How to Convert a No into a Yes

by Joseph Kennedy

Sustainability Entrepreneurs take note, there are going to be people in your path to success that you will come to see as obstacles.

They put bloxkers in your path.

You know the ones.

"That will never work"

"We've always done it this way"


You will need to learn to formulate a strategy for effectively dealing with these people because, as you will learn, it’s not impossible to turn a no into a yes. Upon successfully converting a no into a yes, you’re going to realise that these people you once saw as hurdles are now some of your greatest victories.




Let’s talk about strategy.


Building rapport with objectors

Objectors have their own objectives, that’s the first thing to consider. If you want to win someone’s interest, you have to learn what their objectives are and why that creates resistance between you. You wouldn’t talk about football to someone who doesn’t share an interest, would you?

Once you know what motivates them and where they want to go, you can think about helping them, and when you show an inclination to support, you grow rapport.

You’re going to have to open your ears more than your mouth at this stage because building rapport is about learning what problems they’re having and what their opinions and ambitions are. By giving acknowledgement and respect to their objectives, you can start to form a reciprocal relationship.

Human nature has coded us to help those who help us. Dale Carnegie’s first rule for winning friends and influencing people was to ‘become genuinely interested in other people’ so remember to go about your rapport-building activities with real sincerity.


Consistency is about showing up and showing up and showing up…

If you want to turn a yes into a no, dear Sustainability Entrepreneurs, you’re going to have to show up time and time again in a consistent manner, because building rapport in business is ultimately a trust exercise. Your first impression, your continued performance, and your overall behaviour will have an immediate impact on the relationship you’re trying to build.




Finding the middle ground

The trick to converting a yes or no lies beyond the listening, the rapport building, and the consistency, it lies within the middle ground where your objectives meet. You wouldn’t talk about football with someone who doesn’t care, but if they are interested in finance and economics, suddenly there’s a whole aspect of the sport that pricks up their ears.

Finding this shared zone can be difficult, but the common goals, targets and motivations will bear the most fruition and ease collaboration. Bear this in mind when you go about your sustainability enterprise, because, as our mentors will tell you, some of their customers and partners care more about the health of the planet than they do about money, profit margins, and sales jargon.

Good luck out there.

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