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This Persuasion Matters free newsletter provides valuable insights helping you hear “Yes!” more often.

People are talking…

“Lots of great, practical tips presented in an engaging format.”
Genevieve Daniels, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

“Mark is a lightning rod – creating a rapid flashing of ideas and solutions in his listeners’ minds.”
June Schroeder, Liberty Financial Group

“This is excellent! I expect that when I read something from you it will put a smile on my face. I actually laughed out-loud.”
William Jody Gunderman, Vice President of Operations & CFO, John Deere Financial

Mark Rodgers’ Tips to Help You Hear “Yes!” More Often

1. Always go into every “ask” with options.
Have you ever watched the television show The Bachelor? People tell me, (Right!) the show becomes more interesting when one of the female contestants, afraid of not receiving a rose, corners this season’s fella in a not-so-remote corner of the pool patio and says, “You either give me a rose tonight or I’m walking out of your life forever!” The camera cuts to a close-up of the bachelor’s reaction who looks as nervous as Lindsey Lohan meeting her parole officer.

It’s best to avoid a take-it-or-leave-it stance in any request situation. This absolutist position has a tendency to make you seem unreasonable, desperate and, well a little psycho; not to mention this posture greatly reduces your chance of getting an agreement.

Rather, always have a good, better or best option. This way it’s not whether someone takes you up on your offer, it’s how they take you up on your offer.  It doesn’t matter if you’re talking budget dollars, headcount increases, or project timeframes, you can come up with options for everything. And when you do …

2. Start with your more extreme offer first.
If you do they may just take you up on it. And if so, that’s frosting on the beer mug for you. If they don’t, you can leverage a concept known as rejection – then – retreat. When someone says “no” to your offer, you simply retreat within your offer to your next option. Studies prove people are much more likely to say, “Yes” to your next option because they feel you’ve made a concession to them by making a smaller subsequent offer. (Do not be mistaken, this is not the negotiating trick of presenting an artificially inflated offer, in an attempt to get someone to say, “Yes” to another offer.)

3. Don’t ask for the commitment.
Yep, you read that right. The reason 62 percent of all sales aren’t consummated is because the salesperson doesn’t ask for the sale. Why don’t they ask for the business? They are afraid they will get turned down. Same applies to you regardless of your position. Why don’t you ask for the raise, the plum assignment, or the buyer to agree to your proposal? Because you’re afraid – somewhere deep down – that they’ll say, “No.”  (As an aside, only those with solid self-esteem will admit to this.)

So, don’t ask for the commitment. Ask for your target’s opinion first. It’s easy, much less threatening and will tell you whether you should move forward. At an appropriate moment simply ask the person you’re working with, “What do you think?” If they hesitate, keep working. If they say, “I like it.” Ask for the commitment.

4. Live to fight another day.
How else can you improve your chances of agreement? Instead of asking for the commitment, ask for consideration. This is art and not science. You can tell when the other person doesn’t seem to be agreeing with you or your idea. When you find yourself in this situation, try this. I simply say, “Don’t say, ‘yes,’ don’t say, ‘no,’ just simply understand what we’re talking about and be willing to consider it further. Fair enough?”

What reasonable person is going to say, “No” to that? And then you live to fight another day.

5. Start with less risky situations and settings.
If you want to experiment with an approach or an idea or an argument, and you’ve never used it before, don’t pick your most cantankerous coworker, on an off-day, your most prestigious client or when your promotion depends on the result.

Instead practice it on friends and family first and then find that customer with whom you have a great relationship with and say, “Let me run something by you …” A rookie pitcher’s first game is never in the World Series.

Here’s to you hearing “yes” more often!