People who say “No” often mean “No, unless…” and have flexibility that may not yet have been revealed. If your “No” is rigid and unqualified, the other party may see no reason to continue exploring options with you. If you can demonstrate flexibility and also highlight the interests that need to be satisfied, the other party may sweeten their offer. Even if they walk away now, they may come back to the table later after thinking about their alternatives, knowing that you are open to a better offer.
- “I can’t say yes as things currently stand, but if you could help me by…”
“We’re close to a workable answer, but before I can say yes, I need…”