Selling Change With the Simple Power of “Yes, And!”

by Avish Parashar

Can a simple two-word phrase from improv comedy help you to be a better salesperson or leader? “Yes, and” it can do much, much more…

The premise of Selling Change is that salespeople must become agents of change and help their customers achieve goals rather than simply solve their problems

While there are many things you must do to be an agent of change (which “Selling Change” covers quite well), I would like to share with you a simple two-word phrase that can get you started down that path right away:

“Yes, And.”

Yes, And! by Avish ParasharI know what you’re thinking: “That’s it? ‘Yes, and’?”

Yes. Saying, “yes, and” is a fundamental principle from the world of improv comedy that comedians use to create humor out of nothing. In a nutshell, improvisers are taught to say, “yes, and” instead of “yes, but.”

It doesn’t sound like much, but with that simple single-word shift, from “but” to “and” the improviser opens up a world of collaboration, creativity, and possibility.

In the same way, if you, as a salesperson or business owner, shift from a “yes, but” to a “yes, and” mindset, you too will be able to build relationships, help customers achieve their goals, and truly become an agent of change.

Here are four ways switching from “yes, but” to “yes, and” can help you sell change:

1) “Yes, And” Builds Relationships. A key component to the Selling Change model (and to any good sales strategy) is to build relationships with prospects and customers. By its very nature, “yes, but” is argumentative, which is not a good attitude upon which to build a relationship. Think about it: do you like it when people say, “yes, but” to you? Probably not. “Yes, and,” on the other hand, is positive and collaborative. By saying “yes, and,” you lay the groundwork for a solid long-term relationship.

2) “Yes, And” Lets You Dig Deeper and Discover True Goals. In order to help a customer achieve his goals, you must first learn what they are. What’s interesting is that often what a customer tells you he wants is not his real goal! He may be reluctant to share his real goal, or he may not even know what it is. By using “yes, and” you can dig deeper and find out what he really wants. For example, if a customer says, “I really want to upgrade our computer system,” instead of just saying, “Ok!” and writing up the order, ask, “Yes, and why do you want a better computer system?” Sounds obvious, but they could actually have a variety of answers:
• “To save time.”
• “So I can better monitor my employees.”
• “To prevent viruses and hackers.”
• “To reduce cost.”
Once you understand which option it is, you can a) address their needs better and b) potentially offer them new and better (and more lucrative) ways of achieving that goal than just “selling them a new computer system.”

3) “Yes, And” Helps You Respond to Changing Environments. Secret #1 in “Selling Change” is that “The World is Changing.” Salespeople must think differently than they used to. Looking at the changing world and saying, “yes, but” is the equivalent of sticking your head in the sand. When the world (or your community, your company, you job, etc) changes, don’t say, “yes, but this wasn’t supposed to happen.” Say, “yes, and here’s what I am going to do about it!”

4) “Yes, And” Makes You Take Action. The Fifth Discipline in “Selling Change” is “Change Actuation,” which, from the book, is “the process of putting change into motion.” All the thought and planning in the world mean nothing if you don’t actually take action. When you say “yes, but” to yourself, to others, or the world, you are creating excuses to not take action. “Yes, but people won’t listen to me!” “Yes, but this might not work!” “Yes, but this is going to be hard!” In a nutshell, “yes, but” is whining. “Yes, and” is the language of action. “Yes, and let’s do it!” “Yes, and I’m going to try!” “Yes, and I will do my best!” Once you say “yes, and,” you set yourself up to take the next step and do something.

Some will look at the idea of switching from “yes, but” to “yes, and” as an overly simplified technique that is nothing more than semantics. If you feel that way, I’d like to say two things.

First, you realize that you are saying “yes, but” to the entire premise of this article, don’t you?

Second, before you cast judgment, give it a try. Pay attention to how many times you say “yes, but” on a day-to-day basis, whether literally or in spirit. Once you start paying attention, you might be surprised at how frequently you do.

Try switching to “yes, and.” Pay attention to the different response you get from customers, prospects, and yes, even loved ones, when you approach them with “yes, and” instead of “yes, but.”

It takes time and practice, but it’s well worth it. Once saying “yes, and” becomes an automatic response for you, you will be well on your way to being a true “agent of change!”

Special Offer! Avish is releasing his new book, Say “Yes, And!” on Tuesday, February 28th. Buy a copy of the book on that day and you will get access to over $200 in free bonuses! To see details, read about the bonuses, and sign up for the offer, visit:!

About Avish: Avish Parashar is a professional speaker, improv comedian, and author of the new book, “Say, ‘Yes, And!’” As a speaker and on his blog, Avish makes people laugh while sharing with them simple ideas to make their lives easier and more successful. Visit his site now to download the free E-Book, “Smart Ass Success! Learn the 7 Steps to Getting What You Really Want – Even If You Have No Idea What That Is!!

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