5 Ways to Get Someone to Say "Yes"


Negotiating can be an art form in itself. Often, we get in situations where we need someone else to give in so that we can move forward, and knowing how to get someone on your side can be an essential tool in life. Here are some ways to get someone to say "Yes." (See also: Negotiating Higher Pay at Your Next Job)

1. Sell the Benefit, Not the Feature

I run a company that manufacturers skin care products. Do you know what we sell? Products that create aromatherapy experiences with luxurious scent fusions that are unique and complex. Do you know what we don't sell? Soap.

When you're trying to get someone to say "Yes" you need to think "What's in it for them? What's the benefit?" I can tell you all about my company and our soap, but if I want to sell it to you, then I have to tell you what the soap does for you and what benefits you will get from it if you buy our product.

Learn to think of your negotiation as a sale of benefits for the other person, and you'll have a better chance of them coming around. (See also: Negotiate With Confidence)

2. Ask Questions

In college I worked for an environmental group that would call members when it was time for them to renew their memberships. The call would involve updating them on our victories, discussing the new campaign we were working on, then asking them to write a letter to their representative in the Senate or Congress, and then donating to our cause to keep their membership active. This group was involved in active political campaigning, so we weren't a tax deductible membership. We had to talk our members into taking time out of their day to write a letter and then give us money that they could not write off as a charitable contribution. How did we do it? We asked them questions to keep them involved in the conversation:

  • "Can you see why this is important?"

  • "Can we count on you again?"

  • "Does that make sense to you?"

Our questions helped create a pattern of the member saying "Yes" during the call and also helped us to handle any objections ahead of time before we got to the membership contribution question.

During your negotiation, make sure to keep it a conversation and ask questions that can help you establish a pattern of them saying "Yes," or help clear any doubt about why they should say "Yes" to you.

3. Nod, Even If You're on the Phone

Nodding after asking a question creates a subconscious pattern of agreement, much like establishing the pattern of "Yeses" I talked about above. When you nod while asking a question, it makes you feel more confident (because you're acknowledging the positive outcome) and helps to convey that to the person you're talking to, even if it's over the phone. Try it. Ask yourself a question and then ask yourself the same question, while slightly nodding. You may notice your voice comes down at the end of the question instead of up, which shows confidence and helps to convey that your question is more of a fact than an assumption. (See also: How to Be Fearless)

4. Acknowledge the Choice They Have

In a perfect world, the thing we need someone to say "Yes" to is the only option for them, but that usually isn't the case. Having a well-rounded argument will help to sell your side, especially if you acknowledge that there are other options. Pretending that you've got the only solution will make you appear stubborn or bull-headed, and worse, it will make you less knowledgeable on how to handle their objections. Try to see their side from all angles, learn what could be preventing them from saying "Yes," and explain that you know there are other choices, but here is why your option is the best choice for them.

5. Listen to What They're Saying

One of the most important things to remember is that negotiation is a conversation. Remember to listen to the other party so that you can adequately address concerns, and talk with them instead of to them. Creating a sense of give and take will help you to relate your side of the story to them and help tailor the benefits to their circumstances.

How do you get what you want out of a negotiation? Please share in comments!

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