Avoid Future Problems by Saying NO Now — 2nd in series

Filed in LinkedIn , Sharisax Is Out There 7 comments

To make continual improvements in your environment AND be more successful, according to Chris Brogan (with help from Tony Robbins), you must learn to say NO more often — at least every time it is appropriate.

Chris Brogan’s recent How to Say No post suggested starting with a Thank You, then being clear and polite. Meanwhile grow a network of people whom you can refer when you can’t or don’t want to do the job.

This week is HOW TO SAY NO Week on Sharisax Is Out There, which began with my article “Saying NO to a new client may be your Best Business Move.” Today features comments posted to the initial version of the story published on the CompuKol blog: “Say No Like a Pro — When You Must Turn Down New Business”:

Can’t agree more. In two years of our business existence we encountered three such situations. In one we said “Yes” when we knew there will be problems and there were lot of problem. We not only lost money but also lost one great friend (he is no more a friend). In the other two we said “No” and we are happy we said so.
I think no matter how small you are you should always assess risks. You might grow slow but be very careful.
Posted by Satish Sharma in the LinkedIn group eMarketing Association Network

All good advice – though the answers generally frame themselves around proposing someone else for the job. That’s good practice when you know the right contact… and when the job is one you’re fairly sure will be welcome there. For the rest, a simple “I’m sorry, I couldn’t do justice to that. I wish you well with it” is often the smoothest way to go, leaving few handles for continuing argument.

But the main points – saying no when the job isn’t right, and NOT claiming to be too busy unless you’d really like to do it if the schedule could be arranged – are pure gold! — Posted by Hilary Powers in the LinkedIn group Freelance Editing Network

Love the article. True professionals have learned when saying “no” serves both the client and the professional. I’ve referred many prospective clients to other writers and coaches previously networked with. Sometimes the better fit is a result of key specialized areas of expertise; others times it may be due to time constraints, price issues, or even a better feel for the client’s location or goal (i.e., working overseas or dealing with a culture in which I lack knowledge of key hiring protocols). Everything balances out in the end. No one can serve everyone. — Posted by Bev Drake in LinkedIn group “Write It Down” — A Website for Writers

The key is to always make sure that you are dealing with a reasonable entity (be it a prospective client or a prospective partner) who understands that both sides need to benefit in order to establish a strong relationship. On the few instances where I’ve said no, I found myself asking “why would anyone want to take this on under these terms?” If a question like this pops into your head, it’s probably a good idea to take a pass. — Posted by Adam Van Wye in LinkedIn group eMarketing Association Network

I turned one down from a client yesterday — the projects are flat fee, edit & photos, with a separate rate for each. When I have both halves of a project, the overall rate is fine. Just editing, though, and it’s $8 to $12 per hour. I just simply had to say that I can pick up web projects that pay $14 to $25 per hour, so no, it’ll just have to be whole projects rather than edit-only ones. He’s fine with that; he knows how many hours I put in on the things to get them clean.

I’ve been working on his stuff for four years; when it was a matter of just filling hours with anything, when I first went freelance, I took anything I could get, because $0 per hour was not where I wanted to be. But now that I can fill a lot more hours with $25 per hour, the low-paying projects just don’t make sense to take. They’re usually a lot of stress as well, as the writers aren’t pros.

But for a client you don’t know well, I can see where some of these responses would be very handy. Posted by Cathy Bernardy Jones in LinkedIn group Freelance Editing Network

It is refreshing to read such a straightforward and common-sense article.

No-one enjoys turning down work. However, as you so rightly say, accepting the wrong type of work (or the right type of work at the wrong time,) will be detrimental not only to the client, but also to your reputation as a business.

One thing I would add to your advice though relates to those to whom you refer work on.

It seems a statement of the obvious not to pass potentially difficult clients onto your network – unless you want to lose that network quickly. However, there are often alternatives which you can suggest from outside of your network – for example, web-based services.

In contrast, to the above, if you have a potentially good client that you are not able to deal with for a valid reason, it is clearly imperative that you take time to refer them to the best person for the job – even if that is not the person best placed to return the favour. The client will appreciate your integrity, and what goes around comes around.

Many thanks. –Posted by Margaret Burrell in LinkedIn group Small Business Online Community

You are probably doing the right thing for the new client as well. You may not do as good a job as you would like and you may put it off. I think that many of us have been on the receiving end, where someone commits to doing something and somehow doesn’t get it done; doesn’t even return phone calls. I personally would prefer that the person let me know ahead of time that they cannot do the job for me, whatever the reason. — Posted by Susan Krantz in LinkedIn group NJ Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWBO)

Heartbreaking, isn’t it, to turn business away? But sometimes it is just the right thing to do, for any one of the reasons that Shari outlines. Better to turn the business down than take it on and then mess it up.

