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.