Have you ever had a customer ask you to do something in your business that you didn’t believe was the right thing to do? Or maybe you just really didn’t want to do that thing they were asking, but you struggled because you really wanted to get the business?
It happens to all of us.
When you first start out as an entrepreneur – and sometimes again as you grow and expand – you may find yourself faced with questions like that without knowing quite how to say no.
My passion is helping business owners integrate modern marketing with effective strategy to increase sales and profits. Sometimes that includes saying no, or helping my clients learn how to say no.
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My experience with learning how to say no came when I first started my business. I would be contacted by people who wanted ten thousand followers right now, or people who wanted a hundred thousand page likes right now. They didn’t care how. They were just after the ego play. I knew I didn’t want that business.
What I had to do was learn how to say no.
“No, I’m not the right person for work that is all about the ego play and not at all about building connections. If you’re looking for somebody who focuses on that, you’ll need to hire someone else. But, if you’re looking for someone to help you develop a really effective strategy around how to attract the right people to your business, and turn connections into long-term clients, then I’m your girl!”
What you need to know is that it was difficult – very difficult – in the beginning to actually own that position. When you’re building your business and you’re hungry for money you really want to just close a deal. Any deal.
Sometimes it feels like you ought to take any business that’s offered up to you. When you do that, you compromise your integrity and you fracture your brand.
Think about that.
Do you really want to compromise your integrity and cause people to question what your brand is really all about? I don’t think so.Don’t compromise your #business integrity or fracture your brand. Learn how to say no. Click To Tweet
Learning how to effectively communicate what it is that you do, how exactly you can help people, and who you serve, makes it much easier to know how to say no when you need to.
Now, when people ask me if I can help them get ten thousand Twitter followers, I explain to them what I do to grow my own community and how I use Twitter to get results. I also explain why I think just chasing ten thousand random followers is a bad idea. I am clear that if they are looking for someone who can help them grow their brand and their business with integrity, and turn connections into paying customers, then I’m happy to talk further.
If they still tell me they’re looking for someone to just help get ten thousand followers, I tell them to research some options online. You can actually buy followers if you don’t care whether or not they align with your business – they don’t need me to do that and it is not a service I will ever provide. What they’re asking does not align with the way I work or the brand that I’ve built.
When you’re clear with yourself about what your business is, and is not, you know how to say no.
The key is to gracefully say ,”No,” and reinforce what it is that you do offer. Don’t burn that bridge! The person asking you to do something you don’t want to do now, may come to appreciate your integrity and focus in the future. People learn at different rates, and they may eventually learn why your approach is better than what they were originally asking you to do.Don't burn your #business bridges when you say no to a prospective client. Click To Tweet
Over time, if you are consistent with saying no to the wrong people, you will attract the right people to your business. Staying in integrity with the services I offer and knowing when and how to say no helped my business take off. The lessons I learned in my own business are the same lessons I share in the Pilot To Profit Program that can help your own business to take flight.
When you are at a crossroads and you’re really not sure what to do, always, always, always choose the path of staying in alignment with what you believe is right and continuing to protect the brand inside of your business. You won’t regret those decisions later on, I promise! When you compromise those things for a fast buck they’ll come back to haunt you and those are the decisions you’ll likely find yourself regretting.
I know this has happened for all of us – we’ve all been there at some point or another – struggling with when or how to say no.
Leave me a comment below and share your own experience about knowing (or not knowing!) when and how to say no in your business.
Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.