On Saying “No”

by Roger Pynn

It is easy to understand that the economy is causing many companies to do things differently.

We’ve certainly changed a bit. We find ourselves taking on new types of clients and work that in the past we might not have gone for … and by choosing carefully, we’re finding challenging and profitable opportunities.

But that doesn’t mean a “take it all” mentality is justified, as I was reminded this morning when a voice from the past surfaced on the phone. I’ve told this fellow twice before that what he is trying to do doesn’t have market value.

“This time, I’ve finally got it,” he told me.  “This is breakthrough, game-changing stuff.”   So I listened to the same old story all over again.

When a prospect becomes like a bad penny and just keeps coming back, what should you do?

We’re in the business of giving people honest, candid advice.  If someone doesn’t want to hear it, we’re not really in business.  And we’re not in the business of debating with bad pennies and wasting valuable, billable time.

So, “honestly,” I told him, “I just don’t think I’ve been able to communicate with you, and if I’m not good at that, I doubt you’d want me to represent you.  You need someone who understands you better than I do.  Best of luck and thanks for thinking of us.”

Add polite to honest and candid.  I’m hoping the third time was a charm.

One Response to On Saying “No”

  1. davidjhinson says:

    The polite brush off is a dying – and under-appreciated – art.

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