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Tag: just say no

Saying “No” – Practice, Practice, Practice

photo of ruby-encrusted Queen Elizabeth's crown

A crown?? Keep reading. It’ll make sense.

In our retail-centric culture, if you’re not willing to practice saying no till it rolls off your tongue like butter, prepare to be in debt for the rest of your life. I am not kidding.

On the other hand, if you’re willing to drop the yes habit and adopt the no habit in buying situations, you’ll stay solvent and maybe even able to hang onto enough disposable income to do something really cool. Hint: we get to no by asking Should I?

My favorite method
for practicing no

Instead of immediately pitching them into the recycling bin, open those flashy sales flyers that bulk up your daily paper, the glitzy catalogs that choke your mailbox, and the shouty, unsolicited, advertising emails that overpopulate your inbox. Now, read them.

Yes, I did say read them. And, yes, I know this flies in the face of what I said about encouraging yourself by not comparing; keep reading, and all will be made clear.

Pay attention to each piece, especially advertising fliers from stores you’d never dare set foot in. Look at each item and say no ALOUD to each item you don’t want or need. Do this as many times as it takes for no-thanks-don’t-need-it becomes your no-need-to-think-about-it, first response.

My next favorite
practice for learning
to just say no

As you sail down grocery-store aisles in hot pursuit of whatever’s on your grocery list, pay attention to all the stuff you’re sailing past. Start muttering to yourself (quietly – we don’t want them to take you away) no, nope, no thanks, don’t need that, or that, or that. You’ll be stunned by how many items there are in your favorite supermarket that you have no need of – all the things to which you can honestly and painlessly say no.

My favorite practice
for dire circumstances . . .

oh, say, a glitzy new mall or fancy-dancy department store. When someone near and dear coaxes you into into these hotbeds of fiscal ruin, use that event to practice your no habit. Wander the aisles, paying attention to all the products you have absolutely no need of and would never be silly enough (even if you had the money) to buy. Even better; pay particular attention to all the products you wouldn’t ever, ever, ever want to wear, possess, eat, etc. No! NO! NO! Excellent practice.

Pay attention, now:
yes, YOU can learn to say no.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t become a no maven in the spending arena. I’ve done it, and you already know how cluelessly average I’ve been. That means you can say no just as competently and effectively as anyone else.

However, you have some serious catching up to do. On my best no day, NO ONE can beat my no habit. Queen Elizabeth could offer me her crown for only $29.95 and before I could stop myself, I’d blurt out, “Rubies are kinda winey red, aren’t they? That’s really not my best color. Naaah, no thanks.”

Not exactly the sort of dialogue that makes for good Anglo-American relations across the pond, but then it’ll never come to that, now will it?

Can you learn to say no to spending? Of course you can! Pay attention and utilize every arena where you can practice, practice, practice saying no. Then do us all a favor, and share your best no-to-spending story.

© 2014 Teresa Layne Bennett

red box with white text: "Most of us have very weak and flaccid 'no' muscles . . . . . Your 'no' muscle has to be built up. . . ." – Iyanla Vanzant

How’s YOUR “no” muscle? Weak? Practice!

Saying “No”

photo of resistant customer in furniture store

How long before a pro gets him to say yes?

Learning when to say yes and when to “just say no” (á la former First Lady Nancy Reagan) has to be one of life’s most valuable discernments.

If you’ve ever had an encounter with a professional salesman (as opposed to the non-professional hordes who greet you in most retail stores), you know the alarming consequences of not having developed this ability. After an unfortunate engagement with one of these guys, you wonder what hit you.

Why did you buy something you can’t afford and didn’t even think you wanted that badly? You bought because he’s an expert at moving you along to that holy-grail-YES – the one which earns him a juicy-fat commission – and that all-expense-paid trip to Hawaii.

How does he do it?

Here’s a clue from my last professional-salesman skirmish. See if you can spot it.

Pro: “Gorgeous day, isn’t it?”

TLB: “Yes, it is gorgeous out there.”

Pro: “You looking for [whatever his store is selling]?”

TLB: “Actually, I am.” Duh. why am I there otherwise? (Notice he didn’t ask if I were “looking to buy,” just “looking for.”)

Pro: “I expect you’d like to be left alone and look around for a while.”

TLB: “Yes, thanks.” Yes. Please DO go away.

A little later.

Pro: “I notice you keep coming back to this [whatever I’ve been circling back to over and over].”

TLB: “Yeah. I guess I have.”

Pro: “Would you like a brochure about it? I think that manufacturer left us a few.” 

TLB: “Yes, thank you.” A “few”? A cartload, I’ll bet.

Pro: “Here you go. Nice, isn’t it? This manufacturer really goes all out on their advertising.” (Translation: If a manufacturer spends this much on their advertising, just think what they’re willing to sink into their products!)

TLB: “Whoa. This is nice.”

Enough of that. You were paying attention and found the obvious clue. After only six minutes on the battlefield, I’d already said yes or its synonym six times. Count ‘em: six. AND the two of us hadn’t discussed anything remotely involving product features, benefits, prices, terms, etc. in this introductory sparring. He was good.

And I was embarrassingly

  • Outmaneuvered because Mr. Pro kept plying me with seemingly innocuous questions to which the only reasonable answer was yes. He never gave me a chance to just say no.
  • Outmaneuvered again when he deftly asked questions about my mental wish list.
  • Outmaneuvered yet again when he circled around with questions that lured me into signaling possible willingness to part with my credit card for a few seconds.

In minutes, I became a conquered blob, so accustomed to saying yes that I couldn’t help (later on this bloody battlefield) but say it one last, fateful, costly time.

That’s how the yes mentality works; it’s a habit, a way of thinking and responding. The professional salesman simply encouraged me to slip into this otherwise healthy habit as skillfully as a Lord of the Rings swordsman backs an Orc into a corner.

As we saw in Saying Yes, living life with a will-do, yes habit is a good thing. But there are situations, like this area of spending money, in which we need to decide we’d rather eat glass than fall into our normal yes habit. So how do we prepare ourselves to say no to these sales-guy pros (and even the not-so-professional sales guys and gals)?

You thought I’d never get here, didn’t you? Check out my disarmingly simple tricks for learning how to say no to spending in my next post. And, as always, pay attention!

© 2014 Teresa Layne Bennett

red box with white text: "Too many people spend money they haven't earned to buy things they don't want to impress people they don't like." – Will Rogers

Will Rogers got it right – 80-plus years ago!

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