Unit 16: Saying ‘no’ politely
Saying ‘no’ is difficult for many people. It is, however, quite possible to say no without causing offence by adopting these strategies:
Include an apology and, if possible, a brief explanation.
Suggest that saying no is not your personal wish but is imposed by outside circumstances, for example, regulations or another appointment.
Use emphasizers such as really, so, and very with the word sorry.
Amanda and Steve from CompixInc are talking to different customers at a computer industry trade fair in Los Angeles.
Steve: …an automatic Internet search and tells you if the price in the shop is fair.But that’s not all. It can also tell you where you can buy a product cheaper! And it only costs $49.99!
Customer: That could be useful for my team.
Steve: Definitely. So,would you like to make an order straight away?
Customer:I’d rather not, thank you.Although itis a nice piece of software.
Steve: Exactly! Now whatifl gave you one totake away foryourself and thenif youlike it youcanlike it you can keep that one but order ten more for your team.
Customer: I’m really sorry, but that’s not possible. Company policy doesn't allow me to make that kind of deal.
Steve: I see, but let me just show youacouple ofextrafeaturesthat aresocool!
Customer: No, I’msorry.Ihave an appointment in ten minutes.I don't really have the timerightnow.
Steve: But you really need to see the waythis program can slice and dice any information that-
Customer: Thanks,butI have to say no. Ah, Terry, there you are, shall we go for that meeting?Iwas beginning to think that…
Amanda: …an automatic Internet search and tells you if the price in the shop is fair. But that’s notall. Itcan also tell you where you can buy a product cheaper! And it only costs $49.99!
Customer: Well, that is interesting. I work for a computer magazine,whichspecializesin comparing different products.
Amanda: Well,that’s perfect! And asjournalist we can give you a special discount price if you order three licences. You only need to pay $125!
Customer:Unfortunately, that’s just not possible. I’m a freelance journalist so I really don’t need three licences.
Amanda: I understand.But maybeif you wrote afriendly article about us, you could have onelicence for nothing.
Customer: Sorry, but that’s out of the question. I’d lose my job! We have to keep our independence from the computer industry.
Amanda: I see. But would it be possible for me to visit your company later this month and maybe I could do a presentation for you and your colleagues?
Customer: Well,thanks,I'll get back to you on that one. I must go now, but I have your card so I could give you a ring next week, if you like.Now I have to…
Look again at the strategies outlined in Useful tip.Which strategies dothe customers employ when saying no politely? Underline the relevant parts in the conversations and note the strategies used in the margin.
Saying it accurately
Complete the sentences with words from the box.
rather / no / back / sorry / possible / not / time / thanks / work / question
1.No, I’m …… .
2.Unfortunately that’s just not …… .
3.I’m really sorry, but that’s not going to …… .
4.I’m afraid …… .
5.I’d …… not, thank you.
6.Thanks, but I have to say …… .
7.I’m afraid I don’t really have the …… right now.
8.Thanks, I’ll get …… to you on that one.
9.Thanks, but no …… .
10.Sorry, but that’s out of the …… .
Drewery is trying to sell Jess some office equipment. Complete the conversation using sentences or phrases above. Note that in some places, more than one answer is possible.
Drewery: And so you can see what a great offer it is. Shall we sit down and discuss figures?
Drewery: I could look at knocking down the unit price if you put in a large order?
Jess: (2)…………………………because my manager has to place large orders.
Drewery:Well then,perhaps you could just order a few samples?
Jess: (3) …………………………because I'm meeting a colleague at 1p.m.
Drewery:Iwon't keep you a minute.Just have another quick look. These monitors really are state of the art.And,I tell youwhat,if you order just five.I'll throw in an extra free.
Jess: (4) ………………………… I'll give you aring ifwedecide to proceed.Goodbye.