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Episode 85 – Saying No To A Client Who Isn’t A Good Fit

Since what you show is what you attract, we can’t deny the importance of working with the right kinds of clients, who are totally aligned with the vision we see for our business. 


Episode 85 – Saying No To A Client Who Isn’t A Good Fit

So how can you sniff out a difficult or bad-fit client from the start? And what happens when the red flags don’t pop up until you’ve already started the conversation of working together?

This episode has lots of tips for how to say no to working with someone who isn’t right for your business while still remaining professional and kind. Enjoy! 

Why CHOOSING The Right Client Is Important

Do the wrong kind of clients keep hampering your goals? You promise yourself never to do another job for that particular client because you don’t enjoy working with them or you no longer offer a particular service.  Then boom. Comes the e-mail that says your work was terrific last time, and you’re hired for the same thing again. Choosing the right clients can make or break your efforts in doing what you really want to be doing.


If you want to take up residence in a happy place and head in new directions you haven’t been yet, you need to free yourself from the tight ropes of the less desirable clients. It all starts with a small shift in your thinking. Imagine the time that you just freed up by not taking on this client. What can you now do with that time? Saying no, trusting your gut, and noticing red flags ensure that you don’t fill your time with the wrong people pushing your business in wrong directions.  It is going to be a key to driving you to where you want to go. 

WHEN Should You Say No?

Never say yes to something out of fear of losing out on potential income, bad reputation, or when it is not a good fit. Say no when something is not aligned with your vision and when saying yes would mean standing still in your comfort zone.  You think you’re safe in that zone, but in reality, it’s painful there. Prevent yourself from walking too far into these types of arrangements. Nip them in the bud. 

KNOW Your Red Flags?

Use reverse engineering to identify red flags unique to your situation and business. Answer this:

What is the worst-case scenario that you can end up being in? What would be a bad situation to happen for your business, product or service? What’s bad news? What’s not going to work for you?  These are your red flag situations. 

HOW Do You Say No?

Saying no is scary for many business owners. 

Do it as soon as you can.  Preferably at the stage where you’re still exchanging information. Really notice the questions and patterns that come up in the early correspondences. Your client will tell you what their worst-case scenario, red flag situation is. 

Be firm when you say no. Clients know when you’re beating about the bush and you’re not being truthful. By giving too many details on the “no” you’re creating loopholes that will suck you into further negotiations. Be firm but kind. Give a reason that’s as truthful as it can be without being unprofessional, mean or hurtful. 

If you don’t want to commit to the task because it doesn’t align with your vision, at least make a referral to another professional who you know would be a great fit. Go the extra mile and you’ll sleep well knowing that you’ve done all you can for that client.

Learn From Your Mistakes

By now, you’ll have several experiences from which you are able to draw conclusions on who you prefer not to work with.  Think of ways how you can identify similar situations and ways to wrap them up early.  Consider updating and fine-tuning your contact form or your client onboarding approach to include detailed information about your prospects and invite them to talk more about themselves via the contact form or a questionnaire. 

With these pointers, I can guarantee you that you’ll have no more “Wish I said no to that” scenarios. They happen to all of us, and they help us figure out what we really want to do with our time. What we show is what we attract.  Now go out and attract the right kind of people. You’ll be happier for it.

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