Another Angle On 'No'

Sitting in yet another reception a Monday or two ago, I thumbed through the FT.  An article about Business schools teaching by example naturally caught my eye.

My personal exposure to the PR machine that is the Association of MBAs is many years ago now, yet ongoing sporadic encounters with their spin tends to suggest the arrogance and lack of talent I encountered still pervade. They must have been shrieking with panic when in 2002, Stanford prof Jeffrey Pfeffer stated his view that an MBA was irrelevant to business success.  Finally accepting this, US business schools started to undergo a potentially painful ‘change’ process.  The article referenced above explains how various schools achieved success.  I was immediately struck by how, for sales people, there are two awesome messages:

Who’s Up For Change? – How often when you propose something new do you realise change is an obvious result?  Knowing most ‘influencers’ are anti-change, what can you do to expose the fact that change is good, and moreover change is wanted?  A tough call, but one place conducted a survey first (seeking to be ‘collaborative’) asking whether the school was ready for change – and an outstanding 82% said “yes!” (Canada – the Ivey school at the University of Western Ontario – Dean Carol Stephenson)

Overcome The Nos – Why let a ‘no’ get in your way, do things right and “It tells nobody ‘no’; it says ‘not now’.”  What a terrific message; alter the mindset of your prospect that options are either ‘yes’ or ‘not now’ and work on speeding the timeframe up.  (Dean Tom Campbell at Haas Business School in Berkeley in California)

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