If you own your own business, then it implies an inherent and inbuilt desire to serve. When it comes to most requests from clients, your first response, therefore, will probably be a yes; and it could be hurting you in more ways than you think. For you to find long-term success in business, it is very important to master the art of saying ‘’No’’ to a client.
Finding customers that trust your expertise, knowledge and opinion is hard enough. Therefore, if you are fortunate enough to have attracted some your way, it is understandable that you are willing to do everything it takes to be at their beck and call. Nevertheless, while it is an admirable quality for you to always look out for your client’s best interests, the unfortunate truth is that it is not always sensible or feasible to respond to every request with a yes.
How to say ‘’no’’ to a client
Stop before it goes too far
One of the biggest mistakes that most business owners make is to let their client’s bad behaviour go too far. If you are constantly responding with yeses regardless of how utterly ridiculous some requests are, you may be setting a bad precedent that could haunt you for the rest of your professional existence. If you allow such behaviour to go on for too long, it may be harder and harder for you to find your footing and voice so you should nip the behaviour in the bud from very early on.
Show that you care
You can easily find a way to say no to your clients without necessarily uttering the word no by showing them your valid concerns and care. When breaking the negative news to them, you want to be as gentle as you can so that the blow can be softened, which is likely to hurt a lot less.
Assert your refusal
If the client keeps insisting, assert your refusal and clarify why. Sometimes customers need a sense of authority particularly when they insist on demands or applications that do not make sense for them or your business. It is just as vital for your customers to listen to your concerns just as you do theirs, but you must communicate this in a respectful and professional manner.
Offer other alternatives
Before you say no, be sure to at least prepare a list of other alternatives so that they do not feel bitter or blindsided by your services. Not only will this smooth over any negative attitudes that they may have had about you, but it is all an essential part of great customer service.
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