The power of NO

I fell down a Facebook rabbit hole recently. The offer was attractive – they were going to solve ALL my health and fitness issues with their amazing-incredible-fabulous AI. I clicked over to their sucker page – actually referred to as a “squeeze page”, and answered all their questions.

The “AI” then showed me a countdown timer that suggested my personal results would take that amount of time to generate, and why didn’t I watch this amazing-incredible-fabulous video during said generation. I watched. It was the usual nonsense of telling you how bad things are, how bad everyone else is, and how they are the only ones who can solve the problem I had – because they knew my problems. The content was standard promise-promise-promise with no reveal until you get to the very end. At the end, the usual “not $1000, not $500, not $250, $not even $100” stale pitch was only missing one thing – the Ginsu knives.

And, they showed me all the famous people (who I’d never heard of) who helped build this amazing-incredible-fabulous program and all the famous people (who I’d never heard of) who believed in and used this amazing-incredible-fabulous program.

Unfortunately for them, I know a thing or three about algorithms and a little about marketing.

First, this is not AI. Using that trendy word will definitely suck people in, but it is just code – a series of IF-THEN statements that work in an instant to produce a pre-programmed result. The countdown might also have impressed people who might think this was so complex it took all that time.

Second, this is just exaggerated hype, following the standard playlist of questionable products and programs. I have taken classes in how to snow prospects with the build-build-build to keep them interested approach.

I got sent to the final squeeze page and $159.99 was crossed out. In fact, it was only going to cost me $37 “just one easy payment”. I laughed – paying snake oil salesman is never “easy”, but hey – that might work for some people.

I also received the email with the notice that my program was finally available to me – with the same offer. Woo. Hoo!

I said NO – I ignored both. After suffering the torture of the sales pitch, I assumed this was going to cost me much more in the long run.

Next up, an email from Kate (such a nice neat name) with a “Huge discount”. Another squeeze email, and this time I would “save an additional 48%” and get lifetime access (to the free app, btw) for just $19.

Saying NO to $37 (by ignoring) meant I got a better offer. This is a key to negotiating, and no matter how much candy is piled on to an offer from a salesperson, there seems to always be “just” that little more they are willing to offer.

Yesterday, one more email telling me that “our AI-Powered app” created my program and – wait for it! – “our scientific board approved it”. Even better, they tell me “there is no catch” – that’s like saying “to tell the truth”, when you know that means there is no truth. There is a catch, I “just” have not been able to ferret it out yet. Of course, this email tells me that my extra-special-custom-to-me offer is expiring tomorrow! Oh no! Whatever shall I do.

Today, my offer has expired, so they have reduced the price to $14.99! That is, according to them “Less than the cost of a glass of wine :)” – with smiley face emoji! Oh, the power of “no”!

Years ago, I discovered negotiating in Hong Kong. Then, a few years later in Singapore. Each time, the key to success was a simple “no”. Unsure of how to negotiate, I was taken advantage of too many times, until… the car salesperson. They pushed, and pushed, and pushed, and weaseled, and lied, and.. the list goes on. The car was not suited to me, no matter how attractive it sounded. I stuck to my guns, and my answer was firm: “No, thank you”.

It has been my experience, both personal and observed, that far too often we say Yes. The reasons are many, from being bullied to just giving up. When we do say “no”, the results are far more often than not, positive.

It is important, of course, that your “no” is offered in a manner that is direct, but not insulting or facetiously dismissive. In my session titled No! No! Yes, and… Using Improv for Negotiating, the focus is on how to say “No” using the “Yes, and..” improv practice.

Obviously, there is much to impart beyond this one article, however, let me leave you with these strong recommendations.

  • Your “no” offering needs to be brief. A long explanation is unnecessary, since the conversation should be over.
  • Saying “no” can be successful for yourself and the other party, with the addition of one simple thing – say “thank you”.

Remember, in most of the situations where you need to say “no”, the other party will negotiate down to make this more attractive to you. Once you find it is not a suitable solution, stick to your guns.

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Trevor Perry