NO is not a dirty word

I think we’re programmed to see “No” as a dirty word from a young age. No candy before bedtime. No, don’t touch that outlet. No, you can’t have the car tonight. No, you absolutely cannot date that guy who’s ten years older than you and plans to pick you up on his motorcycle…

Here’s the truth: Saying No is actually a gift. Why?

It’s a gift for you because sometimes we need to say no in order to focus on what matters. We need to keep our eyes on the prize. If you say no to the wrong clients or customers and focus on serving the ones you enjoy, who will pay you what you’re worth and who will gladly spread the word about how awesome your products or services are – your business is going to be a lot more successful.

I don’t care how big or small your company is. You’ve got to treat loyal customers better than the rest. You’ve got to serve their needs first and offer then special perks, privileges or rewards.

Remember your brand strategy. Who are you talking to? Who are your “people”? Who matters to your business? Your customers and clients represent your brand to others, so choose wisely. (Tweet this!)

I’m not suggesting you act rudely toward prospects or those in your audience. Not at all. I’m talking more about managing your time, attention and budget better and invest in the right people for your business. If you are too busy dealing with the wrong people, you won’t have the bandwidth to serve the right ones.

Saying no is also a gift to those to whom you say no. You enable them the freedom to find a better fit, to find what they are looking for at a price they are comfortable paying. You also avoid becoming bitter as time goes on and just making both you and the customer unhappy in the end. If something is a bad fit from the start, it’s better to cut bait right then and there.

Also, you give them a gift because you don’t agree to something you don’t have time, energy or passion to deliver. Instead of overcommitting and making everyone unhappy, focus on quality rather than quantity. It may hurt to say no to that client, customer – or even volunteer opportunity – but remember that you do them more harm if you can’t truly deliver your best for them. Let them find someone who will invest their best.

See? No is not a dirty word and, frankly, it needs to be said with love and respect way more often.

How do you turn down work or say no when asked to volunteer? Any tips for how to do this gracefully? Please share your insight and wisdom with us in the Comments!

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