The first time he mentioned it, we were in the middle of a pleasant conversation. We were talking about getting a gym membership and my son worked it into the conversation. “You should consider letting me have your treadmill,” he said. Then he continued, “You guys aren’t using it at all. I bet you haven’t used that thing for a couple of years. Do you think that you could get Dad to agree to give it up?” I knew how my husband felt about giving up his treadmill or any of his possessions. He becomes attached to things. Somehow, just having it take up space in our extra bedroom makes him happy.
I responded with, “You’ll have to ask your Dad about that one.” My first thought was that I had absolutely no problem letting the treadmill go— but it took two votes to make it happen. He continued with his persuasive skills and shared how it would be very convenient for him to workout at the end of the day. He stated that it would make his life so much easier and would offer him the ability to work off steam so he could tackle his academic work.
Two weeks later, we were having a nice talk when the conversation turned to working out. “Have you and dad discussed the treadmill?” I replied that I had forgotten about it the minute we got off the phone. “The weather is getting really cold and it would be so much easier to run on the treadmill inside. I have the perfect place for it now that we’re in the new apartment.” I asked him how he would get the treadmill to his house and he had the perfect answer. “I can come get it with a rented truck.”
Yesterday, I was asking him what he and his girlfriend need or want this year, and he gave me a couple ideas of what they could use. Then he continued, “You know, that treadmill would make a great gift. We could both make use of it during the next couple months.”
After I got off the phone, I began thinking about the treadmill. But more than the treadmill itself, I was thinking about his strategy in acquiring it. His ability to see beyond the “NO” was just astounding! Each time that we had discussed the possible acquisition of the treadmill, I had either said no or gave no response. He had called his dad and his dad had said no. But that didn’t deter him. He just kept on going, weaving this into each conversation in a very natural way. He never came on too aggressive to the point where I was irritated. We just discussed it enough that it started to sound like a good idea. Not only that, but it started to sound like an idea that was going to happen.
Yes, now that I think about it, we could all use some lessons from Zach. He has perfected the art of asking for the sale. He doesn’t back down from his no while reminding the person why they need to make this good decision. A strategy that makes the other person realize that not only should they buy into the idea, but they’ll feel “darn good” about buying into the idea.
If you’re in business, take heed to this— internalize this principle. Most individuals don’t get the deal because they think no really means no. But no should really mean, “I might be convinced in the near future, but right now I can’t commit.”
Zach had a long-term strategy to closing this deal. He needed to finesse the situation and keep his eye on the goal.
Whether you’re building your business, working in sales, or just trying to win that promotion, you’ll eventually need to ask for it. And, chances are, you’ll be shot down the first time around. But remember to do a “Zach” and keep focused on your goal. Be patient, keep your eye on the prize and remind them of why it’s the absolute best decision they can make.