In both life and business we’re almost predisposed to say no. We say “no, I don’t like that” and “no, I don’t do that” every day. I do it too, lots of people ask me if I can help them with certain things and I say no because I’ve decided those aren’t the most beneficial things I could be doing or things I wouldn’t enjoy doing in business.
How does saying no reflect on who we are and what we do? I think that saying no could say a couple of things to your clients: First it could shows you know your boundaries. It could shows you know what you’re good at and that you leave the other stuff to those who do that better (think joint ventures!). Second, it could show you’ve not considered an opportunity. Maybe you have, but just saying “no” to a client doesn’t tell them if you’ve thought about it or not.
So how can we turn “no” into a positive experience for ourselves and our clients? Instead of just saying “no” or giving a reason why not, talk with them about what they’re looking for, tell them what you can do, and that you can also direct them to an excellent person who can do what they’re asking for. Sometimes people ask for things they don’t really know about so by talking with them about what they’re looking for and what you do can help clarify if you can actually help. And, by directing them to a recommended friend who can do what they want, not only do you look good, you give your friend business too.
Let’s take it a step further: for the rest of this year, 2011, I want to encourage you, in the spirit of the season, to say “yes!” to someone. It doesn’t have to be against any principles or values you have, and it doesn’t have to be something you will regret in the long term. But if a client asks you for help with something that you can do, like staying a little later or running an errand or making a change to the work you’ve done, do it!
What way can you say “yes!” in your business more? I’d love to hear your thoughts.