There will come a time when you’re just not able to take on a client. There’s a plethora of reasons why you would decide not to work with a client, whether you just didn’t like their personality, you don’t have time, what they want is outside of your scope of work, etc.
However, saying no isn’t everyone’s strong suit. This can especially be the case for new wedding pros who are at the stage where perhaps they want to take on every client that comes their way. So, we’re going to give you 3 easy ways that you can turn down clients while keeping them as happy as possible.
Perhaps what they’re looking for may not completely work, but it’s similar to something else you offer. Maybe the specific flowers they’re looking for are ones you aren’t able to get ahold of, but you have something similar that you think could work for their arrangements. Or maybe the services they’re wanting fall just outside of a certain package you offer. It’s okay to first try redirecting to something similar that you think could make them happy.
“Although I’m unable to provide X, here is Y, which I think would work well with your Z.”
“My X package looks pretty similar to what you’re wanting minus a few minor services. Here are the details, which I think will definitely still bring your vision to life…”
This shows that you’re still trying to help all you can, even if it isn’t exactly what they’re looking for. It also makes it easier on you because if they do decide to move on, it becomes “their” choice versus you having to turn them down.
Sometimes, the client’s budget isn’t enough for you to take them on, they could be wanting services that are outside of your scope, they aren’t happy with an alternative product or service, or you just don’t feel comfortable completing what they want. Those are all okay reasons to turn them down, and the easiest way to do so is by referring them to someone else. Just because you can’t personally serve them doesn’t mean you still can’t help by referring them to someone who could. That could look something like:
“I don’t think I’m the right person to make this vision come to life, but I know someone who could...”
“Unfortunately, I’m unable to provide these services for you at this time, but I would highly recommend contacting…”
“Although I would love to help, my schedule just won’t allow me to fulfill your vision to the standards I uphold for my business. However, I would love to point you in the direction of someone I trust...”
Remember: Community over competition. While we’re sure you’d love to have another client under your belt, there’s nothing wrong with passing them over to the next pro who could possibly serve them when you can’t. This is also a great way to build relationships with other pros, and, hopefully, they will refer someone to you one day, too!
If for some reason you’re unable to redirect or refer someone, you can still say no politely. Make it clear to the client that you do wish you could help, and thank them for coming to you for your expertise and for trusting you to fulfill their wishes. Although they may still be disappointed, this will help deliver the blow softly. Then, you just have to do it. Be sure to give them a clear and honest reason why you can’t or won’t take on their project as gracefully as possible. Being honest further shows your sincerity and commitment towards your clients and will help make it more likely that they’ll eventually refer a friend to you.
Remember that it’s okay to politely turn down clients for whatever reason is in your jurisdiction. You don’t have to take on everyone who comes your way, especially if it would make you unhappy to work with them. Your mental health as a business owner comes first, and it’s okay to avoid putting yourself in stressful situations where you don’t think you could do the work or that yours and the client’s personalities don’t align.
Have you ever been in a situation where you had to politely decline working with a client? In what ways were you able to still make them happy without risking your happiness or reputation? Shoot us a DM on Instagram!