Is “yes” really always “yes”? “No” is protection. “Yes” is commitment. “No” instantly makes people feel safe while “yes” makes them worry about what they’ve committed themselves to. Nearly every “yes” at best is a conditional “yes”, and often is a counterfeit “yes”, especially from note holders. On the other hand, “No” is always “no”.
There are three instances where your communication skills can make “no” work for you: to break impasse, to get someone’s attention (especially if they have stopped responding to you) and to help someone think clearly. Why not try these ways to make a note holder’s “no” work for you?
Try changing your good “yes-oriented” questions – “Is it okay if I go over some different options with you?” to “no-oriented” questions – “Would it be horrible if I went over some options with you?” Practice makes perfect and also increases your ability to make things happen.
Most of your “yes-oriented” questions can simply be flipped to get the same result you want by changing the beginning of them to:
“Is it ridiculous…?”
“Would it be horrible…?”
“Is it a bad idea…?”
“Have you given up on…?”
“Have you given up on selling your note?” is a particularly powerful tool. It triggers the safety of “no” and then boosts it with prospect theory – the concept that loss aversion drives action more than the desire for gain. People are twice more likely to take an action to avoid a loss than they are to accomplish a gain. This is literally a prize-winning concept.
“Have you given up on selling your note?” is one of the top lines that I receive response from when following up. Make sure you’re ready for a quick answer and you’re prepared to elicit a “That’s right” (we are still interested in selling it) from them before you go further.
“Is it ridiculous for you to sell your note at this time?” Got me one of my transactions just last month!
“Would it be horrible if I went over some options with you?” is the question I asked a note holder that ‘thought’ he only wanted to sell the entire note. I ended up buying a 5-year partial and he was very happy about it.
“Is it a ridiculous idea…? was used by a note broker of mine on a recent transaction to try to get the note holder to accept a partial option. She used it to suggest an alternative to the prices she already gave the note holder. She reported the note holder said “No it wouldn’t be” – and subsequently the deal was made.
Some scientific studies have recently shown us we are only capable of making so many decisions in any given day. We wear out as the day goes on. A good tip is to use “no-oriented” questions when talking with a note holder later in the day when their brain is starting to get worn out.
I have read that it’s one of the reasons a few famous people (Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, etc.) wear the same thing every day. They’re not interested in burning up mental decision power on what shirt to wear. Their daily decisions are literally worth millions.
If someone asks me “What?” or “How?” when I’m fatigued, I will likely not answer until the next day. If they give me “Is this a bad idea…?” I actually find myself quickly focusing (even getting a little bit of energy) and being able to answer.
Practice makes perfect. To practice use this communication skill with not only note holders but with waiters, grocery store clerks, and really anyone who can help you gain a feel for this in your frequent, daily interactions.
Is it a bad idea, to leverage the natural human inclination to say “no”, to get things done? No.
Hope this helps! Be kind, keep safe and stay healthy. Remember success demands action, keep on marketing, it’s going to work! TWITA! (That’s What I’m Talkin’ About!)
Jeff Armstrong of Armstrong Capital has been a note investor and broker specializing in the performing seller financed note industry since 1991. For more updated and current information on how he can help you with your note business, your note investments or to request a quote on a note you currently have visit www.armstrongcapital.com to email him and subscribe to his weekly Note-Able Newsletter.