5 Times

to Say ‘No’ to a Client


5 Times

to Say ‘No’ to a Client

Saying ?No? is hard for most of us. When you?re working to build a business, sometimes it feels like you just can?t say ?no?, even if a request is unreasonable.

Saying ?No? is hard for most of us. When you?re working to build a business, sometimes it feels like you just can?t say ?no?, even if a request is unreasonable.

Here are just two of the situations you may find yourself in:

You want to say ?no? to a request from someone who?s considering becoming a client. The fear is that they won?t want to do business with you, and you need the business!

A current client is asking for something unreasonable. The fear is, if you say ?no?, they?ll get upset and fire you.

What do you do?

The truth is, not saying ?No? can hurt your business!?

There are 5 specific times you need to say ?No? to a client or potential client.?

1) Boundary-pushing

If a client, or potential client, is asking for something outside of the way that you do business, it?s time to push back. Here?s an example: If your usual way to communicate with clients is email, then that?s the way you communicate. If clients want to text you, that?s pushing a boundary, and you get to say ?No?. Another example is calls during times you don?t usually do calls, like evenings and weekends.?

Solution: Tell them what you CAN do, rather than what you can?t do. Say ?I?m happy to discuss that with you on Monday? or ?Let me email you about that, so we keep the communication in the standard channels? or ?The way that I communicate with clients is email or voxer.? You can be firm with them about boundaries, and you don?t have to be defensive or explain. Your standards are your standards. Ultimately that saves a lot of energy!

2) No bandwidth

If you?re considering taking on a new client, or a new level of work from an existing client, and you don?t have the bandwidth to handle it, say ?No?. You can take on the new work by offering it to them in a different time frame. For example: ?I?m happy to do that if we can start in two weeks (or a month).? Taking on more than you can handle is a recipe for unhappy clients, or you being burned out. Neither is a good idea!

Solution: Either refer the client to someone else you trust, or give them clear expectations of when and how you CAN serve them.

3) Outside scope

If a current client is asking for services that are outside the scope of your original agreement, it can be hard to say ?No?. This is a little different than boundary pushers. Boundary pushing is expecting more than you?re willing to give, like calls outside your normal hours. Outside scope can sometimes be a legitimate request, for example ?I?d like you to provide coaching for my team, too? or ?I?d like to meet with you more frequently.?

You don?t have to say ?No? to those requests! But you get to say ?No? to including those extra services for the fees they are already paying.

Solution: Tell them you?d be delighted to serve them in that way, and the fees for that would be (X), or ?I?d be delighted to serve you in that way! Ordinarily, fees for that would be (X), but since you?re already an existing client, I can provide that for (something less than X, but still a good fee for you).?

4) Not your best skill set

Sometimes, because you get referrals from clients who love you, you get a request to take on a client and provide a service that is not your best skill set. Examples of this might be providing weight loss guidance if you?re actually a career coach. Usually work like this is more time-consuming, drains your energy, and doesn?t contribute to the building of your business because you?re not doing your best work.

Solution: Tell them how much you appreciate the trust that you can provide great service even though it?s not your primary area of expertise! Then refer the client to

5) Uncoachable

If every time you make a suggestion to a client, they push back and tell you why they can?t do that, that client isn?t coachable. If you have a conversation with a prospective client, and get the sense that they?re uncoachable, or that you?d have to work very hard to get them to take action, that?s not a good situation.?

Especially if you love helping people create transformation, it can be almost magnetic to think about helping ?a hard case? to overcome resistance to getting results. However, you cannot work harder than a client, and still have energy left to build your business.

Solution: Tell that client or prospect that you may not be the best person to serve them, and offer them another name.

Doing these things is tough! It?s hard to walk away from business, or fear that when you establish your standards people won?t want to do business with you. However, many clients and potential clients are simply asking for what they want, and will be fine with a response like ?I can?t do that, but what I CAN do is??

It?s OK. You have permission to say ?No?.

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