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Is it wrong to say no to your client?

You're in the middle of a project, all is going well and the client has been involved in all key stages, and now the deadline is looming with little room for error, but your client wants a change. The change is quite significant, however, it is subjective and does veer from the original brief.


What's your response?


Do you find yourself saying yes because you think that's what's expected, you think it will damage your relationship, or you just don't know how to say no?


Saying yes to an unrealistic change without outlining the potential consequences sets everyone up for a fall:

  • The client - because their expectations haven’t been managed, they rely on you to make them aware of the potential risks

  • Your immediate team - because there isn't time to waste and they may not agree with what you've agreed, they rely on you to know what will work

  • The wider team - because someone else’s work will have to take a backseat whilst resource is pooled to work on your project

  • Your businesses integrity - going back to the client when the change doesn't work is embarrassing all round

  • You - because your client facing for a reason - to make everyone credible


When no means know


When you are the person that represents your business the relationship you build with your client is unique, the investment you make in that relationship goes beyond knowing their likes/dislikes and what they did at the weekend, it’s about knowing their business as well as they do, knowing the strategic direction, knowing their customer base and knowing their market.


This knowledge ensures you are not only seen as a trusted colleague, but as the expert in your businesses field because you’re commercially sound and are there to guide them in making the right decisions to ultimately make them look good. So when there is a request for change your expertise should drive a discussion around whether that change is adding value, meaning a decision could be made before it leaves the room.


No isn't a two letter word


However, saying no is a skill and shouldn’t be just one word, it’s the way you say no and why you’re saying no that builds better relationships, internally and externally. If you don't know the answer, or you're not sure if it will work or not consult your team, find a compromise or solution that works for all, don't just say yes and put yourself, your team and your business at risk.


Blossom Training supports businesses by coaching client facing teams in soft skills www.blossomtraining.co.uk




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