One of the hardest things we do is to make the choice not to work with everyone who wants to hire us.
That’s easier read than done.
In some cases, we say no to protect ourselves.
Those of us building our young reputations and growing new client bases have (or should have) a very clear vision of the clients we want to represent. Deviating from that vision can derail months of strategic planning and endanger our place in the market we want to serve. We must choose carefully.
Those of you with established reputations have built solid client bases that are often composed of niche markets – markets that you specialize in representing because you have invested time and resources in educating yourself on how to best serve them. You have leeway to explore other client markets but branching out too quickly can have adverse consequences. You must also choose carefully.
In other cases, we say no to protect the would be client.
We all use the same tools. The differences in our businesses lie in how we employ those tools to the advantage of our individual clients. Understanding the tools of marketing does not mean that we posses the broad finesse to serve every type of client with dynamic results. Some of you might and that’s amazing, but I don’t.
As marketers, we base our living on knowing how to guide people along a path to conversion – a sale, a visit, a subscription, etc. The need for revenue notwithstanding, we have a professional responsibility not to use our knowledge to force a fit when we know it’s not right.
Regardless of our place and expertise in this industry, you and I both have bills to pay. When we say no to revenue, whether to protect the business reputations we build or the clients we serve, it’s difficult.
I’ve said “no” a number of times. In each instance, I’ve taken the time to explain why I’m not the right choice and to provide at least one other contact who I know to be a better professional fit than I.
Two days ago, I received one of the highest compliments of my self-employed career. An artist had recommended me to a colleague and when I thanked her, she said, “I appreciate your ethics as well as your smart advice!!” Because I said no.
When do you say “No”?