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How to Say "No" to a Customer and Keep Them Coming Back

OnDemand Webinar (97 minutes)

No is a word customers never want to hear. How do you keep them coming back when giving a yes is not an option? Could you be hurting your business by saying yes because no is outside your comfort zone? And how do you ensure that everyone inside your company, regardless of their role, knows how to instantly deliver a skilled response that takes the sting out of no, calms your most volatile customers, and keeps you from being seen as the villain in their story? When a customer gets a no in the wrong way, they may take to social media to complain about your company to the masses. Additionally, when a leader consistently overrides a staff member's no with a yes, it takes the wind out of the team's sails and lowers employee engagement. There's never been a more important time to garner the tools for saying no in a way that keeps both your company's reputation and customer loyalty high.

This on-demand webinar offers effective ways to say no. It gives you specific words to use, how to handle a customer who won't take no for an answer, and ways to evaluate creative alternatives to no that can bring you more business and keep customers coming back. The program will also provide a strategic approach to supporting a properly used no that anyone inside your company can use effectively.


Marilyn Suttle, Suttle Enterprises LLC
Lori Jo Vest, LJV Consulting, LLC


Why No Gets a Stronger More Negative Reaction Today

• The Emergence of Today's Hypersensitive Consumer

• The Biology of Connection

• Typical Ways of Saying No Backfire Due to Lack of Creating a Company Culture Where Every Employee Not Only Knows but Also Understands Why, When, and How to Say No

Setting off Gladys Alarms: Ineffective Ways to Say No

• A Dismissive No (i.e. Immediately Saying, It's Against Policy)

• An Immediate No - Not Showing the Customer That You Heard and Understand Their Desire First

• Tone, Attitude, Body Language (Scolding, Know-It-All, Robotic…)

Phrases to Avoid

• Typical Phrases (i.e. I Can't Do That or No)

• Starting a Sentence With the Word You

• Negating What's Said Next Through Use of the Word But After Paraphrasing Their Request

Keep the End in Mind

• Most Customers Respond Better to a No If They Believe They've Been Treated Fairly; Give the Reason for the No With That in Mind

• Turn the No Into a Win-Win

• Frame the No as It Benefits the Customers

• Be Transparent

• Only Say Yes to What You Can Do Well

• For Unusual Requests - Taking Time to Consider It Shows You Care

• Explain Concerns About Budget With Finesse and Compassion

Do This Before You Say No

• Show Appreciation

• Express Wishes

• Focus on Solutions - What You Can Do, Not What You Can't

• Offer a Choice

A Yes Is Harmful When You …

• Say Yes and Don't Mean It

• Say Yes and Feel Resentful About It

• Say Yes and Have Your Staff Resent You for It

• The Time to Say Yes Is When It's the Right Thing to Do, Even When That Means a Financial Loss, However Not Because You're Too Uncomfortable to Handle Conflict Well

How to Ensure You and Your Team Know When, How, and Why to Say No

• Leadership Engagement

• Training

• Accountability

• Celebrating Successes

• Ongoing Adaptation/Feedback/Desire to Serve