I’m in the service and education business. When you contact me, what you expect to hear is, “Yes, I can help you do that.” Lately, I’ve been saying no more than usual. You may be surprised at the positive response it has brought and how much more it has endeared me to my clients. Let me tell you why saying no can actually be good for business.
The Cardinal Rule of Sales and Service
The customer is always right. That’s the first edict a salesperson or service provider learns. When it comes to the techie aspects of site ownership, the customer is always right about knowing that they have a need. However, they often don’t know the best way to fulfill that need or how to properly vet the people who promise to help them with it.
Takeaway: Even if you can provide it, if the customer’s solution is not the best choice available and/or will not fill the need, saying no while offering education on other choices, is good for business.
Match Need to Provider
For every client that needs help with their online presence, there is a best match of provider. My first function is to clarify the client’s needs and then provide the best solution available. If that’s me, great. If not, I have a trusted network of providers to refer. Either way, the client gets help and they hold me in high esteem for educating and guiding them through making a confident choice.
Takeaway: Being a trusted resource is good for business. It’s okay to say no to a job where you cannot provide the highest standard of product or service. Sending a client to someone you trust to treat them as you would helps the client. And they’ll remember that about you.
The Left-Handed Coffee Cup
My neighbor, who was in sales for decades, told me this story. A guy walks into a shop and asked if they had any left-handed coffee cups. The owner looked at him funny and said no. So, the guy goes to a shop down the street and asks the same thing. The shop owner smiles and says, “I just received a shipment today. Let me show you.”
There are plenty of businesses who promise to make everything cheap and easy for clients and who prey on their ignorance. A year later, after they’ve paid too much in tuition to the school of hard knocks, they become my clients and are ready to become successful site owners.
Takeaway: If left-handed coffee cup seekers are not your target audience, it’s good for business to say no to offering that kind of product, service, or marketing. In the long run, you’ll be a lot happier. And, you don’t have to convince everyone on the planet that what you offer is of value. Clients will self-select the provider that meets the need they have, no matter where they are in their journey.
Thank You Notes
This week I have received four thank you notes from clients to whom I said no in some way. They told me how grateful they were because things worked out so much better than they had imagined in the first place. Whether I performed the work for them or not, I did my job, and they are happy.
Takeaway: How much future business do you think I’ll get from that kind of feel-good vibe and word-of-mouth? I can tell you. A whopping 90% of them come back to me directly or refer someone to me.
See? Saying no sometimes really can be good for business.
Do you ever say no? Do you wish you had sometimes?