The natural reflex is to say, “I don’t suppose I do”…even if you do. They’re leading you into a negative state of mind and toward a negative answer.
You might be surprised how often this kind of thing creeps into sales. Here’s an example: In one of the current writing magazines, a columnist suggests that writers call independent bookstores and ask them to stock their book. She gives an example of the script she uses when making such calls:
“Good morning, my name is (whatever), and I am an author. Unfortunately, I live nowhere near you. I am in (town). I have a couple of books that are out, and I was hoping you might be interested in putting a couple of copies on your shelf.”
The part that strikes me as a strange choice is saying as almost the first thing that she doesn’t live anywhere near the bookshop. Maybe she’s anticipating that the bookstore owner will ask whether she’s a local author, but why start with a negative? The manager may never ask. If he or she does, she can be honest, but ideally she would have a better answer than just ‘no.’ For example, “No, but I have a blog that’s pretty widely read and I’m sure that includes people in your area.” In fact, I’d tell the manager that I plan to put the details about their bookshop on my website so that people in that area know where they can find my book.
My main point is that it’s almost never a good idea to lead with a negative, because it focuses attention on something you don’t want the other person to think about, at least not at first. Secondly, try to have an antidote to any negative that you can’t avoid. In sales, negativity generally equals no sale.