The Hard Thing About Saying No to Clients

I was recently inspired to discuss the topic of saying no to clients because of a friend who has a hard time saying no.

From my experience, event professionals, and those in hospitality in general, tend to suffer from the inability to say no. (What can I say? We hospitality folk love to make others happy.)

But back to my friend.

She has set up this incredible loyalty program for her business, which continues to refer more and more potential clients back to her. She’s fantastically talented, and because so many clients have enjoyed working with her, the referrals come rolling in.

But what happens when the referrals aren’t quite her ideal client? 

Should she say no? If so, how does she say no without upsetting a potential client?

First things first, there are two reasons we typically have a hard time saying no to others. (Hint: they’re both driven by fear.)

  1. We fear letting people down. 

This one’s plain and simple.

  1. We don’t know when the next client will come knocking. 

Can we even afford to say no, despite the work not being from our ideal client?

Fear can drive a lot of our business decisions if we aren’t clear on the important things.

And what is perhaps the most important thing to be clear on when it comes to our businesses?

Knowing exactly who is the perfect client you’re trying to attract.

Because when you ARE NOT working with your ideal client,

  • The work is draining

  • You’re not motivated

  • You start procrastinating

  • You’re not looking forward to your work

  • And most importantly—this takes time away from working on projects you’re actually excited about

So, what’s the solution? How did my friend start attracting her ideal clients, the ones that have her jumping over fences and screaming a resounding YES to help?

Believe it or not, it’s actually not to say ‘no.’

There are other ways to say no without ever having to upset a potential client. Trust me, even the most notorious of people-pleasers can get behind this line of thinking.

If you want to learn more, set up an appointment with me so we can work through this hot topic together.

And before you know it, you’ll be clicking your heels on the way to the bank because you’ll be getting paid your true value, AND you’ll be loving what you do.

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