I have been told that we are three to seven answers away from the truth by multiple individuals who work in sales. However, I take this one step farther, not only in sales, but in life and in situations where we want to say “No” but can’t. Here is my process for saying “No:”

#1 Reason why I don’t say “No”- Politeness

#2 Reason why I don’t say “No”- Avoid Confrontation

#3 Reason why I do say “No”- Worn Down

This is what happens to me when I get sales calls. The first call I get I ask the person to call me back at a different time and say, “this isn’t a good time.” We always schedule a follow up call and I never put that call on my calendar hoping it won’t happen.

When the second call comes in I usually recognize the number, avoid it and let it go to voicemail. I know I need to tell the person “No” but I can’t pull the trigger in that I am worried about hurting their feelings. Finally, on the third call I take the call and let them know I am not interested. It takes me three calls to get the truth and tell them “No.”

I am also on the other end of this call in that I am cold calling employers about my speaking business and I can say from vast experience that I appreciate the few clients that are direct with me. The few clients that tell me “No” from the beginning I respect and when I ask why they will tell me they don’t have the budget, not a need at this time, or I am not a good fit them. I know the truth, I thank them for their time, their directness, and wish them best of luck on their search for a speaker.

What I have learned is that by trying to be polite, kind, or not trying to hurt someone’s feelings does more harm than good. In the end we all want the truth, directness, and honesty, yet we run from it. I am making it a practice to say what I mean and mean what I say not only sales calls but in all aspects of my life. I have noticed the more I do this the better I communicate, the less time I waste (both parties involved), and the more I accomplish. My goal is to get to be one answer from the truth.

Are you three away from the truth?

** Chad J. Willett is a motivational speaker, author and creative expert. He writes a weekly blog to unleash our creative energies. Learn more about Chad and his keynotes/ workshops or contact him directly.