Virtual Assistants – Have you Mastered the Art of Saying No to Clients?

Learning to say NO is really important in any business, but even more so when you’re a solopreneur or small business owner. You want to say YES to everything, even to the low paying clients .. because .. well .. they are a client and who can afford to lose the business?

80/20 formula

You might be surprised at the answer to this question. When you live by the formula – 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients, you can see easily see which clients produce the bulk of your income. If you are spending a lot of time on clients that don’t pay well, demand a lot of your time, or provide little ongoing business, you may just have to say no to them on future projects and concentrate on clients that provide 80% of your virtual assistance income.

Many solopreneurs, VAs, and small business owners often make the mistake of trying to be everything to everyone. It’s easy and enjoyable to provide exceptional service for clients that best fit your niche, but here are some instances when saying no to a client is crucial to the profitability of your small business.

1. Absolutely say no when the client isn’t prepared

When a VA doesn’t have all the pieces of the puzzle, the job doesn’t get finished. Worse yet, virtual assistants could end up handling a simple job 3, 4 or more times. Take for example this simple scenario involving a carpenter: imagine a customer only providing half the information on dimensions, wood type, finishes, or hardware to use on a custom chair. The carpenter could end up rebuilding the chair several times at their own cost!

2. Say no when you are already stretched to the max

If your virtual assistance business is booming – great for you! But don’t be afraid to say no to taking on a new client or additional work loads. When overloaded with projects, things fall through the cracks, your work suffers, and clients become unhappy. If the project is right up your alley, explain to the client that you will be available to complete additional work on a future date and follow through.

The exception to saying no to a new client would be if the client is a perfect match for your small business services. In this case, reevaluate existing clients. It may be time to say goodbye to lowing paying or time sucking clients.

3. Tell a client no when you can’t meet their expectations

If a client wants you to drop everything and demands an immediate turnaround on a project, learn to say no and value your time. There is a saying, “lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part!” Don’t get pulled into these types of projects. Once you start rush jobs for a client, they typically continue to do so. However, if you decide to take on a rush job – charge a hefty fee for your time.

4. Most importantly say no to clients who don’t value your services

These low paying clients want something for nothing and almost always happen to be the clients who demand the majority of your time. They nitpick your services, expect additional services after fees are agreed upon, and take longer to pay for services rendered. These types of clients should be avoided at all costs!

Say no respectfully

There are some important things to remember when you say “no” to a client request. You are saying no the request – not the client. Explain why you are saying no and be resolute about your stance as many clients do not give up easily. To build a rapport with the client, feel free to recommend another virtual assistant that may be a better match for the client’s needs.

About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:

logo1bAt Out of the Office, we offer ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, and offering creative solutions for your business success.

Image credit: geralt | CCO Public Domain