The Power of Yes

While this blog is primarily about business finance and accounting, sometimes is helps to momentarily take another path.

Remembering an Aggravation

A number of years ago when I was in the market for a car I had a rather unpleasant experience with a dealer. The sales person was polite and could obviously see I was interested in their cars. Unfortunately when my interest reached a certain level he brought in his sales manager. I recall the manager really only asked me one question. He knew from my comments that price was important to me. So, his only question was, “If I could give you this price would you consider it?” I said yes, to which he replied he could meet that price. He made a mistake of then taking a short-cut by trying to immediately close the sale. When I did not immediately agree to the deal he became rather nasty in his attitude. To the sales person’s credit he called me that evening to apologize for the way his manager acted. Yet, even the nasty attitude was not really the critical mistake?


While price was important to me, he failed to realize that other things mattered as well. Even if price was the biggest factor, other things mattered. He would have had a better chance of closing the sale if he had asked other questions to clarify my needs and desires. Once those were known he could have then asked questions in a way that would make me want to say yes or probably or something positive. In essence, every time I said yes he would have been priming the pump so to speak. Using the power of yes to arrive at a desired result is obviously not a new technique. I’ve read about it numerous times from varied sources. It helps move people along a path by not only getting them in a yes mood but also by getting them to realize what’s in it for them. How does this relate to other businesses?

Outside Sales

Obviously any business that interacts with customers face-to-face would do well to remember the power of yes and utilize it. If you think about it, most commercials are really structured in a manner that they tap into people’s emotions and desires as much as their needs. Essentially, without customers realizing it a commercial is getting people to say to themselves (perhaps silently), “Yes, I like that. Yes, I could use that. Yes, that would really help.” and on and on until they are primed to buy.

Inside Sales

We often forget that much of the selling that takes place in a company is internal rather than external. Imagine you have an idea for a new product or a new procedure or just about anything that you think is a winner. Rather than just blurting out, “Hey I have a great idea” first prep people to buy-in to your idea by asking questions that almost certainly would elicit a yes response. Then it even helps to present your idea in the form of a question, even leaving a part of it for your listeners to complete for themselves.

Here is an example. Imagine you have an idea to make the shipping process more efficient. You might first ask a question along the lines of, “If we could reduce the number of steps to process a shipment would that help you?” Then you might follow-up with something like, “Are there any things you are doing to complete a shipment that seem unnecessary and/or excessively time consuming?” If you are getting yes answers eventually you will be able to present you suggestion in the form of a question such as, “What if we could get this step done before it gets to you? Would that make your job easier?” If you get a yes you might ask something like, “Who or what department do you think is in the best position to handle this part of the process rather than waiting until the order gets to you?” If you have asked the right questions you may have not only put the person or people in a yes mood, you may have guided them to the realization that the person or department you had in mind could help them significantly to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. Again, you will have used the power of yes to achieve your objectives by getting others’ buy-in without resorting to a hard sell or an argument.

Even if you are management and have the authority to simply say, “Do it this way” you are often better off and will have happier employees if you first sell your idea.

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.


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