The other day I got a phone call from a guy who wanted me to join his association.
He made a strong case, too: reasonable dues, good people, great networking.
When he asked for the sale (or in this case, the membership), I paused for a few seconds before responding.
‘Mark, my policy about saying no is, ‘I don’t say it enough.’ So, for that reason alone, my answer to you is no.’
Dead silence. I smiled and waited.
‘Well um, uh … OK,’ he stammered. ‘I-I guess I’m not going to challenge that.’
Dead silence. I smiled and waited some more.
‘OK well, uh, thanks for your time Scott,’ he resigned.
I hung up the phone.
Whoa. Where did THAT come from?! I wondered.
That was a first for me. Telling someone my ‘policy’ on saying no.
And I tell ya what; it felt GREAT!
Candid, yet friendly.
Honest, yet confident.
And nobody’s time was wasted.
LESSON LEARNED: people respond to policies.
I actually just looked up the word policy. It means, ‘shrewdness or prudence, especially in the pursuit of a particular course of action.’ Which means:
You’re not being mean.
You’re not being difficult.
You’re not rejecting someone.
You’re simply sticking to your guns. Telling someone, ‘Look, this is how I roll. This is who I am. That’s my policy.’
NOTE: I’m not talking about company policy. That’s different.
I’m talking about personal policy.
Knowing thyself. Being the world’s expert ON yourself and confidently articulating that on a consistent basis.
The following steps will help you put this idea into practice:
1. Brainstorm a list of 10-15 of your most valued personal policies.
2. Organize and type them out on a small card.
3. Carry that card in your wallet.
4. Look at it regularly.
5. Next time someone challenges one of your policies, whip out that card and ask them physically read it back to you. (THIS IS CRUCIAL!)
6. Smile and wait for them to respond.
And they will. Every time. Because people respond to policies.