We all want happy clients. We often extend ourselves beyond the limits of customer service to make sure clients get more than what they paid for.
Sooner or later, though, you’re going to run into a few situations. You might meet the client from hell, you might finish a big project with a sigh of relief only to have the client come back with a new, improved and bigger project, or you might get a request for a job you really don’t want to take on.
What’s the answer? Say no. Make a diplomatic retreat. Here’s how:
Get Rid of the Guilt
Yes! Saying no does have benefits. To enjoy those benefits, you have to get over the misconception that saying no to people is selfish. If you can’t say no, you’re probably the least selfish person. Selfish people demand your time or don’t respect you.
You’ve probably dropped several hints to the client already, but nothing short of an anvil falling on his head is going to get the point across. “No” is your anvil – although you might want to be diplomatic when you drop it. Keep reading.
Say No but Not to Yourself
Saying yes all the time will get you in a rut. You’ll end up continually saying yes because you haven’t broken the habit. You continue to bull through, feeling resentful that you’re always busy trying to meet someone else’s unattainable standards or having no time left for yourself.
When you say yes to others, you’re really saying no to what you want or need. Likewise, when you say no to others, you’re saying yes to yourself.
Yes is Nice but Comes with a Price
Yes might seem like an easy solution. It takes less energy and effort to give in just to get someone off your back. Look at what you’re doing to yourself, though. Is saying yes truly the easy answer to resolve a bad situation quickly? When you say yes knowing your schedule is packed as tight as sardines in a can, think of attempting to wedge another yes in there.
Yes can create more work, not less, especially if you’re already over-committed. Pushing yourself further not only makes you cranky, but you run the risk of falling sick or being even more tired than you are now. If you aren’t well enough to work, you can’t work at all. Period.
Call In the Cavalry
If you work with a team or have good people that can help you through outsourcing to them, let go of some control and call in a few favors. It may feel strange at first to trust someone else or it might be difficult to ask for help, but the relief is worth it. Say no to the client by allowing others to help you. There’s nothing wrong with spreading the work around. (Do be sure to let your client know you’re getting some backup for his project.)
Know When to Say No
While saying no is beneficial to your physical and mental health, don’t go to extremes and say it all the time. Look at all of your obligations and priorities before committing to something new. If the new commitment is important to you, go ahead and take it on.
If it isn’t a priority, you already have a full workload, and saying yes will cut into your time, say no. Setting priorities and maintaining them helps you to keep your current commitments under control and lets you have the time to handle emergencies that might come across your desk as well.
Sleep On It
Many people are so in the habit of saying yes to everything that the word comes flying out of their mouths before they have the chance to stop it. Or, some people are generous givers and commit, only to regret the decision shortly after.
Do yourself a favor and sleep on any request before saying yes. It’s perfectly acceptable to delay a response for a little while you take some time to think things over. Tell the client you’ll give your answer shortly, take a step back, and reply after you’ve had time to consider.
How Do I Say No?
For such a simple word, no can be the most difficult word to say – in any language.
When you do say no, be honest. Don’t make up a bunch of crazy excuses, because people see right through those. The truth is far easier to tell. Be gentle and understanding when you word your reply, and politely say thanks – but no thanks.
People appreciate an honest no more than you might realize.
Saying no won’t be easy at first, but it will get easier with time and practice. Go ahead, give it a shot. Say no to someone today.