3 Ways To Say No Without Losing Friends
Hi Folks, James Loewen here. Today I am going to cover 3 Ways to Say No without losing your customers or friends. With this ability you will be able to take control of your life and never over commit again.
I have had numerous clients share with me how frustrated they are with over committing, saying yes when they know they should say no, and living with the consequences. So how do you say no without damaging relationships or risk losing a friend or client?
Delay your answer:
Rarely do you need to say yes or no immediately, so I use this one all the time. Frankly, I don’t want to be locked in to either answer until I know how it will or will not fit. Sometimes you will already know you are going to say no, but you need some time to figure out how. Don’t leave them hanging though, do follow up with a response either way. Some example language; “Hey, that sounds interesting and I need to check with my (wife, secretary, calendar) to see if it fits, can I get back to you?” or “I am not sure if I can commit to that right now, can I get back to you?” or “Can I get back to you later, I need to think about it.” This sets you up with time to consider one of two powerful ways to say no and keep relationship.
Affirm and regret:
One of the reasons we don’t want to say no is that we are afraid the person will think we don’t value them or want to support them. To avoid this, make sure you affirm your relationship with them and that you value them and like supporting them. You can then say with regret that you don’t (have time, offer that service, have the resources, have any availability for that promotion). Some examples; “I really appreciate you coming to me with this request, I value our relationship and supporting you. I regret that I can’t help you with that right now because . . .” or “I would love to do that with you and I am sorry I can’t right now because . . . “ or “I know I have enjoyed doing that with you in the past, and I am sorry that I can’t do that anymore because . . .
Another great tool in the ‘no’ box is deflection. This is where having a strong referral network will be really helpful. What you want to say no to is likely something that someone else will be happy to say yes to. If someone comes to mind, then you can simply inform them you can’t do it, but you know someone who can. That way you are affirming their need and helping them get it met, while not having to do it yourself. Some examples; “Thanks for asking, I don’t do that anymore, and I have a great person who I trust who can do that with/for you”, or “I can’t fit that into my schedule right now, and I know ‘x’ who has some availability to do that for you.”
Sometimes I do the first option to figure whether to do the second or third as my ‘no’ method. The key here is to be strategic about your time and energy so you are doing those things that fit your family, business and community goals. Go out there and tell someone “no” this week. Take a look at your schedule at the beginning of the week and make sure you set aside time for the important things, so you are more in tune with when you need to say no. Try building into your intake process a way to say no to a customer or request that doesn’t fit.
If you help please feel free to contact me