🗣️ Exactly what to say to get a yes

and why an easy no gets more yeses

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⚡️ Estimated read time: 2 minutes 16 seconds.


“Sweetie, would you be open-minded to grabbing me an apple?”

  • My wife (literally 2 minutes ago)

Obviously the correct answer was “yes”.

She’s been using this type of question on me almost daily for the last couple months.

Because it works.

Every. Single. Time.

So what’s so persuasive about asking this way?

Since at least 75% of people consider themselves “open-minded”, when you start a question with “would you be open-minded…”, the answer will almost always be a solid “yes!”

Notice the difference in these examples?

Phil M. Jones, author of Exactly What to Say (and producer of the most-listened to audiobook of all time) says rephrasing your questions to the “open-minded” format takes it from a 50/50 chance of getting a “yes”, to a 90% chance.

It’s simply easier to say yes to.

Since saying “yes” affirms your existing belief of being an open-minded person, it’s a no-brainer.

Plus it doesn’t feel like a full committment… you’re just saying you’re open to thinking or talking about it.

But when it’s answered with a “yes”, it’s usually followed with action.

Now let me be crystal clear: I do not advocate for knowingly manipulating anyone to act against their will.

But as long as it’s legal, moral, and ethical, feel free to use this tactic wisely.

And I don’t know if this is for you or not, but there’s one more phrase from Phil Jones’ book that also works really well.


That’s it!

“I don’t know if this is for you or not, but…”

Check out these examples:

Why does this one work?

If you tell a child not to do something, what do they usually do?

Turns out, adults are the same… in our own adult-ish way.

We really don’t like feeling as if we’re being forced to do something.

(It’s why nobody enjoys high-pressure sales)

So paradoxically, the best way to persuade someone is to suggest that they might not be interested in what you’re about to mention.

This worked back when I started my newsletter and was reaching out to friends to see if they’d be interested in subscribing.

Instead of saying “Dude, you’ve gotta subscribe to my newsletter!”, I’d start with “I don’t know if it’s you’re thing or not, but…”

And after explaining, I’d throw in a “And seriously, if emails just aren’t your thing, zero pressure!”

80% of these friends said yes and subscribed to my newsletter.

So while the “open-minded” phrase makes it easier to say yes, “I don’t know if it’s for you” makes it easier to say no.

Which, oddly enough, results in more yeses.

Mainly because it makes people feel like the decision is entirely in their control and they’re not being pushed in one direction or another.

So while simply rephrasing your question won’t make your product a winner or turn you into a more charismatic person, it definitely won’t get you more no’s!


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Try it

Next time you ask for help, make a request, or are trying to sell something, try phrases like:

  1. “Would you be open-minded to…?

  2. “I don’t know if this is for you, but…”

Let me know if you start getting more yeses!



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— My 4-year-old



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- Kody


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