Why is it that saying no is so hard to do? How often in business do we find ourselves doing something that we really didn’t want to, but a yes came out of our mouths instead of a no.
From talking to clients and fellow business owners, it’s often driven by fear. If we say no:
Will they think less of us?
Will they want to work with us on a different project in the future?
Will they not recommend us to someone else?
Will they think it’s because we can’t do it rather than we don’t want to do it?
But saying yes indiscriminately can cause problems too:
Working with clients and customers who aren’t a fit with our values
Work that we don’t enjoy and as a result takes longer to complete than it should
Work that we resent
Recommendations to others to do work we don’t want to do
Work we don’t have time to do.
And all of this can lead to us falling out of love with our business and the need to extract ourselves from work we don’t want further down the line which is always more complicated to do.
But how do we say no effectively? I’m not a coach so these are just the ways I have found and observed about saying no effectively and closing down the discussion without being rude!
There is no need for a detailed, long explanation.
Always be polite.
There is no need to apologise for turning down clients or work – it is your business after all and you are allowed to do the work you want to do.
Some good phrases I have come across are:
Thank you for your enquiry, this is not my area of specialism, but I wish you all the best with your venture.
Thank you for thinking of me, I am fully booked for the next few months so won’t be able to help you on a timely basis.
Lovely to hear from you but I am not taking on any further work in that area.
Thank you for your time today, it was great to hear all about your plans and ideas. Having reviewed my notes and your needs I don’t believe I am the best fit for you but wish you all the best for the future.
And of course, if you know someone who might be a fit or might be able to help you can add in the line:
Have you come across ThisBusiness, they may be able to help you? I am unsure of their current availability, but it might be worth dropping them a message.
So basically, be more discerning in what you do! Do what you love, with clients that fit, and save yourself all this hassle!!
See, no isn’t so hard after all?!