Stop leading with NO

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Pareto Realty TN #251071

Instead, lead with KNOW!

I know a lot of people who lead with “no”.


These are the folks who, every time someone brings them a new idea or an invitation to an event or meeting, immediately say “NO!” before they have any clue whatsoever as to what they are saying “NO!”.

“NO!” is a complete sentence, and when a person leads with that, it’s an idea killer . . . a stifler of creativity . . .

The receiver of said “NO!” instantly has a rush of thoughts – none of them constructive.

They feel invalidated as if they are not worthy.

They feel unheard.

They may become angry because they were so excited about this new possibility or way only to be squashed upon delivery.

So . . . Instead of “NO!”, why not “KNOW!”

“Maybe! Please tell me a little more about your idea/opportunity.”

“Before you go into great detail, can you tell me how my participation will benefit me and others?”

“I can see you are excited, why should I also be excited?”

“Why did you decide to bring this to me instead of someone else?”

“Who else is involved?”

At the point at which you feel like you know enough to make a decision:

“I am interested to learn more, Can we meet later for a more in-depth understanding of the scope of this?”


“Thank you for bringing this opportunity to me. This sounds like a great idea, but it’s not something I can tackle now.”


A little less “NO!” and little more “Know” fosters a climate of “open to possibilities” which cultivates growth and success.

Don’t ya know?


Residential Real Estate Principal Broker and Founder of Pareto Realty, LLC. Creating the quintessential real estate firm with emphasis on "Live, Work, & Play" balance . . . and a true Performance Oriented environment for Real Estate Professionals. Serving the Real estate needs of Home Buyers and Sellers in Middle Tennessee.

Posted by

Barry Owen

Principal Broker
Pareto Realty
Nashville, TN

Call me: 615-568-2123
email me:




Simply & BOLDLY Living the FourFold Way in Open Space!

Quintessentially connected to the real estate industry to offer the ultimate experience for Home Buyers and Sellers in Middle Tennessee . . . Inquire within!


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  1. Z57 Marketing Team 12/12/2017 04:09 PM
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Harry Norman, REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Associate Broker

Good morning Barry Owen 

Thank you for sharing your great information with us at Active Rain.

Have a great day 12/07/2017. 

Dec 07, 2017 06:07 AM #3
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Barry. What a wonderful post showing that you can be kind while being in charge of your own choices.

Dec 07, 2017 06:16 AM #4
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

I agree and it is OK to say NO in some situations too and not feel guilty!

Dec 07, 2017 06:32 AM #5
Delphine Nguyen
Baird & Warner - Northbrook, IL

Barry, your message strikes a chord with me. Al know, no more "no first" approach for me. Thanks for sharing.

Dec 07, 2017 08:40 AM #6
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

There are many people who fail to plan their time effectively and therefore fail to secure more participants to their events or opportunities and often wonder why they aren't successful?  When notified of an event or opportunity that occurs in a week or less, don't expect success. Busy people are usually booked two weeks in advance, so, if you're seeking success, plan early to contact your target market to avoid no and no-shows.

Dec 07, 2017 05:45 PM #7
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Automatic no don’t really work in my experience. Coming up with ways to make it work is better

Dec 07, 2017 11:20 PM #8
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Knowledge is always power and everything comes from that and evolves from that

Dec 07, 2017 11:21 PM #9
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Yes, no and I don't know pretty much out everything

Dec 08, 2017 07:18 AM #10
Corey Martin
Martin Presence Group - Ruston, LA
Real Estate and Management Solutions

I completely agree. I often encourage everyone in my company to come to me with new ideas if they hear something that could streamline a process. Even if I don't like the idea, I value that they come to me with their ideas. Thanks for sharing!

Dec 08, 2017 08:17 AM #11
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Yes! Knowing when to say NO is important. Learning when to listen and hold off answering is also important.

Dec 08, 2017 08:25 AM #12
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Well done Barry. Too often the first word out of someone's mouth is "no." When you hear that enough you're likely to take your request elsewhere or just stop. 

Dec 08, 2017 09:18 AM #13
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Yes - it would be nice to know what the heck someone is talking about before you say no - OR yes.

Dec 08, 2017 10:16 AM #14
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

This is good advice, Barry, to apply to written communications, too, such as email and text. And ESPECIALLY when the answer to a question they asked is NO. It makes people feel bad, and it sets a negative tone. Here, they were just asking you a innocent question and you blasted them back with NO. Even followed by an explanation it is still jarring and upsetting to people. 

I never start an email with the word NO even if it was justified and correct. I just don't do it. For example, it's much better to say, "Yes, what a great question. But try looking at this way, blah, blah.

Dec 08, 2017 12:39 PM #15
Mary Jo Quay
Remax Results - Edina, MN

Everyone wants to work with people who tell them yes. It makes our lives easier. If we can't give them a 'yes,' we have to engage them to find what the motivation is behind the question. What are the alternatives to lead to a yes.

Dec 09, 2017 05:46 AM #16
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Sadly, you have pointed out a painful truth.

Starting of with NO is an idea killer.

I love your alternative suggestions and believe they will enlighten and allow the possibilities to grow.


Dec 09, 2017 08:11 AM #17
Elyse Berman, PA
Best Connections Realty, Inc. - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL - (561) 716-7824 - CRS, ABR, GRI

Barry,  No closes the door.  Trying to understand why or explaining may lead to something.  Why close the door?

Dec 09, 2017 04:55 PM #18
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Great post, Barry.

No is certainly a powerful, and negative word that shuts down communication and can quickly alter a relationship. There are times it needs to be said but there are ways to do this that will not be an off-putting  as a simple NO, as you have suggested.


Dec 10, 2017 07:25 AM #19
Melissa Spittel
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Westminster, MD
"Achieving Results Together "

I quick my position as vice-president of a local networking group because of constant “No” from one of the other officers. Very frustrating and close-minded.

Dec 10, 2017 02:53 PM #20
Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage - Atlanta, GA
Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal

I agree, except when it comes to kids and dogs.  Some things are just a definite no and I don't want to have to go into a long explanation. I want them to obey and if the opportunity is there later, I'll follow with an explanation.

Dec 11, 2017 07:59 AM #21
Tyra Hatcher Mitchell
Alliance Realty - Portland, ME
Southern Maine Realtor

What a great shift in perception- so small but so poignant.  Next time I want to say NO I'm going to think of your post

Dec 11, 2017 08:08 PM #23
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