In addition to the reasons in Shari’s list, we have also turned down business (and even ‘fired’ existing clients) on moral or ethical grounds. It can cost a lot in short-term lost business but in the long term I think it pays off – and you sleep at night. — Posted by Mike Holland in LinkedIn group B2B Social Media

For the first time since my business took off in 2007, I have had to recently turned down work. I thought I would never have this happen since, I feel my fees are extremely reasonable, if not, downright cheap!
When I was recently courted (I use this term because it was a true dating experience with this client for over 7 months)! Two Editor changes later and countless phone meetings and writing samples provided and my first assignment came…. My first asssignment was an exciting one. They gave me the parameters and word count and at the VERY bottom of the assignment was the price they were willing to pay… a mere, $25 for over 700 words! Ummm, no thanks!
I wrote something along the lines of: I would LOVE to write this article, however, the budget you have set aside for this does not fit within the relm of our business rates. If (name of a large company) changes their budget for this project, I would be more than happy to write this article for your business. Followed by a rate outline for my business.
I NEVER post on this board but felt compelled when a large company set a $25 budget for a 700 word article. Has anyone else experienced this? I was truly insulted after being courted for close to 7 months only to find that writing an article for this large web based company would end up costing ME money!
Who works for $25?!??!!! NO one I know. So, reffering another writer for this assignment was clearly out.  I liked the above article by Shari Weiss – very helpful! But, I don’t know anyone that would take $25 for this type of professional work. — Posted by Donna Wallerstein in LinkedIn group The Content Wrangler Community

Tomorrow’s post features a great — and lengthier — comment from a LinkedIn group by JJ DiGeronimo: Investigate the new client/project before saying Yes or No.

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   29 November 2010
Tags : , ,
Nov 29, 2010
12:02 pm

Learn the sharp intake of breath and utter “That sounds really expensive.” Failing that, “Sod off!” works well.

Author Nov 29, 2010
5:00 pm

Group: Small Business Online Community
Discussion: Saying NO to new client series continues

I say ‘no’ to clients when it is in their interests – because, for whatever reason, I don’t feel able to help them or feel that a business relationship with them would be unsuccessful. Accordingly, I find that the best way is simply to provide them with as much advice as I can regarding alternative sources of assistance more suitable to their needs at that time. — Posted by Margaret Burrell

Nov 30, 2010
3:21 pm

I think I ended up writing my own blog post here!!

How to Say No to a Prospect

First of all, you must know what kind of clients or work you want, don’t want–and why. Define your core expertise, and who your services are best for. Create a brief mission statement out of this. Then re-read it when you are talking with a marginally qualified prospect.

In my experience, the main reasons you should say no are:
1. Unprofitable
2. Off target for you
3. Don’t like them

If you think a prospective client isn’t right for you, you might ask, what would it take to make them right? For example, raising the price. Or being able to hand the work off to a subordinate. You propose that to them. They’ll probably say no, but if they say yes, you can have a good client.

If you’re turning down work because you’re too busy, then:
— Take the most interesting and challenging and lucrative work
— Raise your prices
— Hire a qualified associate, and bill them out at 3 times what you pay them

You’ve got to deal with your own resistance to saying no. For example:

– “In these tough times, I need every client I can get (even the unprofitable ones).”
These clients suck up the time and energy—and profit potential—you should devote to profitable clients. Your profitable, desirable clients end up subsidizing your unprofitable, aggravating ones.

– “Maybe they’ll grow into a bigger client.”
Occasionally true, but make sure you price high enough so that it’s profitable now.

– “They really need me, but don’t have the money.”
To keep your own business healthy and profitable, yet still help out the cash flow-challenged, set a percentage (5 to 10% of your work time) for pro bono or el cheapo work you will do, and stick to it. Oh, and if you notice that this “poor” prospect is driving a new BMW, then bill them full rate.

– “Wow, this may be an interesting new thing I could get into!”
After all, we can really do anything! Not true. Stick with your core expertise. Go back and read your mission statement.

It’s important to qualify—and disqualify—and prospective client early in the interaction. You don’t want to spend several hours with somebody then discover that you won’t be working with them.

Finally: All the above applies to firing an existing client as well.

Author Nov 30, 2010
5:00 pm

You’re darn right, Mike, and thanks. I’ll publish it as a Guest Post.
Hope to see you at a BACN meeting soon.

Author Nov 30, 2010
4:58 pm

LinkedIn Groups
Group: Bay Area Consultants Network
Discussion: Saying NO to new client series continues
It’s good enough advice, but, we can all tell how often Chris Brogan says “no” by the circles under the rings under his eyes whenever you see a photo or a video interview. — Posted by Sallie Goetsch

Nov 30, 2010
5:28 pm

#6 Joe Bencharsky : LinkedIn Groups

Group: Bay Area Consultants Network

Discussion: Saying NO to new client series continues

In any business relationship, shared goals Respect and Trust need to be mutual on both sides of the transaction to have a successful and profitable relationship. Too many businesses have adopted the “get the sale” goal and then they vanish once their numbers are satisfied. Unfortunately, numbers are the ONLY thing being satisfied in that type of exchange. — Posted by Joe Bencharsky

Oct 17, 2011
5:49 am

Its hard to say ‘no’ and sometimes this makes us land in sticky situations. It may be a painful experience to turn away a great business deal but its always not only about the profit figures. The fact that sometimes decisions are based on other factors as well has been so beautifully discussed in this post.

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