How to Say ‘No’ to a Client

How to Say ‘No’ to a Client

Running a photography business and gaining new clients is exciting, but sometimes clients have unreasonable requests. Here’s how to respond to a client when you have to tell them “no.”

When running a photography business and managing paying clients, inevitably there will be a time when you’ll have to tell a client that you’re unwilling to comply with their request. This can be a scary thought, but luckily there are ways to say no to client requests that you don’t wish to fulfill.

Resetting Expectations

As professional photographers, we’re expected to use our expertise to educate clients. Sometimes clients don’t know what to expect when interacting with a photographer and that's when our educating clients comes in. When working in a service-based business, it’s imperative that we continually set expectations for clients of what their experience with us will be like. When we receive a request that we’re unable to fulfill, it may be because clients have the wrong expectation. That’s where resetting their expectation of something comes in to play. If you find yourself in a situation where you want to tell a client no to a request, it may be time to gently let them know what to expect, and what not to expect.

Offer Alternative Solutions

A majority of the time, when resetting expectations and having to tell a client no, any anger or disappointment on behalf of the client can be avoided by offering options or solutions. If you find yourself having to reset a client’s expectation of something, try going into the conversation with another option available to the client. Remember that clients have hired us to address some type of pain-point as a consumer. Usually, the main pain-point is that a client needs photos taken by a qualified photographer. When going into a conversation about having to reset expectations with a client, always remember that you’re there to address their pain-points. Coming up with a viable solution beforehand will be very helpful with the outcome of your conversation with your client.

Be Honest

Above all, it’s important to be honest with your client. When addressing a request that is unreasonable, it’s OK to let clients know the “why” behind why you’re denying a client request. Again, our job is to create a great experience for our clients, and part of that process involves educating and setting proper expectations with our clients. 

At one time or another, if you have paying clients, you’ll run into having to tell your client no to something. Keeping these simple guidelines in mind will help you navigate the conversation to ensure that your relationship with your client remains strong, and their experience with you stays excellent.

Lead image by via Pexels.

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