Gini Dietrich

Saying No to Clients

By: Gini Dietrich | April 14, 2011 | 
92

All you people have failed me. I have not a single Facebook question to answer this week. So, instead of seeing my pretty face, you get some written something instead.

OH WAIT! I’m wrong. I just scrolled through a lot of status updates and found this from Andy Donovan. Yay Andy! You saved everyone from failure!

“Coming off the presentation this week with you, Carol Roth and Les McKeown – how does a new entrepreneur learn the delicate art of saying “no” to a client request that seems over and above what has been agreed upon? Especially when at the beginning of your career and still ensure the relationship moves forward without any hard feelings?”

But you still don’t get to see my pretty face because, well, I haven’t showered yet. So how about I do our #FollowFriday via video tomorrow?

Andy’s question is a couple of weeks old, but it still works.

This is a really hard question for me to answer because I don’t like to  say no and that’s the culture I’ve built at Arment Dietrich. I’ve noticed that when I push my team to say no to a client, they push back about really wanting to go the extra mile.

Whose fault is that? Mine.

So we’ve really begun to be very clear about expectations and priorities. Everyone is responsible for not going over budget (which is how we measure overservicing) and we are in constant communication with clients about what has been agreed upon and what they’re asking us to do.

For instance, we have one client who we all adore. So, when he asks for something, we automatically want to say yes. But we found very quickly we were overservicing, to the tune of almost double what he is paying us. We sat down with him, went through the initial marketing plan and the extra things he was asking us to do and asked him to help us prioritize. He was very open to doing that and, during our weekly meetings with him, the team reminds him of the priorities and asks if there is anything he wants to change.

It works really well because he’s constantly aware of what we’re working on, but also what the priorities are for the month and quarter.

How do you say no to clients?

Oh! And don’t forget to go to Facebook and ask a question so I have something to do next Thursday!

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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