Beware of ‘Yes’

Have you ever asked someone to do something for you and confirm that they understand but only for them to go ahead and do something else?

We deal with this especially in the service business. The first people that come to mind as I type this are tailors. I respect tailors and other creators that seem to bring abstract concepts to life.

The issue arises when it comes to communication and understanding.

How do you deal with that?

Saying ‘yes’ feels good. So good that many people say it even when they should be saying ‘no’.

We mostly say yes to please other people but when it comes to doing business, expert negotiators say you should aim for a ‘no’ instead.

Let me explain.

According to Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator, one needs to beware of ‘yes’ because there are three kinds of ‘yes’.


Counterfeit Yes

This kind of ‘yes’ is when someone wants to say ‘no’ but they don’t want any wahala. They don’t want to hurt your feelings or get into trouble. So they say ‘yes’ instead. This is the worst kind of ‘yes’.

If you are trying to sell to a customer or persuade a client and you get this kind of yes, you will most likely never see them again. 

Sometimes we screw up people’s orders and requests unknowingly. But when we ask the client if they are happy, they will respond with a ‘yes’. A counterfeit ‘yes’.

They will walk away with buyer’s remorse perhaps because they really didn’t want to buy in the first place. This is most common when dealing with family and friends. Sometimes, we make them patronize us against their will but wonder why they never return.

I know I’m guilty of this. You probably are too. 

Confirmation Yes

This kind of ‘yes’ is innocent. It is a honest response to a closed-ended question. 

“Are you reading Mynd Your Business?”

“Are you looking to buy a shoe?”

Do not mistake this for a win. It is not a commitment. The prospective client is simply answering a simple question.

Commitment Yes

Now, this is what you want. This kind of ‘yes’ shows that your customer is happy and eager to buy. You will see this kind of ‘yes’ in their eyes, body language, and tone of voice. If its via text, pay attention to the words and emojis they use.

Usually a customer will ask a lot of questions (typically open-ended) before reaching to this level of ‘yes’.

Think back to the last time you purchased something you wanted from a social media vendor. You probably asked a few questions.

This is true with almost every online customer. They go through their concerns until they are satisfied with the vendor’s offering.

Now they are ready to buy.

So, how do you ensure that you get a commitment ‘yes’?

Getting A Commitment ‘Yes’

There are 2 major techniques to guide you to getting a genuine commitment ‘yes’.

Technique 1: The Rule of 3

The idea here is to get your client (or whoever you are trying to understand) to answer ‘yes’ to your request/offer three times.

You don’t have to be weird about it though. Don’t do like African parents do when they’re trying to stress a point by repeating it 3 times.

“Ahmed! Ahmed! AHMED! How many times did I call you?”

“Do you understand? You understand? You are sure you understand?”

No. Not that.

The first time they agree to your request is ‘yes’ #1.

Next, rephrase your request using something in the line of:

“I think what you want is…”
“It seems you want…”
“What you are saying is you would like…”
“You agree that you need…”

This should trigger ‘yes’ #2

To get the final ‘yes’, end the conversation with some sort of confirmation question just to show the person that you are both on the same page.

“I just want to make sure we are on the same page. You want…”
“To conclude, we agree that…”
“Let me see if I get you. We talked about….and you want….”

Their response will give you ‘yes’ #3.

There you go. You can be rest assured they are committed and are on the same page with you. This is a win.

Caution: do not ask all three questions back-to-back. It could backfire. You might end up with a counterfeit ‘yes’ instead just to get you to shut up.

Technique 2: Play with ‘what’ and ‘how’

If someone is lying, they will find it hard to answer ‘what’ and ‘how’ follow-up questions. They will begin to think of other lies and stammer their way through an explanation.

The next time you try to reason with someone, watch out for their body language and tone of voice. Notice the little changes and discomfort.

If they are telling the truth that their ‘yes’ is genuine, they will answer your ‘what’ and ‘how’ questions smoothly.

Become A Master of ‘No’

Nobody likes being rejected. Social media banter will convince you to shoot your shot. If it works out, chances are you will later share your ‘started from DM now we here’ story. 

But if you get shot down, you kukuma carry your shame and go to bed quietly.

As I mentioned earlier, in business getting a ‘no’ is a good thing. It opens the door to having a conversation. But if you were to get a ‘yes’ from the beginning, there is little to no room for a conversation. You will either close the sale or hope they return to place an order as promised.

A ‘no’ could mean:

  • I don’t think I can afford it
  • I don’t understand
  • I don’t think I need it
  • I want something else
  • You look shady 
  • I don’t trust your product/services

You get to ask why, what, and how questions. This opens up your customer. You get to enter their head to understand them.

Remember, it is not about you. It is always about serving your customer. Once you spend some time conversing with your customer, you will have a better understanding of them and how to serve them better.

Refer to this post to learn how to sell to anyone.

Pay attention to these details the next time you relate with a customer. You will be amazed at the outcome.

Let me know in the comment section. Do you agree with these techniques?

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