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How to Say “No” to Clients

We teach people how to treat us. Well, that’s what Dr. Phil says and I tend to agree with him on this point.

Many entrepreneurs and business owners have a tough time setting boundaries with their clients. It’s understandable.  When you care about what you do it makes sense that you’d want to give your best.

However, this can become a problem when giving your best means that there is little time, energy, or money left for you!


Saying, “NO” can set a negative tone. Suddenly, the great relationship that you developed with your customer can come to a screeching halt.

Instead of saying a direct “NO” as in, “NO I can’t discount the price by 50%” or “No, I won’t be able to speed up the deadline from 30 days to 3 days!”, it is better to focus on what you can do.

What to Say Instead of “NO”!

In situations where you really want to scream, “NO WAY”, but know that it could be a deal breaker, take a breath. Now ask yourself, “What can I do or offer instead?” Once you have negotiated with yourself it’s time to present your counter offer to your client.

Your response to the request for a 50% discount could sound like this:

“To meet your budget, what we can do is look at which options you need right now and then start with that.”

Your response to the request for a shorter project deadline could sound like this:

 “Obviously, we both want a high quality of work done for you, so let’s look at what part of the project needs to be done a.s.a.p.”

Focus on WIN-WIN

In business, it’s important that everyone’s needs are met, including yours!

Hi, I’m Kelly McCormick, a Business Growth and Marketing Strategist. I help entrepreneurs & companies to identify opportunities for growth. Plus, I develop targeted branding, marketing & sales strategies. I can help you too!

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