Saying No To Clients
In this competitive world of ours, where we've got targets to meet and profits to increase, it's often tempting to say “yes” to everything. This is even more tempting when you're starting out in business and cash flow is tight.
You'll have noticed by now that the clients you say “yes” to and really shouldn't have said “yes” to are the ones who are the biggest pain. They take up most of your time and energy and you make very little profit (if any) from the work you do for them.
You cannot please everyone.
You're Ok, I'm Ok
There's a mantra in a popular 1970's therapy called TA (transactional analysis) that sets out the principle of any relationship you have ought to be ok for you and ok for the other person too. TA involved sitting around on cushions and occasionally beating a cushion up – from what I can gather, but cushion beating aside, the principle is a good one.
When you're choosing customers and clients, you need to sell to the ones you know are right for your business. That way, you provide them with a great product or service and they like what you do.
A good example of this is when people buy a service based purely on price. If the only thing the person is interested in, is how low the price is, then they're not interested in service, after sales care, guarantees or ambience.
If you're product or service is built around quality, refinement, service and after care then you want clients who appreciate that this costs a little bit extra. Think RyanAir vs. British Airways – you pay more to get a complimentary cup of tea and a G&T on BA and understand that with no frills airlines, everything you consume on board will cost you more money.
You want to attract and retain the kind of clients who value what you do and the way you do it, otherwise you're on a hiding to nothing.
Say no to clients gently
Once you've realised that the potential client isn't going to be an actual client or you need to gently let go of clients who really don't fit with your business, then you need to find a nice way to say “no” to their business.
1. Explain that you're too busy at the moment
2. Raise your prices beyond their budget
3. Refer them to someone who you know will love their business and be more useful to them
4. Tell them you've changed your business model, style of working, type of work you take on or strategy etc to explain why they need to find a new supplier
Personally, I like to refer client on to people who I believe suit their needs more closely. That way I keep the client happy and you never know, when things change with me or them, they might be the right kind of client for me one day.
Focus on the clients who love and value what you do – it's a much better way to build a great business.
Rebecca Bonnington is a Coach, Trainer and Licensed Trainer of NLP, she increases your profits through people. Contact her on 07734 934084 or [email protected]
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