The best answer you can get to any business request/proposal is, obviously, “yes!”. But what’s the second best?
For a long time, I thought that I wanted to hear at least a “maybe”. Or “let’s talk later”. Or “if you do this thing, I might be interested”. Oh, boy, how wrong I was.
If it’s not “yes”, the answer you want to hear is a fast “No!”. And don’t be afraid to ask for it, no matter who you’re talking to. Even if, in the short term, you might lose some deals, you’ll earn a lot of time in the long run.
By getting a fast no, you spend less energy on things that are unlikely to succeed. You will not fill your mind with hope even if it’s pretty clear you won’t get what you want.
If you’re raising money, look for a fast “no” if you can’t get to “yes”. If you’re looking for a deal, the same. You’ll be better for it.