that we’d set out to accomplish?”

Life is too short for strained partnerships of any kind.

Being prepared to walk away from a deal that does not feel right will prove to be one of your biggest attributes going forward. You will gain strength and respect among your peers; other potential partners will also respect you more for professionally standing your ground. Most importantly, you will be more empowered because you will respect yourself.

The power of ‘no’ is a very important attribute to have.

Great partnerships are ones where both sides feel that they have contributed to building something that is successful and sustainable.

What makes a great partnership? When you both are fighting for the same dream.

Remember, nothing great was ever accomplished alone.