'No' is sometimes the best answer



One of the strange quirks of doing business in Ireland is the inability of the Irish to say 'No'. Now you do not have to be that blunt but you can convey the same sentiment in a nicer way but the message is the same. For example I was introduced to the owners of a business who were enthusiastic about a particular service I offer. We met in person and following a lengthy chat they asked me to send on more information which I did that day. And then, silence. I sent them an email as promised three days later but received no reply. I telephoned but got through to voicemail where I left a message, no reply. I sent another email and made another phone call a week later with the same results. I can only presume at this stage that they are not interested in pursuing this course which is perfectly fine with me but why not say so.

This scenario is quite a common one as I have experienced over the last forty years and the feedback I get from other business owners and it is unfortunate as it takes up valuable time that could be used more productively. The solution is simple, just say any of the following and everybody can move on;

  1. We have decided to pursue a different course of action

  2. We do not have the budget at the moment but would like to chat with you in the New Year.

  3. We do not have the time at present and will come back to you should the situation change.

You can see where I am coming from and there are many different answers that say the same thing 'Thanks, but no thanks'. Imagine how much time we could all save if everyone took this approach.

Perhaps, some people feel they are offending the seller and do not want to do this or perhaps they are afraid someone will launch into a high powered sales pitch or be abusive. This is not the case as all the seller is doing is being professional by asking for the business and everyone has the right to say 'No thank you' and close off the conversation.


In a previous life I purchased a lot of print on behalf of clients and in the main most printers delivered on time as agreed. However, there were a certain cohort that promised delivery but had to be removed because they failed to live up to their promise. In one case I was told that the job was in the van when in fact it had not been printed. The impact of these false promises are more wide ranging that the supplier realises. Apart from damaging their own reputation the are damaging the reputation of the people who recommended them and that is not acceptable. This practice of promising delivery knowing full well it cannot be achieved is rampant across all sectors and causes untold reputational damage. This could be avoided if the supplier said 'No' to the order or agreed a different delivery date. From experience I know that saying no to a client/customer is not what we want to do and may cause a problem or a row but it is better to have that situation now rather than at a future point where the client has now been let down and where the impact may be much greater.


In summary, can I ask all decision makers to take the time to say 'No thanks you' and save a lot of people a lot of time pursuing a lost cause.

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