Before You Say No to a Client, Think About Saying Yes
Just because a client doesn’t accept your project proposal or your price quote unconditionally, it doesn’t mean you should say no right away.
Before you make up your mind to say no to client, be open to the idea of saying yes first before anything else. It opens up a lot more opportunities than saying no. “No” ends the conversation. “No” kills new ideas. “No” will make the client look for someone who will say “yes.”
Last week, a client contacted me asking for a proposal for a rather large project that was integral to their new online store. I warned them during our brief conversation that it wasn’t going to be easy and that my proposal was going to reflect that.
Excited, I sat and wrote down how I saw the project going. I was very specific and described in full detail what will be involved in the project; how I was going to get it done; how much time it will take; and I even dictated how much it was going to cost them.
My ego was in full force.
I was thinking this is MY project now and if the client didn’t like any part of my proposal, they could go ahead and find someone else to do it! They came to ME! (Again. ego.)
Big projects and big ideas can have that effect on people. They can make you stubborn and hard-headed and difficult to work with. You get a hold of an idea in your head and it becomes unimaginable how anyone could disagree with any part of it. How dare anyone question your immense genius?!
Therefore, when you don’t hear what you like from a client, your gut reaction is to just say no to them because you didn’t get 100% of what you had in your mind. This is no way to cultivate relationships with your clients and it’s surely no way to get jobs as a creative professional.
Thankfully, I got a call the next day asking for a meeting face to face even though I was sure my obnoxiousness turned them off completely.
We discussed the project and how important it was to their new business. It turns out my “obnoxious” proposal touched on some points of the project they haven’t even thought of yet and they were very appreciative of my passion and my input. However, there were a few items in my proposal they just weren’t able to meet.
I was a bit disappointed to be honest and I was getting ready to say no and end the conversation.
However, before I could even muster the words, the client interrupted me with a counter-offer of a more high-profile project with a larger budget if I would agree to do this first project with them.
Suddenly, my ego gave way to the realization that as much as I wanted this project to be about me and what I could bring to the table, it was really just about a new business trying to get off the ground successfully and all they wanted was someone to do the job well.
There was no ego involved here. Like most clients, they just wanted someone to do a good job and if I said no to their input and the counter-offers, there’s a good chance they would have just found someone else to do it (maybe not as well) and my involvement with them would have ended right then and there instead of blooming into a more productive and mutually beneficial relationship.
As creative professionals, we have to constantly weigh the pros and cons of every job we get offered just like how clients weigh the pros and cons of working with us on their projects. However, the idea is to keep yourself open to the possibilities that saying yes affords you instead of just saying no when clients don’t keep giving you dream projects. You may have to take a hit on your pride or ego or even your wallet but at least saying “yes” doesn’t take you out of the equation. Saying “yes” keeps you going.
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