Scott’s Thoughts: The Cost of Yes


“Saying no to something is actually much more powerful than saying yes.”

-Tom HanksAmerican actor and filmmaker.

Yes in neon.Is your default mode “yes”? For a lot of agents, building rapport is so important that “no” simply isn’t in their vocabulary. Eagerness to please, connect, and come across as a constant source of solutions can make “no” seem impossible.

But yes is expensive. Every yes is a no to something else, even if you don’t know what you’re trading in the future for the yes in the moment. We all know our time is not infinite, so why do we spend so much of it saying yes?

Some of it is caused by the allure of new opportunities. New opportunities will almost always seem more attractive than present realities. A new opportunity exists in an unsullied state of idealization. It will almost always seem more elegant and attractive than the mess we’re up to our elbows in. (Remember, midway through open heart surgery looks like murder. It’s only when we finish the operation that it’s not.)

To protect your time and commit to what matters most, you need to practice the art of saying no. Here are seven ways to respond to a variety of requests:

1. I can’t commit to this as I have other priorities at the moment.

2. Now’s not a good time as I’m in the middle of something. How about we reconnect at X time?

3. I’d love to do this but…

4. Let me think about it first and get back to you.

5. This doesn’t meet my needs now, but I’ll be sure to keep you in mind.

6. I’m not the best person to help on this. Why don’t you try [name of a referral]?

7. No, I can’t. (The original. The hardest. The classic.)

If you still have difficulty shutting down your “instant yes” bring up your calendar and take a look at your obligations for the next few months. How many of them should have been “no”? Total up those hours and see how you feel about the cost of yes.

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