In order to keep your customers paying you on time – and happy to do so – you need to proactively maintain your relationship with them. And in order to keep up a good relationship with your clients, you need to be able to say “no” in the right situation.
When making collections calls or writing collection emails, you might get sob stories about why a client hasn’t paid you on time this month. If you’re not a fan of confrontation, this call might feel easier if you just agree to let the client pay you next month. No harm, no foul, right? Wrong.
If you don’t put your foot down here, this type of request can quickly become a habit. Say “no” to payment terms that are unacceptable to you, and get used to sticking to your word.
Use our Action Plan for Common Late Payer Responses as a jumping-off point for how to say “no” in different situations. Whatever the excuse, and no matter how friendly your relationship with the client, you are your business’ only advocate in these conversations.
You are not a bank, and you can’t afford to function like one. Don’t be needlessly inflexible, of course, and feel free to agree to a compromise that will work for you. But think carefully about what you need and then stand firm and say “no” if necessary. This will be better for both of you, in the short and the long term!
What Do You Do Best?
When someone, especially a current client, asks you to stretch just a little beyond your comfort zone in a project, it can be overwhelmingly tempting to agree. After all, this is a surefire way to increase your revenue without the discomfort of having to follow through on a new sales lead or create a new customer contract. What could go wrong?
Saying “no” to new business can be difficult, but it’s necessary to keep your business and your client relationships healthy.
Keep in mind that your clients pay you for your expertise. If you are an expert at building websites but only iffy at designing logos, then you shouldn’t agree to designing the logo just because you can. Agreeing to do a job you can’t do excellently sets both you and your client up for disappointment.
Stay in your wheelhouse where you know you can blow them away with the final product, and be ready with a referral for the rest. It might seem counterproductive to refer business away from you, but your clients will respect you and value your opinion more if they know you are willing and able to say, “no.”