Running a business and finding new clients is a big challenge in itself. So when a solo business owner finds a new client, they go above and beyond to keep the client satisfied and happy. It is not easy to say
“NO” to a potential client. I remember when I was new to business it was hard for me to come to terms with the idea that I might have to say no to someone and leave them without help. Saying no to a person was perceived by me as a failure to deliver good customer service.

However, in the last few months I have got lot of client requests and I have turned down most of them.


There are many reasons for this:

  • I was over working myself trying to deliver results to my clients and in this process I was losing myself. I would ignore
    my personal needs and before I realized, I was too tired to think. Now I realize that I am my biggest responsibility and if I am in good vibrant health then everything else will fall in place.
  • Those clients were not the right fit for me. I  always thought that customer service is the most important thing in
    business and that client is always right. And if a client wants to work with you, then you should take it as an honor and make it work anyhow. This statement though true has it’s loopholes. The client has the liberty to choose or
    reject a service. Likewise, a business owner (referring to coaches, consultants, marketers in this case) has the freedom to choose their clients. When the client is not willing to cooperate (for example, when a person is not
    willing to change his lifestyle, diet or workout regime and still expecting miraculous results) then I know he/she is not a good fit for me. When the client’s expectations are not realistic even after my explaining the reality
    (for example: lose 10 lbs in 10 days or hit NY Times bestseller without investing in an author platform) then I know the client is not a good fit for me.
  • One might argue that it’s my job as a coach to show them the reality and convince them. But instead of convincing someone with unrealistic goals, I am more successful investing my time and energy with people who are aware of the situation and willing to have an open mind to my viewpoints.
  • Sometimes I am not the best person for the job. And when I know this, I like to recommend someone who will fit my client’s needs better rather than saying “Yes” to the client for fear of losing them. I realized that the client respects me more when I am direct and upfront right from the beginning.
  • The most important thing in a business is to keep yourself updated with the latest trends, technologies and innovations in your industry. This means that you need to continuously invest time in yourself and your training. No matter how much I like working with new clients, I know there are times when I need to just sit back and study for my personal and professional growth.

So now the big question is how to turn down a client without offending them or spoiling future relationship. The key is to be sympathetic and providing a credible reason for not taking them. If possible referring the clients to others is also a great way to maintain a cordial relationship.

Irrespective of why you have to say no to a client, being respectful and providing a solution that would help them is the key to a successful business.