If you have attended any of those management guru classes or read their book then the outright no might seem to you as a strict no-no.
They are right. Obviously they teach you to be Mr right/perfect.
If a client is being unreasonable in his demands it is a result of not outrightly saying him a no initially. When deals are struck it is necessary to voice a ‘NO’ for clauses you don’t agree to.
The recent M&M and Renault JV broke because of the NOs not voiced by Renault. M&M came up with Xylo and the possibility of a M&M and Renault’s 7 seater became economically unfeasible option. Sour deals an joint ventures can be a result of the ‘Yes-Yes’ mentality.
For entrepreneurs and start ups this could be a make or break thing.
Initially when we get a new client, a new partner or we make a new friend the beginnings are positive and hence tend to shift our focus on the ‘Yes’. ‘Yes’ should be the case ideally but looking at a long term relationship, a NO for the bad habits, policies or deal.
Being on the other side of ‘NO’ it is important to accept it gracefully if you find it reasonable. If you have a strong argument, then extra care should be taken to avoid conflict. A ‘Yes-Yes-No-Yes’ might do just fine.